Who Would You Be? with Byron Katie



Sam and Katie discuss the nature of reality and where pain and suffering fit in. They talk about living in the moment, free from your painful thoughts and beliefs, and do Byron Katie’s The Work around Sam’s recent heartbreak.

more about Byron Katie via www.thework.com

Byron Katie became severely depressed in her early thirties. For almost a decade she spiraled down into rage, self-loathing, and constant thoughts of suicide. For the last two years she was often unable to leave her bedroom. Then one morning in February 1986, she experienced a life-changing realization. There are various names for an experience like this. Katie calls it “waking up to reality.”

In that instant, she says,

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.

She realized that what had been causing her depression was not the world around her, but the beliefs she’d had about the world. Instead of hopelessly trying to change the world to match her thoughts about how it should be, she could question these thoughts and, by meeting reality as it is, experience unimaginable freedom and joy. As a result, a bedridden, suicidal woman was instantly filled with love for everything life brings.

The Work, Katie’s process of self-inquiry, didn’t develop from this experience; she says that it woke up with her, as her, that February morning in 1986. The first people who did The Work reported that it had transformed their lives, and she soon began receiving invitations to teach the process publicly.

Since 1986, she has brought The Work to millions of people across the world, at free public events, in prisons, hospitals, churches, corporations, universities, schools, at weekend workshops, at her amazing nine-day School for The Work, and through the Institute for The Work of Byron Katie.

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  1. Thank you for your honesty and realness. I was struggling with Byron’s methodology- hearing you work through it with her (while I could tell it was painful for you) was helpful to the rest of us to see how the process works. I felt like you were asking the same questions I would have been asking!
    Side note- I KNOW you will find the real love of your life some day. Hang in there, Friend.

  2. I’m so happy you had the opportunity to meet Katie and do The Work with her a bit. I can say with 100% certainty that The Work and Katie helped me to save my life. I see the world so differently than I used to, and suffer much less.
    Keep going with The Work and see where it takes you.

  3. Thank you so much for your conversation with Byron Katie, and for letting yourself be vulnerable with her. It was such a beautiful shared experience to listen to her help you transform your beliefs about yourself, and it inspired me to adopt The Work into my own life. And share it with others, especially a dear friend who suffers from deep depression and anxiety who recently said, “how can my brain want to murder me?” I’m hoping The Work helps her with the unhelpful thoughts when they come in to her head. p.s. I have been following your Mom and now you since my son was born around the same time you were (12/26/89). “Operating Instructions:…” gave me laughter and understanding at a critical time. Now, as someone who deals with clinical depression and anxiety, it is YOU that is giving me hope. Thank you.


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