Letter from Katie
Hello, dear, dear family of the world. I do hope that you benefit from this Newsletter, and if those of you new to The Work hear something that seems a bit beyond (or way beyond) the ordinary perspective or usual way of thinking in regard to life, death, or anything else, that you feel the discomfort and continue to follow along as well as you can, as it is my hope that you may gain what I have gained through inquiry: peace beyond what can possibly be taught other than by one’s own self—self-realization and the freedom born out of stillness within inquiry. The only way out of suffering, in my experience (and I have a great deal of that), is to drop into one’s own self.
The Work is inquiry. It is a way to identify the thoughts, judgments, and assumptions we place on the past and future images running in our heads that cause suffering, all the way from mild irritation to terror, sadness, and grief. Once you have identified and listed these disrupting past/future internal events and write them down, they are ready for inquiry. For example, let’s say that my child is very ill, I am in the hospital room with my doctors, and they are informing me that they are unable to pin down the cause of the illness, and in the meantime my child’s condition is becoming worse by the hour. I am terrified. I am believing that he is going to die of this unknown disease.
So, in order to actually do The Work on that judgment in my head, which feels like it is terrifying me to death, I look at the situation clearly in my mind’s eye, eyes closed, and begin to question this judgment that I have written down.
“He is going to die” (of this disease). I quietly ask myself, “Is it true?”
“Can I absolutely know that he is going to die (of this disease)?” And it is like summoning up a genie that lives internally within me at all times. I trust this source completely to SHOW me in the stillness the answer to these two questions, and I wait until I see either “yes” (it’s true) or “no” (it’s not true), and remain open to what I am being shown, without prejudice to either one. This is a meditative practice, and to understand such truths being summoned up takes focus, silence, patience, and an open mind. The answers are there already, these simple “yeses” or “no’s,” if you really want to get in touch with the simple truths beyond rational understanding and the peace that comes with them.
Next, notice in that situation how you react, what happens, and how it feels, when you believe that. Be still and witness from that hospital room in your head. See the doctors’ faces, see yourself as you were in that situation, see that time and situation as closely as you possibly can by meditating on it as though it were happening now (because it is happening now in your mind). If you are still enough and are asking in earnest, you will be shown.
Now ask yourself, “Who would you be in that situation without the thought ‘My son is going to die of this disease?’” Meditating on this question as though you were still in that situation, that hospital room, etc. (even though it may have happened years ago), will show you peace, clearly, if your mind is open to all that you see without the thought “My son is going to die.”
Turn the thought around: “My son is not going to die.” Could that be as true or truer? Eyes closed, be still, witness, meditate on that situation in your mind’s eye. You will be shown, beyond fear, what is, was, and always will be already there.
“My son is going to live.” Could this be as true or truer?
“I am going to die” of this thinking disease about my son, while my son is actually still alive, doctors are on the case and doing their jobs, my son is in the hospital being cared for, and I’m worried in a way that keeps me disconnected with him and his potential fears, pain, life, etc. (and for all I know, he may be more settled than I am).
I invite you to go to thework.com, to “universal beliefs,” and find situations to apply to any one or two of them, and began to experience inquiry as a daily practice. Only you can actually shift your mind and life in a way that can give you another, better world that no one has the power to take from you. It is a kind world, it is the world we already live in, as opposed to a world we perceive. If I don’t live in a friendly universe, I have lost touch with reality. (When I make such statements to others, about their own work and world, I am quick to also say, “Please don’t believe me; test it for yourself.”) You are the one, and the power is within you, released through inquiry and silence, that can set you free.
Identify your thoughts. Write them down. Ask, wait, witness, and allow your world of suffering to shift.
These are interesting times we live in, with much turmoil, it seems. If you want to change the world for everyone, you can do it from within yourself. To change the world, question your internal world.
Loving what is, just now, now, now,
The Work in Georgia
Hi dear Katie,
This is Tina, the one from Georgia (the country between Russia and Turkey) who was granted a scholarship by you at the School for The Work–July 2016.
First of all I would love to say thank you again for your generosity and for this transformational opportunity that has changed my life, forever...
I’m happy to announce that the translation process in Georgian is almost finished. After the Web-site is done in Georgian, the next stage is to share The Work with the Georgian people, who are waiting for it impatiently.
The population of Georgia is about 3 million people. Most of them don’t know English, Russian is already almost forgotten, especially in my generation, so I’m enthusiastic about bringing The Work to as many people as possible to discover it in Georgia.
With big love, enthusiasm, and gratitude,
* * * * *
Hi dear Katie,
I’m writing to share the progress about bringing The Work into my country, Georgia.
On November 5, I shared The Work with Georgians, they loved it, and I’m so happy and grateful. A lot of people came, and they were excited to know more about The Work. They have found their answers in it.
It’s a big pleasure to share The Work in my country.
I would love to share the pictures too.
Missing Piece of a Puzzle
Since coming across The Work earlier this year, my eyes have been opening to the truth that my beliefs are the source of my stress, my fear, and my anger in ways that are truly amazing to me. I find myself so naturally thankful that with each inquiry I taste more freedom. I’ve had a meditation practice for over a decade, mostly rooted in Buddhism, and The Work has been like discovering a missing piece of a puzzle. I notice so much confusion and anxiety in me and The Work helps me to face it so directly. I’ve never before encountered such a clear and incisive inquiry practice. Usually they are shifting and vague or complex practices. The Work is not only something anyone can do; it is so powerful in transforming confusion and stress. I am so confident I will continue to benefit from The Work. I also intend to share The Work with the world in more and more ways as my personal practice experience with it grows. I have already begun introducing it to meditation students and interested friends and this has been awesome. To witness people come to clarity on confusing or painful issues is so lovely and gratifying. And the fact that this can happen with someone who is new at guiding the practice is a testament to the integrity of The Work. The Work is a gift to the world.
C.D., Brooklyn, NY
The Work in Israel
So much to share and so I’ll send just a few notes -
The March of Hope in Israel, which began on Tuesday, October 4, and will end on October 19, during Succoth, was inspired after Lily Weisberger, an Israeli woman who has been to the School for The Work and had a vision of “Women Waging Peace”. She came back to Israel and since then history has been made and a movement has developed. Lily described in a note to Katie (see P.S. below) how she is constantly using The Work to remain in a state of kindness and compassion while being attacked by fanatics on all sides. This week we march together to Jerusalem, and call on the leadership of the state: We demand that our leaders work with respect and courage towards a solution to the ongoing violent conflict, with the full participation of women in this process. Only an honorable political agreement will secure the future of our children and grandchildren.
Then it continued moving through Arab villages joined by Arabs, Jews, Druze, Christians, and more.
Until finally the newspaper Haaretz had no choice but to run an article:
And the whole thing culminated last night at a HUGE rally in front of the prime minister’s house:
When I got there last night, Lily saw me, grabbed and hugged me, and said: “Tell Katie about this, because she helped me organize this!!! Make sure you tell her!!!!” And when she took the stage to speak, I sensed you in my heart!
So happy to be telling you this!!!
Very much love, always,
Here is Lily’s original note to you from last year (taken from your blog) Your inspiration played such a huge role in the life of Israeli peace activist Lily Weisberger, who helped create the amazing “Women For Peace” movement, so active now in Israel:
I am an artist and a therapist, and when I arrived at the School for The Work, I was longing to free myself from the pain caused by fear. Meeting Katie and the encounter with The Work changed my life!
I went to the School in Germany and again in Los Angeles, and continued at my work with students to teach and practice The Work myself for years. At the School I experienced stressful thoughts losing their grip on me, and the tremendous compassion that followed. It was the closest to a line from Bob Marley’s redemption song: “Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery ....” Every time I do The Work, I am released more and more from mental slavery. This is a tremendous gift that Katie gave birth to, and I thank her deeply.
After the 2014 war in Gaza, I had 50 days of fighting(!) with my son, who fought there, and the terror and fear and helplessness and paralysis that I experienced—I never experienced anything quite like it before, and it was a formative experience for me.
I promised myself, during those terrible days at the end of the war, that I would not repress anymore and that I would become active for a reality shift. During those days, a vision came to me, and I saw myself along with thousands of other women on a hunger strike. A drastic step that says ENOUGH with the madness. A cry of mothers that spells ENOUGH.
Fortunately, that summer thousands of other women arose and the Women Wage Peace movement was born. At first, we boarded a train, 1000 women from north to south, and our destination was a conference where we launched the movement, then we stood at 45 different checkpoints—thousands of women—and talked with hundreds of thousands of drivers to remind them that it is our duty to make peace.
3,000 of us women marched in Jerusalem to speak before the Knesset a speech of hope. Today we are 15,000 and counting. Then it came to me again, and I remembered the vision of the hunger strike, and so on the one-year anniversary of this awful war that lasted 50 days, we set up a tent and began a 50-day fast outside the home of the Prime Minister, with the requirement that he return to negotiations with the Palestinians in order to prevent the next war. Three hundred women joined from across the country: secular people, Muslims, Orthodox Jews, Christians, from villages and cities, and we each fasted 25 hours or 50 hours. The ripples the tent produced reached far and wide. We received an invitation from the President of Palestine, as our determination to fast moved him deeply and he invited us to a meeting. The Israeli Prime Minister’s wife, Sarah Netanyahu, invited us to hear what was on our minds, and then Netanyahu himself also met us. We met with Palestinian women leaders and decided to cooperate to end the conflict.
I thank Katie for the wonderful gift she has brought into the world and for what an enormous inspiration she is for me with her faith, determination, compassion, and the clarity of The Work, and I am grateful for the millions of people who practice and spread The Work and inspire the world. During hard moments when I encountered harsh reactions against our activities by the opposition, inquiry helped me go back and open my heart to myself and others. For instance, someone came to our tent and cursed us, and I was able to invite him to speak while at the same time I felt anger and a desire to attack him back, but during the conversation I felt The Work alive in me, working in me, and I could remember in real time that he is actually inviting me to look with compassion at the scared wounded places in me and at the thinking which I haven’t inquired into yet.
I deeply experienced my fear at the place that wants to react and attack him back. Having The Work inside me at these moments (and there are many more) has allowed me to breathe, not to be defensive or violent, I would remember the poem of Rumi that we heard in the School, “Guest House” and the place of “Is it true?” and I was able to come back to my own business and stay in an open space, watching, hoping to keep my heart and my head compassionate and curious and looking forward to the next challenge, and because there were a lot of challenges I feel that the thousands of women in the final event that marked the end of the fast were able to convey a message of compassion, love, and acceptance. And our operation echoed far and wide and resonated all the way to you, Katie, and to the people reading these words now.
I am so grateful to Byron Katie for her determination and persistence and her planting the seeds for a vast global transformation from the mind of madness and horror of war into a mind of peace, love, and clarity.
Here is the URL of our web page: http://womenwagepeace.org.il/join-us-2/. You are all invited to join from all around the world by signing on as supporters and friends. Large numbers are important.
Especially, beloved Katie, we, Israeli and Palestinian women, are inviting you and are looking forward to your visit to Women Wage Peace, waiting eagerly to actually meet you and to continue to water the seeds of hope, love, and peace here and everywhere.
With love and respect,
Photos from the October 2016 School for The Work