"The only time we suffer is when we believe a
thought that argues with what is. When the mind is perfectly clear, what is is what we want."
Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life, with Stephen Mitchell, Harmony Books, 2002.
I Need Your Love - Is That True? How to Stop Seeking Love, Appreciation, and Approval and Start Finding Them Instead, with Michael Katz, Harmony Books, 2005.
A Thousand Names for Joy: Living in Harmony with the Way Things Are, with Stephen Mitchell, Harmony Books, 2007.
Question Your Thinking, Change the World: Quotations from Byron Katie, edited by Stephen Mitchell, Hay House, 2007.Amazon.com Widgets
Her method of self-inquiry, called The Work, is based on four questions and a process called a "turnaround".
The four questions are:
1. Is it true?
2. Can you absolutely know that it's true?
3. How do you react when you believe that thought?
4. Who would you be without the thought?
Her method can be done either by oneself or with another person.
When engaging in her method, first one identifies a belief or thought related to a topic that causes anxiety or unhappiness. Initially one is encouraged to choose something which feels important, which annoys or troubles you, that someone else does or did: for example "My mother never loved me," or "Tom shouldn't expect me to solve his problems." With each thing, one then asks themselves or is asked each of the four questions listed above. When alone, one writes down their response, and with another person one speaks their answers aloud.
After the four questions, the thought is literally turned around to its opposite. For example: "My mother never loved me" turns around to "My mother always loved me," Then one sees if they can find ways that this new thought is equally true, or more true, than the original thought.
The turnaround also takes the form of turning the statement around to oneself: "I never loved my mother," or "I never loved me."
Katie summarizes The Work as: "Judge your neighbor, write it down. Ask four questions, turn it around."
Katie has taught this technique for exploring painful beliefs across many topics including relationships, parenting, illness, death and trauma. She has facilitated the work with audiences in widely varying situations, from ordinary people dealing with financial worries to prison inmates and survivors of armed conflict.
Source: Wikipedia Byron Katie
Byron Kathleen Reid became severely depressed in her early thirties. She was a businesswoman and mother living in a little town in the high desert of southern California. According to Katie, for almost a decade she spiraled down into paranoia, rage, self-loathing, and constant thoughts of suicide; for the last two years she was often unable to leave her bedroom. Then, one morning in February 1986, while in a halfway house for women with eating disorders, she experienced a life-changing realization. She described her experience as similar to spiritual awakenings described in Buddhist and Hindu traditions under various names; she called it “waking up to reality.” In that moment of enlightenment, she says,
I discovered that when I believed my thoughts, I suffered, but that when I didn’t believe them, I didn’t suffer, and that this is true for every human being. Freedom is as simple as that. I found that suffering is optional. I found a joy within me that has never disappeared, not for a single moment. That joy is in everyone, always.
Katie is not aligned with any particular religion or tradition. She is married to the writer and translator Stephen Mitchell, who co-wrote her first book, Loving What Is and her third book, A Thousand Names for Joy.
According to journalist Allison Adato, soon afterward people started seeking Katie out and asking how they could find the freedom that they saw in her. People from her town and eventually from elsewhere came to meet her, and some to even live with her.
Katie’s calls her method of self-inquiry The Work. She describes it as an embodiment, in words, of the wordless questioning that had woken up in her on that February morning. Adato further writes that as reports spread about the transformations people felt they were experiencing through The Work, Katie was invited to present it publicly elsewhere in California, then throughout the United States, and eventually in Europe and across the world. She has taught her method to people at free public events, in prisons, hospitals, churches, corporations, shelters for survivors of domestic violence, universities and schools, at weekend intensives, and at her nine-day "School for The Work".
Source: Wikipedia Byron Katie