Awakening to Reality
Byron Katie (Byron Kathleen Mitchel) was born in Texas in 1942 and later lived in the small desert town of Barstow in California. Initially her life used to run quite normally. She married, had three children and was a successful businesswoman, however when she got to thirty she suffered from serious depression. Without visible reason she suddenly began to “die” inside. This downwards spiral of self disgust and constant thoughts about suicide lasted for ten years, wherein the last two years she hardly left her bed.
Then, in 1986, she experienced an awakening that changed her life radically. Katie refers to this experience in retrospect as “Awakening to Reality”:
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.”
Byron Katie realised that her beliefs about the world were the reason for her depression and not the world itself. The attempt to change the world in such a way, how she wished for the world to be in her thoughts, was hopeless. But she could change her beliefs about the world in that she questioned her thoughts.
The Work is a process of questioning yourself that “awakened” on that February morning in Katie and has since been alive in her. Even the first people that Katie brought The Work to experienced a transformation in their lives. In the meantime Katie has travelled for more than twenty years around the globe and gives The Work to all those people who want to be free of their suffering. Therein it does not matter if it is “a small everyday problem concerning children, parents, job or relationships, or about extreme experiences such as torture, abuse and war.
Byron Katie, © Rick Rusing
Byron Katie lives in Ojai, California and is married to author Steven Mitchell. You will find out more about Byron Katie under www.thework.com.
Every time I meet Katie is refreshing for me. She is one of those very rare human beings that live what they say. Her clarity, prescence, and loving attention towards people who open themselves in her workshops, is for me authentic and touching. Some people are afraid to have no more motivation without their negative thoughts; they are afraid to sit at home inactive if they don’t push themselves forcefully. Byron Katie is for me a living example that the opposite being true, she shows what love in action looks like.”
— Heinz Meisnitzer