The Work by Byron Katie


Jedi Master
From: _

"Q: The long hours, the many days, the isolation—isn’t this cultish? Is The Work a cult?

A: No, if by “cult” you mean a group of people who are indoctrinated to accept certain beliefs. Actually, The Work is the opposite of a “cult,” since The Work’s whole purpose is to question beliefs. It gives people a way to think for themselves, a way to take their own minds back. It has nothing to do with substituting new beliefs for old beliefs or teaching that any belief is true or untrue. The Work is about taking on the responsibility of unbrainwashing ourselves from the negative thoughts that keep us from the optimum health, happiness, and productivity that each of us deserves.

Here is what Katie says at the beginning of Loving What Is:

What I love about The Work is that it allows you to go inside and find your own happiness, to experience what already exists within you, unchanging, immovable, ever-present, ever-waiting. No teacher is necessary. You are the teacher you’ve been waiting for. You are the one who can end your own suffering.

I often say, “Don’t believe anything I say.” I want you to discover what’s true for you, not for me."

From looking at this video it clearly looks like a cult though: _


The Living Force
I watched the "What's the reality of pressure?" video and read some of the written material. At this point, I don't see anything that might relate to the negative connotations or aspects of "cult".

It looks like this 'work' could be considered a soft, limited introduction to understanding narcissistic projection and the negative introject (minus the labels). That could be helpful to some people, I suppose.

I'd be interested to hear what an actual participant in this 'school' would say about it if anyone here has made a personal visit.

I got a chuckle from "Staying in Your Own Business":

Staying in Your Own Business

I can find only three kinds of business in the universe: mine, yours, and God's. (For me, the word God means “reality.” Reality is God, because it rules. Anything that's out of my control, your control, and everyone else's control, I call that God's business.)

Much of our stress comes from mentally living out of our own business. When I think, “You need to get a job, I want you to be happy, you should be on time, you need to take better care of yourself,” I am in your business.

When I'm worried about earthquakes, floods, war, or when I will die, I am in God's business.

If I am mentally in your business or in God's business, the effect is separation. I noticed this early in 1986. When I mentally went into my mother's business, for example, with a thought like “My mother should understand me,” I immediately experienced a feeling of loneliness. And I realized that every time in my life that I had felt hurt or lonely, I had been in someone else's business.

If you are living your life and I am mentally living your life, who is here living mine? We're both over there. Being mentally in your business keeps me from being present in my own. I am separate from myself, wondering why my life doesn't work.

To think that I know what's best for anyone else is to be out of my business. Even in the name of love, it is pure arrogance, and the result is tension, anxiety, and fear. Do I know what's right for me? That is my only business. Let me work with that before I try to solve your problems for you.

If you understand the three kinds of business enough to stay in your own business, it could free your life in a way that you can't even imagine. The next time you're feeling stress or discomfort, ask yourself whose business you're in mentally, and you may burst out laughing! That question can bring you back to yourself.

And you may come to see that you've never really been present, that you've been mentally living in other people's business all your life. Just to notice that you're in someone else's business can bring you back to your own wonderful self.

Source: _ (page 4 of 22)

Maybe it's a subconscious warning to stay out of her business? :D I don't know, but I thought it was funny.


Jedi Master
I think I used Katey Brien as a forum search as I think I originally did for this thread, leading me to panic that this was a new development.

It's however the first result for The Work in Google. I don't know if this has been the case for very long.

edit: Well, I think "What's the reality of pressure?" video set an example of what was quite transparent non-resistance to evil.


Jedi Council Member
FOTCM Member
I found the way of noticing the thoughts mentioned by The Work by Byron Katie close to my own way.
When I was teenager I was strugling with thoughts and redefining a lot of things, I may say now changing beliefs and convictions which is still lasting up to now. One realy good thought that time came to me that: "the truth is what it is", that being of something is giving reason for existence or non-existence. Existing is existing. And other thought was to distinguish what comes from inside and outside my mind. From external reality or internal reality. The thought is, but it is important to know that it is the thought coming from inside my mind, and that it is not external thing or situation or relation.
This short translation from polish page of "the work by Byron Katie" about origins of Katie's understanding:
Byron Kathleen Reid, buiseness woman, mother living in high desert in South Karolina, got depression in her thirties. Within ten years her depression got worse and Katie, how she's called, spent almost two years hardly moving from bed, she was plunged in suicidal thoughts. Than, one day, from the depth of her despair, she experienced changing life realisation.
Katie had noticed that when she was believing in something to be or should be different that it was ("My husband should love me more", "My kids should appreciate me more") she suffered, and when she was not believing in those thoughts, she felt calm. She realised, that this which caused her depressed, was not her surrounding world but her convictions on her sourrounding world.
Quote taken from from lesson 1 - how the work (by Byron Katie) was originated

The Work - is not that term used also by alchemists?

Yeap. There is much work to do except noticing fact that thought is a thought and reality is reality and that internal reality is not necessary external reality. Anyway for me when I remember myself in my teenage it was very important discovery. I am still strugling with distinguishing which is which. And be aware... which is so difficult...


Jedi Master
Re: Another \

Laura said:
Actually, looking at the process she is talking about here: , it doesn't look like a bad thing at all! If some esoteric ideas were blended in there, it would be a kicker. But as it is, for the average person, this is excellent.

I agree there, I was directed to look at some of her stuff by a counsellor and I think it's up there nearly with the works of Neale Donald Walsch.
Conversations with God is a golden book for people just waking up and those who constantly need reminders like me. I don't mind if people make a motza of cash trying to coach others to free themselves from some kind of slavery in their minds, the intentions of Katie, Walsch, Tolle and other alike seem genuine to me. They're great stepping stones.


The Living Force
Byron Katie’s “The Work

I stumbled across her back in year 2002 with the book “I need your Love - Is that true ?”

In the essence of her work I understood her message was: that in depression or deep conflict which are creating problems in our lives, the work can be a way for your brain to snap out of what keep you in prison.

Because it is often in our thinking and beliefs which traps thought forms and they hang over our heads, like rain clouds. And we don’t release those negative thought patterns. So they hang over us, like rainclouds. With a ‘life’ of their own, it seems. So the work is a kind of handy steps, to 1) first write down your worst beliefs about something or someone and then 2) to ask yourself questions honestly; how much of that is true. And you explain. Then tou ask again - but can you be absolutely 100% sure that this is true ? How would it feel like in your life, wothout that negative thought ? Describe it.

In the end, you do a “turnaround” by reformulating the original question/statement, in order to see if not other aspects might be more true. (Like a word game - which lures your brain out of a totally locked in position)

It is in the brain, honey

It reminds me a lite bit like a psychological game exercise aimed at loosen up secret beliefs in your thoughts which got too hardened, creating pain and suffering. (Like being married to pain). It is a way to understand that a lot of suffering and problems in our lives are caused by the very thoughts he harbor but never fully scrutinize them of its contents, how much those are really true.

What if the thought you believe in, isn’t true ? I mean how would your life be, without having that particular troublesome thought or belief ? Describe a life without that prison-thought.

So, in that way, you can unhook or soften harsh stubborn thought forms which give us pain, suffering and grief. Instead, giving way for alternate possibilities we harbor within us, too.

Like Laura said

The work by Byron Katie for the average person, making it a great helpful tool. But it ain’t the work, or only a little part of what we talk and exercise as The Work, within ourselves, at the Cassiopaean forum.

I have no idea how Byron Katie and the people around her have been advertising the work since 2002, e.g. in the past 20 years. I guess it is the ‘American way’, in which products often are too loudly advertised in order to generate attention.

I met her in 2002

I did however meet her at a conference in Stockholm. The funny thing is that right after i had read her book, a member from a local Swedish Gay community spontaneously invited me (without knowing me) with a ticket to that conference with Byron Katie. (I will search for photos in case my hardrive didn’t grt destroyed the other day - i still don’t know)

The conference was cool. My impression of her was that she had a gentle and genuine aura.

When the work didn’t work (for me)

I have more impressions from the work, in which it for me suddenly went totally wrong in 2004/2005 after a deeply dramatic crash of my first marriage, when i was married to an Israeli, him working at the Israeli Embassy in Stockholm (a guy who looked like a copy of John F Kennedy Jr when he let his hair grow).

It was the most peculiar relationship I had ever experiences - so many question marks and strange vibes - that it even today is difficult to pinpoint, what that really was. And what it was not. Really weird at all levels and yet on the surface so innocent. So ‘perfect’.

So, in that strange breakup i read another of Byron Katie’s books, kind like a copy (more or less) of the first - but it had an odd effect on me; in those 3 questions followed by the “turn around” which the work is based on, it may have temporarily eased my anger, but the effect was that I now took all guilt up in me “by free will”, like the sole respnsible person for the misery of two. And deep deep inside of me, i had a tiny hunch of that it couldn’t be right, either.

Which in essence only lead to that through gradually growing anger (over 4-5 years to free myself from the connection to that man internally) - as my anger helped me in regard of that unexpected new mental trap.

I do not blame the book for it. I think the powers at work in and after that relationship were extreme, almost kind of fooling me into believing that everything was my fault. But in a relationship it takes two to Tango. And my anger made me realize that… again. I rejected the book, but not really. I understood later that something else was at work trying to trap me - as usually always through our weakest spots we still harbor within our belief system…

Fast forward

I believe personally, that the work by Byron Katie only can provide real assistance to snap out of negative thought forms - if the person is a seeker. And a very honest one. Only then it helps. Because in order to ask and answer those three questions with the following “turnaround”, you have to be really honest to yourself. Otherwise it will not work. It is lost on those who only seek intellectual band aid’s or flower power wow effects.

I recommend her book but not her sound book. Because when i listened to it, in 2012, when my second husband bought it - it was way too fast spoken. In the end i got confused without ever taking in what she tried to point out. And on my husband it has the most weird effect - which is another story for another time.

One of the nice quotes

i remember from her - was something like this: in the desert of Arizona, you can sometimes get the impression after sunset that a twig on the ground looks a threatening snake on the ground. Not unlike thoughts in our minds making life miserable. We see snakes and dangers in things that do not pose a real threat. You can free yourself from entanglement by looking at your thought beliefs from several different angles - and then imagine, how THAT feels like…

Is there perhaps more truth in those ?

Her “The work” is for the reader to test and realize the real freedom often lies hidden behind thought forms which seem to refuse to give us access to that freedom. Fooling us - through our thoughts - without we even realize it. As we often seek answers and guilt in others blaming them to be the cause. But what is outside of you - are territories of others - we we should not really rule over.

There are God matters. There is You matters. And then there are the matters of other people. You can take responsibility over you / your actions / your thinking / your beliefs. Don’t meddle in what is other people’s territory. (Our thoughts however often do exactly that)

The work goes - always - though us.

To be able to look through the treacherous veil of our own compulsive thoughts we got attached to, we can indeed find increased freedom.

Top Bottom