Life never plays out the way want it to because we all have judgements and expectations of what it should be. Traumatic incidents are something that anyone can relate to because there is a universal understanding of pain. Only through doing the work to become aware of the influence of our thoughts and beliefs, can we then truly re-write our own scripts of happiness. 

It’s natural for untrue thoughts and beliefs to occur as a response to trauma but it is also within our natural ability to unravel its own trauma. When we are traumatized, we may choose resistance as a response and resistance can cause suffering. Byron Katie believes that the suffering can end if you question that resistance. Trauma is the act of believing your thoughts and doing this, without questioning them, causes suffering. 

What is Byron Katie’s The Work?

The Work is a meditative process, which includes taking a moment of stillness to get in touch with yourself and a fuller experience of life. It is an inquiry into us to identify the thought that you’re thinking and believing in an actual situation in the past or your future that you may fear or dread. It won’t be easy, and it will take courage to question our thinking, thoughts, and believing, to see our part, and look at ourselves from a different perspective. The Work will simply guide everyone to wake up to our true reality of our nature. 

“You move totally away from reality when you believe that there is a legitimate reason to suffer".”
— Byron Katie

How to do The Work:

The Work is a meditative practice, and it might be one that you do multiple times over. It takes complete stillness and the ability to listen to your inner self. When you go through the steps of The Work, in a one-on-one facilitation with Mark Cave, you can turn thoughts around and help yourself achieve peace within. Byron Katie says true freedom starts with inquiry.

Capture all your stressful thoughts on a Judge-Your-Neighbour Worksheet

This is where it’s important to practise elements of meditation. You need to be calm, close your eyes and anchor yourself in the situation, at a specific time, where you felt stressed. You will then write down your responses to the questions on the Worksheet, using short, simple sentences. The Work encourages that you write without censoring yourself. This is your opportunity to be as judgemental, childish, and petty as you were in that moment. This is how we get to the root cause of your stress and emotions in that moment.

Isolate one thought, work through the four questions and answer genuinely

Now, apply Byron Katie’s formulated the four questions and begin by repeating the original statement. This Work is a meditation practice that makes you dive into yourself, even to the deepest and most pained parts, to carefully listen, and wait. The answers will meet your question.

Identify what you were thinking and believing and confront it

What you were thinking and believing then was the cause of the trauma. No matter what was done to you, at the end of the day, what you thought about it is what was because of my trauma. So, you question these thoughts, and the trauma suddenly breaks. You will become enlightened to the cause of my suffering.

Remove your judgements and notice what is revealed and that’s your true nature

Now you need to start confronting who you would be without that thought? You should go back to stillness and take a moment to reflect, observe, and experience the situation again. But now, imagine who you would be without the thought or beliefs during that situation. The answer brings you closer to the actual truth, the essence of what is and not of what you believed, and you will be free from suffering.