Last weekend in Phoenix, I attended a personal development workshop called “The Work” led by Byron Katie. “The Work” is a way to identify and question the thoughts that cause all the suffering in the world. It’s a way to find peace with yourself and with the world. Katie developed this simple but powerful method of inquiry that shows people how to free themselves (from themselves).
I had so many “aha” moments and “takeaways” from the weekend and wanted to share my Top 3 with you:
1) The only time we suffer is when we believe a thought that argues with “what is.” If you are trying to argue or change reality, you will suffer. Some examples: “He should be more patient.” “I should be more successful.” “They are so selfish.”
These thoughts are ways of wanting reality to be different than it is. All the stress we feel comes from wanting the moment or situation to be something that it’s not. Change happens from the inside out!
2) A thought is harmless unless we believe it. It’s not our thoughts, but the attachment to our thoughts, that causes suffering. Attaching to a thought means believing that it’s true, without inquiring or doing self-reflection. A belief is a thought that we’ve been attaching to, often for years or most of our lives. And it’s these limited beliefs that steal all of our peace and joy.
3) Since the beginning of time, people have been trying to change the world so that they can be happy. This hasn’t ever worked, because it approaches the problem backward. This is the exact cause of most of our suffering! So when we are feeling stuck, anxious, depressed or frustrated with life (suffering), it is right then that we must do “The Work.”
The Four Noble Truths summarized to say that: 1) In life we will suffer 2) There’s a cause to our suffering 3) There is an end to our suffering 4) The end of suffering comes when we do “The Work.”
If you are constantly feeling like your fighting life, tired of being tired, unhappy with the world or unsatisfied with the way your life has unfolded, now is the time to do the work!
“I am the only one who can set me free”