The Work is Byron Katie's simple yet powerful process of inquiry or self help that teaches you to identify and question thoughts that cause all the suffering in the world. It's a way to understand what's hurting you and to address your problems effectively and with clarity.
People who do The Work as an ongoing practice report life-changing results.
* Alleviate depression: Find resolution and even happiness in situations that were once debilitating.
* Decrease your stress: Learn how to live with less anxiety and fear.
* Improve the relationships in your life: Experience deeper connection and intimacy with your partner, your parents, your children, your friends and co-workers.
* Reduce your anger and frustration: Understand what makes you angry and resentful and become less reactive, less often and with less intensity.
* Increase mental clarity: Live and work with more intelligence, effectiveness and integrity.
* More energy: Experience a new sense of ongoing vitality and well-being.
* More peace: Find calmness and relaxation that you never thought was possible.
How to Do The Work
STEP 1 - Judge Your Neighbor
For thousands of years we’ve been told not to judge, but we still do it all the time—how our friends should act, whom our children should care about, what our parents should feel, do or say. In The Work, rather than suppress these judgments, we use them as starting points for self-realization. By letting the judging mind have its life on paper, we discover through the mirror of those around us what we haven't yet realized about ourselves.
Fill in a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet. You can download one here.
STEP 2 - The Four Questions
Investigate each of your statements from the Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet. using the four questions and the turnaround below. The Work is meditation. It’s about awareness, not about trying to change your thoughts. Ask the questions, then take your time, go inside and wait for the deeper answers to surface. Download the blue sheet for use as a facilitation guide.
In its most basic form, The Work consists of four questions and a turnaround. For example, the first thought that you might question on the above Worksheet is "Paul doesn't listen to me." Find someone in your life about whom you have had that thought and let's do The Work. "[Name] doesn't listen to me":
1- Is it true?
2- Can you absolutely know that it's true?
3- How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
4- Who would you be without the thought?
Then turn it around (the concept you are questioning) and don't forget to find three genuine, specific examples of each turnaround.
STEP 3 - TURN IT AROUND
After you've investigated your statement with the four questions, you're ready to turn it around (the concept you are questioning).
Each turnaround is an opportunity to experience the opposite of your original statement and see what you and the person you've judged have in common.
A statement can be turned around to the opposite, to the other, and to the self (and sometimes to "my thinking," wherever that applies). Find a minimum of three genuine, specific examples in your life where each turnaround is true.
For example, "Paul doesn't understand me" can be turned around to "Paul does understand me." Another turnaround is "I don't understand Paul." A third is "I don't understand myself."
Be creative with the turnarounds when doing the work. They are revelations, showing you previously unseen aspects of yourself reflected back through others. Once you've found a turnaround, go inside and let yourself feel it. Find a minimum of three genuine, specific examples where the turnaround is true in your life.
As I began living my turnarounds, I noticed that I was everything I called you. You were merely my projection. Now, instead of trying to change the world around me (this didn't work, but only for 43 years), I can put the thoughts on paper, investigate them, turn them around and find that I am the very thing I thought you were. In the moment I see you as selfish, I am selfish (deciding how you should be). In the moment I see you as unkind, I am unkind. If I believe you should stop waging war, I am waging war on you in my mind.
The turnarounds are your prescription for happiness. Live the medicine you have been prescribing for others. The world is waiting for just one person to live it. You're the one.
Examples of Turnarounds
Here are a few more examples of turnarounds:
"He should understand me" turns around to:- He shouldn't understand me. (This is reality.)- I should understand him.- I should understand myself.
"I need him to be kind to me" turns around to:- I don't need him to be kind to me.- I need me to be kind to him. (Can I live it?)- I need me to be kind to myself.
"He is unloving to me" turns around to:- He is loving to me. (To the best of his ability)- I am unloving to him. (Can I find it?)- I am unloving to me (When I don't inquire.)
"Paul shouldn't shout at me" turns around to:- Paul should shout at me. (Obviously: In reality, he does sometimes. Am I listening?)- I shouldn't shout at Paul.- I shouldn't shout at me.(In my head, am I playing over and over again Paul's shouting? Who's more merciful, Paul who shouted once or me who replayed it a 100 times?)
After you have turned around the judgments in your answers to numbers 1 through 5 on the Worksheet (asking if they are as true or truer), turn number 6 around using "I am willing ..." and "I look forward to ..."
For example, "I don't ever want to experience an argument with Paul" turns around to "I am willing to experience an argument with Paul" and "I look forward to experiencing an argument with Paul." Why would you look forward to it?
Number 6 is about fully embracing all of mind and life without fear and being open to reality. If you experience an argument with Paul again, good. If it hurts, you can put your thoughts on paper and investigate them. Uncomfortable feelings are merely the reminders that we've attached to something that may not be true for us. They let us know that it's time to do The Work.
Until you can see the enemy as a friend, your Work is not done. This doesn't mean you must invite him to dinner. Friendship is an internal experience. You may never see him again, you may even divorce him, but as you think about him are you feeling stress or peace?
In my experience, it takes only one person to have a successful relationship. I like to say I have the perfect marriage and I can't really know what kind of marriage my husband has (though he tells me he's happy too).
See www.thework.com for more information
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