The Work is a simple yet powerful process of inquiry that teaches you to identify and question the thoughts that cause all the suffering in the world. It’s a way to understand what’s hurting you, and to address the cause of your problems with clarity. In its most basic form, The Work consists of fours questions and the turnarounds.
Everything you need to do The Work is available for free on this website.
“I discovered that when I believed my thoughts, I suffered, but that when I didn't believe them, I didn't suffer, and that this is true for every human being. Freedom is as simple as that. I found that suffering is optional. I found a joy within me that has never disappeared, not for a single moment. That joy is in everyone, always.”
People who do The Work as an ongoing practice commonly report:
For thousands of years we’ve been told not to judge—but let’s face it, we do it all the time. We all have judgments running in our heads. Through The Work we finally have permission to let those judgments speak out, or even scream out, on paper. We may find that even the most unpleasant thoughts can be met with unconditional love.
Each statement from the Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet is then investigated using the four questions.
Finally, turn around the concept you just questioned. This is an opportunity to experience the opposite of what you originally believed.
For example, your first statement might be “John doesn't listen to me.” Find someone in your life about whom you have had that thought. The take that statement to inquiry using the four questions and turnarounds of The Work.
Watch the videos below to hear Katie explain in detail how to fill in a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet.
Katie takes you through every step of the worksheet.
Byron Katie and her daughter, Roxann, fill in a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet.
Katie takes a webcast caller through the process of filling in the worksheet.
Katie guides a mother step-by-step through a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet on the death of her daughter.
Investigate each of your statements from the Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet using the four questions. The Work is meditation. It’s about opening to your heart, not about trying to change your thoughts. Ask the questions, then go inside and wait for the deeper answers to surface.
Download the Facilitation Guide for helpful sub-questions.
After you have investigated your statement with the four questions, you’re ready to turn around the concept you’re questioning.
Each turnaround is an opportunity to experience the opposite of what you originally believed.
A statement can be turned around to the self, to the other, and to the opposite (and sometimes to “my thinking,” when that feels appropriate). Find at least three specific, genuine examples of how each turnaround is true in your life, and then allow yourself the time and presence to feel them deeply.
For example, “Paul doesn’t understand me” turns around to “I don’t understand me.” In that situation, find at least three specific, genuine examples of how you did not understand yourself.
Another turnaround is “I don’t understand Paul.” Relax, close your eyes, and with an open mind witness as the images and feelings within you begin to show you, example by example, where you do not understand Paul in that situation. Be very gentle and thorough.
A third turnaround is “Paul does understand me.” Relax, close your eyes, and with an open mind witness as the images and feelings within you begin to show you, example by example, where Paul does understand you in that situation. Be very gentle and thorough.
For this turnaround, examples might be:
Can you find another turnaround? Another in this example is “Paul really knows me.” Just find a word or phrase that is the extreme opposite in meaning to “doesn't understand.”
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.
After you have turned around statements 1 through 5 from the Worksheet (and found at least three examples for each turnaround), turn statement 6 around using “I am willing to …” 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?
Why would you look forward to it?
The turnaround to statement 6 is about fully embracing all of life without fear, and being open to reality. If you experience an argument with Paul again, good. If it hurts, write another Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet and investigate the thoughts. Uncomfortable feelings are clear reminders that we've attached to something that may not be true for us. They are gifts that let us know it's time to identify the stressful thoughts and do The Work.
Until you can see the enemy as a friend, your Work is not done. This doesn't mean that you have to invite your enemy to dinner. Friendship is an internal experience. You may never see the person again, you may even divorce him or her, but as you think about the person, are you feeling stress or peace?
In my experience, it takes only one person to have a successful relationship, and that's me. I like to say that I have the perfect marriage, and I can never know what kind of marriage my husband has.