I feel incredibly lucky to have found out about “The Work” by Byron Katie, who shares similar beliefs and is a friend of Ekheart Tolle ( The Power of Now) who I admire too. Katie says:
“A thought is harmless unless we believe it. It is not our thoughts, but the attachment to our thoughts, that causes suffering. Attaching to a thought means believing that it’s true, without inquiring. A belief is a thought that we’ve been attaching to, often for years.”
People who have done “The Work” as an ongoing process have reported the following:
- Alleviation of depression
- Decreased stress
- Live with less anxiety and fear
- Improved relationships
- Reduced anger: Understand what makes you angry and resentful and become reactive less often, with less intensity.
- Increased mental clarity: Live and work more intelligently and effectively, with integrity.
An extract taken from the website which truly struck a chord:
“Staying in Your Own Business – I can find only three kinds of business in the universe: mine, yours, and God’s. (For me, the word God means “reality.” Reality is God, because it rules. Anything that’s out of my control, your control, and everyone else’s control—I call that God’s business.) Much of our stress comes from mentally living out of our own business. When I think, “You need to get a job, I want you to be happy, you should be on time, you need to take better care of yourself,” I am in your business. When I’m worried about earthquakes, floods, war, or when I will die, I am in God’s business. If I am mentally in your business or in God’s business, the effect is separation.”
One of the first tasks is to complete the Judge Your Neighbour Worksheet which consists of 6 questions about an unpleasant situation in which someone made you feel angry, confused, sad, or disappointed. For example a partner who eats unhealthily but does not listen to you when you to tell him to change his diet. After completing the work sheet you Ask The Four Questions :
- Is it true? – For example: Your partner doesn’t listen to you
- Can you absolutely know that it’s true? (Yes or no.)
- How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought? I get angry, hurt and frustrated. We argue and it ruins my day.
- Who would you be without the thought? More relaxed, less stressed.
The next step is to Turn the thought around , and in the final step you “Embrace the reality” by saying that you would be willing to go through this situation again, now with a different perspective, maybe able to handle the situation better and to understand how to not let a thought control you.
Byron Katie says” Until you can look forward to all aspects of life without fear, your Work is not done.”
Take a couple minutes to check out the website The Work for detailed information on each of the steps.