The answers are not your job,
asking the questions is.
The answers are given.
– Kathryn Jefferies Ph.D.
“Wisdom is not a product of thought.” ~ Eckhart Tolle
As a Certified Facilitator of The Work of Byron Katie™ (also known as Inquiry Based Stress Reduction© or IBSR) I am certified by Byron Katie personally to do The Work with people. It’s a way to find the truth directly for yourselves, outside of your concepts about reality.
People who do The Work as an ongoing practice commonly report:
From the website www.thework.com
In 1986, at the bottom of a ten-year spiral into depression, rage, and self-loathing, Katie woke up one morning to a state of constant joy that has never left her. She realized that when she believed her stressful thoughts, she suffered, but that when she questioned them, she didn’t suffer, and that this is true for every human being.
The Work consists of four questions and the turnarounds, which are a way of experiencing the opposite of what you believe. When you question a thought, you see around it to the choices beyond suffering. One thought at a time, you transform the way you experience your life.
Katie has been bringing The Work to millions of people for more than twenty-five years. Her public events, weekend workshops, five-day intensives, nine-day School for The Work, and 28-day residential Turnaround House have brought freedom to people all over the world.
Byron Katie’s six books include the bestselling Loving What Is, I Need Your Love—Is That True?, and A Thousand Names for Joy, A Friendly Universe and her latest book, A Mind at Home with Itself.
At thework.com, you will find detailed instructions about The Work, a list of Certified Facilitators and their websites, video and audio clips, Katie’s calendar of events, free downloads including the Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet, interviews, apps for your iPhone, iPad, or Android, a free newsletter, a free helpline, and the online store.
I ask people questions that allows them to arrive at their own answers, to find out what is true for them. It gives people clarity on what’s going on for them. It allows them to discover what it is that they’re believing that is causing them stress or fear, and then really meet those thoughts to inquire whether or not they are true for them. It is a way of encountering your own authority—what is true for you outside of what you think you’re supposed to think and believe. And it’s my truth, in my experience, that has set me free.
The Work is a form of self-inquiry, a way of finding out what it truly is that is causing you to suffer or limiting you, and finding peace and freedom through encountering the truth. It is a process of finding and then questioning your stressful thoughts through four questions and turnarounds (a way of experiencing the opposite of what you’re believing). It’s meditation, in that the answers show themselves to you—it is not thinking. It’s something anyone with an open mind can do. It’s simple and can be life-changing. You can read the first two chapters in Loving What Is by Byron Katie for more information.
I used to be at the mercy of my terrifying thoughts. I felt like such a victim to life, and that I was truly not capable of dealing with the tremendous challenges of life. For example, I became a single mother when my daughter was twelve months old, and she had significant health challenges. She would often have difficulty breathing out of the blue and I would have to rush her to the hospital. I felt in constant terror believing she could die. I questioned that belief, and also the belief that I wouldn’t be able to handle that. It turned out that really welcoming those stressful thoughts into my life, really looking at them, gave me the peace from them I was looking for that I couldn’t get when I was suppressing them.
I am also my own authority now. I used to feel deeply insecure, that I couldn’t rely on my perception of things in life. I thought others had my answers—whenever I was in a conflict with someone, I would shake inside and cower from them and let them dictate how things would go, or lash out with my anger and be aggressive. Now I know deeply that I am the only one who can give me my answers. It’s tremendously freeing and also brings me such humility and grace. I am constantly astounded that life is so benevolent as to give me full autonomy like that. I really thought other people were the problem and I have come to see that it’s what I was thinking about other people and their power over me that was the problem.
One of the major ways my life has changed because of The Work is in my relationships with people. For example, with my daughter who is now 13 (in 2016), I would sometimes be very reactive and get so frustrated with her and not feel I had control not to be this way in those times. I would yell sometimes and then feel deeply ashamed and sad afterwards. I hated myself. For a long time now, I notice that I don’t react and instead respond. I might feel a twinge inside me like frustration, and I know to take that to inquiry to enlighten me to myself some more. I know it’s never about her. I’m deeply grateful for this change as I see that she trusts me to be calm and to take care of my own feelings. I don’t look to her to do that.
There are a lot of different options to choose from, and you can do anything that feels right for you. Loving What Is the text for The Work. There are a lot of examples in there of Katie doing The Work with people, so it is modelled for you. She also has FAQs in the last chapter (Ch. 13) that are helpful.
You can go to thework.com and watch youtube clips there of Katie facilitating, find in-person and online events offered by certified facilitators there, or attend an event with Katie—she does evening and one-day events along with the 9-day school for the work.
And Katie has live, free webcasts at livewithbyronkatie.com where you can watch her facilitate people.
Ultimately, you will learn The Work by doing it.
I am at a place in my experience with The Work where I feel able to meet a client where they are. I have a deep trust in The Work to do its job, and I trust myself to trust it. Others’ powerful emotions don’t frighten me in the way they used to; I have come to see that there is nothing to be afraid of. And if there’s something that is triggered in me, then I know it’s about me and how to take care of it. So I welcome your fear, your confusion, your anger, your upset, your deep sadness and grief.
I know my job is not to try to help or fix anyone, but only to be there for them fully, to simply ask 4 questions and let them give themselves their answers. I have been humbled by being made aware of my arrogance when I used to think that I had answers for other people. I finally feel that I am in a place where I am ready to serve because I know that I don’t know. I am ready to learn alongside others. I have nothing to give them but my presence. And this is a gift to me.
I know what has helped me when I have been confused—I have worked through some confusion about The Work. For example, asking, “And that means that…” has really helped me get at the underlying belief of a situation.
The Work has been the most profound tool in my life (and it goes beyond even that), and if I can help facilitate other people to experience the power of The Work, then that is the most fulfilling thing. Also, I have had the experience over and over of how my clients are doing my Work, and they enlighten me to myself, when I have the privilege of facilitating them. I know I have a lot more beliefs to undo, and this is the best way I can serve myself while serving others.
In my sessions with Kathryn, I was able to deeply experience — for myself — exactly where and how I was in a habitual pattern of resistance to mental and emotional experiences that were arising. With her deep insight and support, I was able to directly experience the blissful release that comes with letting the grip of thinking LET GO OF ME. It was truly liberating on a profound level – and has allowed me to discover an uninhibited, natural confidence to move forward in this life in a much freer and more truthful way. I am deeply grateful for Kathryn’s support, wisdom and incredible capacity to hold a space where the truth beyond thinking can be clearly recognized.Laura S.
*I can relate to people for whom fees are difficult. If this is you and you would like to do The Work, please contact me and we can see see what is possible.
I also volunteer occasionally on The Work helpline and it is free. See the schedule by clicking the button to the right.
~ Kathryn Jefferies