On The Work

Image: Kari Shea

I’ve been geeking out on The Work by Byron Katie — a brilliant woman, indeed.

The Work is a powerful model used for self-inquiry that consists of four questions (with some sub-questions and turnarounds if you download her facilitation guide).

The four questions are (after bringing up an issue we’re having with ourselves or someone else):

  1. Is it true? (Yes or no. If no, move to 3.)
  2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true? (Yes or no.)
  3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
  4. Who would you be without the thought?

Simple questions, for sure. But extremely effective.

Can you see what she’s doing? She’s getting people to step back and look at their thoughts. She’s getting them to unidentify with them. She’s getting them to allow themselves to play with them.

Number four is a right-hook to the ego’s face. It doesn’t know what to do with it. Because the reality is — the ego would die without the thought. It is the thought. But what this exercise helps us remember is…

Thoughts are malleable, not concrete.

This is powerful enough in self-inquiring about past issues.

But to be able to do it in the moment...

Damn. Look out.

Might be worth the practice.


Jonas Ellison is a transformative coach/writer from the internet. To get his short vignettes in your inbox daily, click here.

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