The Work of Byron Katie
Those who would like to immerse themselves in The Work by Byron Katie for a few days or more can do so in our home in France.
Weekends and weeks are being offered on a regular basis (see the agenda), but it is also possible to come by appointment for a few days or longer. You can come by yourself, or as a couple or as colleagues or friends, to solve a conflict or to dive deeper into your own subjects.
In the pleasant and safe environment of our house you will have the opportunity to work with your own themes in a profound way.
What is The Work?
The Work is a form of inquiry, which is also being used by Buddhists. It is a practical and, at the same time, profound method that can be used in all areas of life: relationships, children, family, work, illness, burn-out, addictions, desire for recognition, abuse, or simply a gnawing sense of discontent.
We all know the suffering of believing our thoughts, like: I can never do it right; he should not be so authoritarian; she never listens to me; I need him to be there for me; I’m not good enough; he should finally start behaving differently; I wish my body looked different.
Once you start to examine those thoughts, you will notice that there are all kinds of feelings involved, like disappointment, irritation, grief, anger, frustration or despair. These feelings are not something isolated; they are the direct result of the preceding thoughts.
The Work shows us that every form of sorrow, anger, annoyance, despair and pain (including physical pain) has its origins in thoughts that have not yet been investigated for their veracity.
This means that stressful thoughts will dissolve once you start to examine them thoroughly. You’ll no longer have to meditate them away, jog, drink or eat them away, or fight against them. Neither will there be the need to develop “positive” thoughts or to make use of affirmations. This is what makes The Work such a powerful and radical tool.
The Work might also be supportive when you meditate on a regular basis and when you regularly ask yourself questions like ‘Who am I?’ or ‘Who is it that meditates?’ or ‘Who is the one that suffers?’ It can be very helpful and supportive in keeping the heart wide open and in preventing a cold, detached or mental way of self-inquiry.
After all, even when we come to see that the ego is not much more than a construct of thoughts and images, and that we are not the ego, that does not necessarily mean the end of the dominance of the ego. Often, the identification won’t melt away in one go. We notice that we continue to stumble over certain beliefs, and we also notice that it is not that easy to let go of manipulation and control – however subtle they may come to express themselves. One moment we feel infinitely spacious, the next moment everything seems to densify.
The Work can be supportive in this respect, in that our conditioning can be felt, experienced and seen through directly.
The Four Questions
The Work consists of four questions and a turnaround, which can be applied to all thoughts that generate stress.
The first step is to identify the thoughts with the help of a worksheet, after which you will be able to apply the four questions:
– Is it true?
– Can you absolutely know that it is true?
– How do you react, what happens when you believe that thought?
– Who would you be, or who are you without that thought?
You can then turn the thoughts around in different ways, to see if the inverted thought can be as true or even truer than the original one.
When one starts applying The Work, it may seem like a somewhat dry, mental exercise, which often lead to answers like: But I already know that.
However, this so-called “knowing” does not resolve anything. It doesn’t lead to a different view on life, or to a deeper understanding. The Work is about fully experiencing how thoughts affect us and how they affect our body system, our relationships and our lives. By fully experiencing this, the connection with the truth and the heart can be restored. It is partly for this reason that Byron Katie offers the certification program, so that certified facilitators are able to offer others support in the process.
Once you have found your way in The Work, you may experience that old mechanisms dissolve, that space is widening and that your heart opens up in an effortless way. Your attitude to the circumstances changes and you experience more understanding for others and for yourself. Old battles dissolve and life flows effortlessly again. That does not mean that you will become passive or apathetic. It is precisely when you do not lose yourself in thoughts and feelings that you are able to act in an authentic way – out of openness and understanding. Through that, the contact with the people around you will become relaxed and natural.
If you would like to know more about The Work and about Byron Katie, click here.
If you would like to read more about Aafke and her Work offer, click here.