Around 2000 I came across the work ( or as she terms it The Work) of Byron Katie.
Byron Katie is a woman who went through a transformative process in which she woke up from the state of sleep which characterizes the lives of most people.
She ceased to be run by her underlying, negative thought patterns. They just disappeared. She had no previous interest in such matters and at the time of this experience was living in the attic of a treatment facility for people with psychiatric issues. She was so paranoid that she used to sleep with a loaded gun under her pillow and even felt threatened by the postman who delivered her mail. She recently mentioned that she thought of killing him since she was afraid of him slipping the mail via the slot in the door to receive the post.
So not exactly the most balanced person around.
One day, laying on the cement floor of the room in which she slept, she awoke to find a cockroach crawling over one of her toes. She slept on the floor since she didn’t feel worthy of sleeping in the bed that was in the room.
She got up and went to the mirror. The face she saw in the mirror was not recognizable to her. She had somehow undergone such a major psychological transformation that she was now able to see things as they actually are without the limiting effects of negative thinking.
That day she was discharged and sent home. The psychiatrists agreed that she no longer would benefit from their program though they had no explanation for the transformation that had occurred.
Some people call it Grace.
She went back to Barstow, California, which she describes as very isolated, surrounded by large tracts of barren space, desert. The home of an air force base and, according to her, buffeted by winds that drove many people away.
When she returned home she would just sit in the rural areas, amidst the winds, silently appreciating life as it presented itself.
People noticed the enormous change and began to request her to help them with their own issues.
She just didn’t know what to do since she had not done anything special to make this all happen in the first place.
Gradually, she figured out that by questioning stressful beliefs in a specific way, many people could start to defuse their situations and find peace, the peace that is who we are and who we always have been.
She began to privately teach this. Then the meetings became too big so she began to have seminars to teach others in various locations. In the early 2000’s I went to several of these in the Washington, DC, West Virginia area. They were life changing and after many years of not doing The Work, I recently returned to it.
The key to doing it is to write it down. There is a major temptation to do it orally but this will simply not get the results that you get if you write all of it down.
On her website, www.thework.com , there is a menu option for resources. Click it and you will find downloadable materials, many of which have been translated into other languages, to do the Work.
My suggestion for those interested in pursuing this is to get her first book, Loving what is, and study it. It really gives all the instruction you need to get started.
Youtube also has some videos of her doing the work with others. Two of my favorites are:
I urge my patients to do this work and have helped some of them during visits to get started.
If done correctly, it can really transform you life for the better.