Letter from Katie
Thank you again for your generous welcome and volunteer work that made the Zurich, Bern, Geneva, London, Paris, Vienna, Cologne, and Amsterdam events possible. Also, I was so excited to have the new French translation of Loving What Is, published in time for the tour; thank you, Benoît and Margot. I loved this tour, family, and am happy to say that thanks to you, I experience The Work as alive and well in the world, because of those of you who have taken inquiry into your life and have passed it on as you continue your daily meditation practice in The Work. I look forward to seeing how many cities I can take on next year; I already love responding to some of your invitations. Love is the power that moves me, and that is all that I met on the tour this summer. I met it in the eyes and hearts of each one of you, dears. You move me in the world through your love and care, and I am so very grateful for the peace that, all together, we bring into our world.
So, back to Ojai, and this past weekend at Spirit Rock, and on to the No-Body Intensive in Atlanta, and on and on. Stephen and I are also taking a final pass through the new book. It’s called A Mind at Home with Itself, and HarperOne will publish it in September 2017. I am so moved by Stephen’s version of the Diamond Sutra, included as the basic text that I comment on, and I love that those of you who have wanted this book to come about will have the good fortune to experience it yourself. If you have a better title for the book, please pass it on to us—you can email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. We really are open to all input from you for another title, though I love A Mind at Home with Itself, as that is this given grace of consciousness. I don’t know why or how this awareness and grace came to be, but it is easy for me to recognize that its only value lives through you. You are my love, my life, and my reason.
So thank you for The Work happening in you and for the peace awakened through you, and how you allow it to take itself from one to the other in the world. Thank you for supporting this silly body through its travels to meet you again in Europe, and I appreciate imagining that you are aware of this moment now and that all there is for you is here in it and how this understanding gives you everything in you so visibly and without effort.
I invite all of you who are available to turn your life around at Turnaround House, beginning this Sunday, September 4. Take this opportunity to turn your life right-side up! For those of you who can afford the money and time away from your present lives, I invite you to this one-of-a-kind opportunity.
Thank you for waking up to the life that is already yours. And for those of you meditating on a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet today, I invite you to keep in mind that you need only ask, wait, listen, and notice, being realized through our Work.
All ways loving what is,
Visiting Facebook and Stanford
It was a privilege and a joy to present The Work at the Stanford Business School and also within the Facebook campus.
The Work in Russia
What a joy and privilege to be in the room with you and all the beautiful people here at Omega Institute. I want to give you the love and gratitude of many many Russian-speaking people doing The Work daily.
I’m so thrilled to tell you more about the Russian-speaking School of Consultants of The Work that has been going on now for two and a half years:
- There are twenty-eight participants.
- The program has provided more than a hundred hours of free volunteer sessions to anyone who wants to know more about The Work.
- It now includes 350 hours of teleclasses, one-on-one sessions, and in-person workshops.
- Four graduates now are offering teleclasses and workshops in The Work.
Below is a letter from one of the Russian participants:
My name is Konstantin. I am forty-one years old and a Russian Orthodox monk. I originally came to the monastery because of depression and alcoholism. Recently I started to use The Work as a practice.
Asking the four questions and the turnarounds, I was able to experience clarity, happiness, and peace. Pen and paper became my close friends; I wrote down situations I found stressful, my mother’s phone calls, conversations with friends, and so on, and I worked on everything I could. I soon realized that I could not go as far along as I wanted to with this practice, so I joined the school of consultants led by Olga, and I received the support that I needed.
I also started using the Work with the parishioners. When I listen to people’s confessions, I sometimes notice, with sadness, that after they confess they leave with the same despair. When I notice that someone might be open to it, I offer them The Work. In the Russian Orthodox Church, the sacredness of the confession allows a person to relieve themselves and tell their stories to their confessor. The Work complements religion in this way, providing the other oar to the boat.
For a long time I have been looking for a tool that will support me spiritually, any time and any place, and The Work of Byron Katie has become that for me. The goal of religion is to join with God, and The Work allows the opportunity to be with him. In the Gospel it says “…do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will care for itself,” and just like that The Work of Byron Katie brings us to the here and now. I have used it—four questions and turnarounds—with several people, and they were quite stunned.
Right now I regularly attend classes at the school of consultants, and I live in a much more peaceful state of mind. Sometimes I spend the whole day sitting by the window, just looking out. I need nothing in those moments, because I have everything I need inside me. And when I feel bad, I know that I haven’t been using my pen and paper for a long time. The deep contemplation with the Worksheet allows me to enter the most exciting adventure within myself. I am so happy to have an opportunity to be in the program, and I will continue sharing The Work with others.
Dear Katie, from the depth of my heart I would to thank you for The Work.
Surviving Sexual Assault
On April 29th I was attacked by five armed men with balaclavas. I was tied up, beaten, and sexually assaulted. I realized that night that I might be killed. I remembered Byron Katie's words when she spoke of having a gun put to her belly. "If these were your last breaths, wouldn't you want to be present?" I made the choice of savoring every breath! I believe that through her teachings she saved my life. I stayed calm and present throughout the horror that went on for hours.
I want to incorporate trauma counseling into my work, since there is a lot of violence and crime in South Africa. I want to share my experience and The Work and show people that they don't have to suffer for the rest of their lives from a trauma. I believe I am being called to facilitate healing for others, and I want to participate deeply in the 2016 School so I can really prepare well to facilitate The Work effectively. I also experienced my dad's death as a special gift, thanks to Byron Katie again. I have so much gratitude and so much to give and share with others. I don't hate my attackers. I said "God bless you" when they left. Everyone has been amazed by my attitude and the way I have dealt with my attack.
Questioning It All
Dear Beloved Katie,
Listening to your webcast today, I suddenly woke up to an entire new level of enquiry that I had previously been asleep to.
I have done two nine-day Schools with you, and in each one I kept looking for the point of pain, the point of suffering. Of course this still exists—I continue to identify a lot - and yet there is another level of… well not pain or suffering in the sense that I had been thinking.
Maybe I can call it “existential suffering.” I do not feel sad, depressed, angry, irritated, or any of those most obvious emotions. And yet, I am not ecstatic. I am not full of joy and gratitude and excitement and enthusiasm, as I see you are ALL THE TIME.
I started to wonder about that—what is the Worksheet I need to do for this?
“I should be joyful all the time—is that true?”
And then I was watching you work with the concept “Physical pain is a projection of the mind” and the advice you gave to a woman from Idaho on May 17th. You said, “What I suggest is not very exciting, but still I suggest that you continue to do The Work on mother, father, sister, brother, children, grandchildren – whatever occurs…”
Then I had a flash of “OMG. What do I believe about the people most precious in my life?” Even that thought “These are the most precious people” can be questioned.
Yes. What do you believe about the people most precious in your life? And yes, “these are the most precious people” is a powerful assumption to question. I suggest that you complete a few Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheets, one person at a time, or all of them grouped into one Worksheet. Maybe something like this:
- “These people are the most precious people in my life”—is it true? Continue through all four questions and turnarounds, with each assumption on your Worksheet.
- “I want these people to ____.” What do you want them to be, what do you want for them? Fill in statement 2 on the Worksheet.
- “These people should/shouldn’t ____.
- What do you need from them for you to be happy? “I need them to ____.”
- What do you think of them, in any specific situation or in general (only if you are not focused on one specific situation)? It is important that you meditate on the questions about each judgment.
- What is it that you don’t ever want to experience about those people (or that person) again? “I don’t ever want ____.”
And don’t forget that the turnaround for statement #6 is “I am willing to ____.” “I look forward to ____.”
You write, Maybe I can call it “existential suffering.” I do not feel sad, depressed, angry, irritated, or any of those most obvious emotions. And yet, I am not ecstatic. I am not full of joy and gratitude and excitement and enthusiasm, as I see you are ALL THE TIME.
I invite you to notice, to be aware of comparisons, the illusion of duality. You see in your mind’s eye an image of “you” (past/future) and an image of “Byron Katie” (past/future). Is that image of Byron Katie in your head really me? Is that image of you really you? Is it real or imagined? Aren’t you really just comparing images with images? Please take this simple process wherever you think “you” are, have been, or will be.
It had never occurred to me that this thought was a “problem” and yet—I realized, listening to you, that I need to question all the beliefs that hold together the identify I call Jeremy, until there is no “Jeremy” to find any more. Just this moment.
Do I have to find a “problem” and a “moment” before I can do a Judge-Your-Neighbour Worksheet? Can I instead just start to write down what I believe about my mother, father, sister, brother, children, best friends, etc. and then just question those beliefs, even if I cannot perceive any point of pain or problem?
Absolutely. At thework.com we also have a One-Belief-at-a-Time Worksheet, and have fun becoming aware of “yourself” and then losing that false identity. You cannot lose him without first understanding what he only appears to be from within, and then laughter, an apparent re-entry of what isn’t and can never be. What joy!
I would love to hear your experience of doing what I suggest above. All is possible in love.
Love and gratitude
A Letter from Tania Fierro
Dear Friends of The Work,
Carla Gonzalez, Founder and Creative Director at Mission School in San Jose del Cabo, Mexico (www.colegiomission.edu.mx), invited my husband, Pedro, and me to support bringing The Work into their K-12th-grade school and greater community. Early in 2016, we started by offering a four-month immersion program in The Work to thirteen key educational leaders. In this program, educational administrators, counselors, key faculty, and management had the opportunity to attend workshops on The Work, one-on-one sessions, and were able to facilitate each other through ongoing partner exercises.
Additionally, this April, Carla hosted an introductory three-day workshop in The Work at Mission School, inviting all members of the extended school community, including faculty, parents, and their families. This event was attended by more than seventy participants. As of that day, Carla has established bi-weekly inquiry circles at Mission School.
The Thinking Project with Rachel Pickett and Linda Dellet is coming to train teachers to further implement The Work for teachers and students in the classroom, bringing ITW (Institute for The Work) volunteers and facilitators from across the world to support this project.
The next phase of this long-term project includes a second immersion program for school leaders, focusing on bringing The Work into school planning, operations, governance, and policy implementation. We are also planning a year-long immersion and two-year coaching program for the extended school community. Mission School is also planning on hosting a program to bring The Work into classrooms this year.
In this way, Mission School is one of the first K-12 schools in the world to have training and implementation of The Work at all levels of the organization, including school leadership, management, parents, staff, faculty, operations, and the classroom.
For more information, visit: www.colegiomission.edu.mx and www.innerland.com.
Letter from Australia
I write to you with some news about the work in my school in New South Wales, Australia. I have been working as a Pastor Care worker for 9 years now in a Catholic primary school with over 600 students. The role name has been my cover and I have been using The Work now for some years. Early this year, my work (with The Work) at the school was noticed. It was noticed first through a programme I had created, using a scenario for year 6 students, using The Work to form a complete process, 30-minute sessions in 3 classes.
I had already been using The Work to support change with behaviour issues, anxiety and family issues, the whole family approach. I have been taking Tiger-Tiger through the whole school for maybe 4 years. Every story I read has a reflection time where I bring in The Work. I was supporting teachers and all the community but since the recognition it has had good viral effect. I have presented to school psychologists, 2 time slots now in staff meetings (50 on staff). I have run 5 parent workshops and touched maybe 25 parents and running another 2 this school term. I work privately with mums to support change in their perceptions in parenting and sometimes with nasty separations. Been doing that for a long while using The Work. I now have teachers seeking real support with me doing The Work. Possibly teaching psychologists tools of The Work (it has been requested).
Today my school ran a professional development day with all staff attending. For the first time we ran 4 different workshops where staff had to choose 3. My workshop was called “reality corner,” and I had 2 time slots filled. How can you figure? They had The Work all along, knew something was going on because healing was taking place in all areas. They used to say “I don’t know what she does but it works,” and still there was no movement or room for growing, although I stepped up many times. I even began to tire in it all.
It took an outside psychologist who knew The Work to get things moving.
He has to follow protocol but supports me to bring the change. His words to staff, about The Work being done through me, helped stir the pot. I have applied for community funding and am waiting to know if I have won funding to come to the School for The Work. Might know by November. I have been trying since last year and maybe will make the next March if accepted.
Love and blessing to you, dear soul.
P.S. I have experienced the weirdness of my being used this way. If there was a person most unlikely, it was me. (Is that true?)
Gratitude for The Work
I’ve been thinking of you and sitting in gratitude for all that seemed to come from my meeting you. This strong feeling arose this morning as I was speaking with my sister. She was telling me all the ways her daughter was not up to being a mother. As I listened what arose in my mind was that she was out of her business. I mentioned that in a gentle and loving way. Something lit up in her, and it seemed to rock her world with understanding and clarity. She understood how she was living what our mother showed her and passing it on to her child who was then passing on to her children. That insight seemed to disintegrate our family karma.
Similar awareness and clarity has shown itself daily, and for that I am grateful. The Work has pointed me to a freedom and happiness I knew existed and with thirty years of meditation, studying the wisdom texts, translating them as well, chanting, and other practices, The Work has been the Crown Jewel of freedom. There is a peace in me that is present and never leaves.
Thank you for all of this, my Dear Friend.
I love you, Katie.