“Reality is God, because it rules.” ~ Byron Katie
Stillness Speaks is pleased to continue our introduction of The Work, Byron Katie’s practical process of personal inquiry. The booklet, The Work of Byron Katie, which we are previewing in a series of short posts, is available as a FREE PDF download, courtesy of Free Spiritual Ebooks. This free booklet presents the essence of The Work. Italicized text below is taken directly from the booklet.
The first post introduced The Work of Byron Katie, giving a brief overview of what is possible if you chose to do The Work..
The Work of Byron Katie is a way to identify and question the thoughts that cause all the suffering in the world. It is a way to find peace with yourself and with the world.
The second post, What Is, Is, challenges us to accept “what is.”
The only time we suffer is when we believe a thought that argues with what is. When the mind is perfectly clear, what is is what we want.
Next Byron Katie turns to staying in one’s own business….
I can find only three kinds of business in the universe: mine, yours, and God’s. (For me the word God means “reality.” Reality is God, because it rules. Anything that’s out of my control, your control and everyone else’s control–I call that God’s business.)
Katie makes a simple observation; much of our suffering and stress comes from putting our mental energy, thoughts, projections, feelings into someone or something elses business. Katie calls it mentally living out of our own business.
When I think, “you need to get a job, I want you to be happy, you should be on time, you need to take better care of yourself,” I am in your business. When I worried about earthquakes, floods, war, or when I will die, I am in God’s business. If I am mentally in your business or in God’s business the effect is separation.
This separation is the source of suffering…
… I realized that every time in my life that I had felt hurt or lonely, I had been in someone else’s business.
The point is, we must live our own lives. Being mentally involved in someone else’s concerns, issues, and needs prevents us from being present to our own lives AND keeps us separate from ourselves.
To think that I know what’s best for anyone else….even in the name of love… is pure arrogance, and the result is tension, anxiety and fear. Do I know what’s right for me? That is my only business.
Staying in your own business is remarkably freeing. The next time you’re feeling stress… ask yourself whose business you’re in mentally, and you may burst out laughing! That question can bring you back to yourself.
To conclude, Katie notes that after practicing The Work for a while …you may come to see that you don’t have any business either and that your life runs perfectly well on its own.
Stay tuned … more about The Work is coming soon.
One morning in February 1986, after struggling with debilitating depression for nearly ten years, Katie 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.”
The Work, Katie’s process of self-inquiry, didn’t develop from this experience; she says that it woke up with her, as her, on 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 nine-day School for The Work, and through the Institute for The Work.