“The Work” Byron Katie

WHAT IS THE WORK?

The Work is a simple yet powerful process of inquiry that teaches you to identify and question the thoughts that cause all the suffering in the world. It’s a way to understand what’s hurting you, and to address the cause of your problems with clarity. In its most basic form, The Work consists of four questions and the turnarounds.

Everything you need to do The Work is available for free on this website.

“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.”
—Byron Katie

People who do The Work as an ongoing practice commonly report:

  • Alleviation of depression: Find resolution, even happiness, in situations that were once debilitating.
  • Decreased stress: Live with less anxiety or fear.
  • Improved relationships: Experience deeper connection and intimacy with your partner, your parents, your children, your friends, and yourself.
  • 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.
  • More energy: Experience a new sense of ongoing vigor and well-being.
  • More peace: Discover how to become “a lover of what is.”

THE WORK ESSENTIALS

PDFThe following are free PDF files available for you to download. (For downloads in other languages, see below.)

1. Fill In the Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet

For example, your first statement might be “Paul doesn’t listen to me.” Find someone in your life about whom you have had that thought. Then take that statement to inquiry using the four questions and turnarounds of The Work.

Watch the videos below to hear Katie explain in detail how to fill in a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet.

2. Ask the Four Questions

Investigate each of your statements from the Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet using the four questions. The Work is meditation. It’s about opening to your heart, not about trying to change your thoughts. Ask the questions, then go inside and wait for the deeper answers to surface.

  1. Is it true? (Yes or no. If no, move to 3.)
  2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true? (Yes or no.)
  3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
  4. Who would you be without the thought?

Download the Facilitation Guide for helpful sub-questions.

3. Find the Turnarounds

The original statement, Paul doesn’t listen to me, when turned around, becomes “I don’t listen to myself.” Is that turnaround as true or truer? Now identify examples of how you don’t listen to yourself in that very same situation with Paul. Find at least three specific, genuine examples of how this turnaround is true. For me, one example is that in that situation I was out of control emotionally, and my heart was racing.

Another turnaround is “I don’t listen to Paul.” Find at least three examples of how you were not listening to Paul, from his perspective, in that situation. Are you listening to Paul when you’re thinking about him not listening to you?

A third turnaround is “Paul does listen to me.” For example, he put out the cigarette he was smoking. He might light another one in five minutes, but in that situation, even as he was telling me that he didn’t care about his health, he was apparently listening to me. For this and for each turnaround you discover, always find at least three specific, genuine examples of how the turnaround is true for you in this situation.

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