Byron Katie Workshop: Day One
May 4, 2007
At the Byron Katie workshop, we got a folder that had many sheets of paper. As we went along through the workshop Katie would invite us to get a certain sheet of paper and write the answers to questions she would ask us. The most unique sheet of paper was the yellow card. The yellow card had the following words on it:
- Is it true?
- Can you absolutely know that it’s true?
- How do you react when you think that thought?
- Who would you be without the thought?
- Turn the thought around…………..
These four questions changed my whole life to a different view and that of many others who were there at the workshop. We used these four questions for every problem we worked with. I will show how each step works using the following sentence:
I am angry at Brandon because he is mean to everyone.
This is a stressful thought that I had. To work with it I first shortened it to:
Brandon is mean to everyone.
Number one: “Brandon is mean to everyone, is that true?” You shut your eyes and think. If the answer is YES, you go to question number two. If the answer is NO you skip to number 3. In this case my answer was YES.
Number two: “Brandon is mean to everyone. Can you absolutely know that this is true?” Shut your eyes again. “Is he mean in your thoughts?” “Does he act mean to people in your point of view?” “Does he act kind to some people?” Those questions that I just typed are the things you should be searching for in your mind. My answer to this question is NO. He is not mean to everyone.
Number three: “Brandon is mean to everyone. How do you react when you believe that thought?” “I feel sad that he treats people with disrespect. I feel like it is my fault that I can teach him not to be so mean if I hang out with him but I don’t want to because he is mean.” That was an example of a common answer. The answers tell how you feel and how you treat yourself and others when you believe that thought.
Number four: “Brandon is mean to everyone. Who would you be with out the thought that Brandon is mean to everyone?” “I would feel safer. I wouldn’t have to worry about him in his long run. I would hang out with him more. He would be a better friend to me.”
Turn the thought “Brandon is mean to everyone” around. A turnaround could be: “I’m mean to everyone.” Now find three statements in which that could be true. “I have been mean to my sister. I have been mean to my friends. I have been mean to my parents.” Now find another turnaround. “Brandon is not mean to everyone.” Now find another three statements in which that could be true. “He is kind to his nephew. He is kind to his sister. He is kind to most of his friends.” The turnaround is a way to learn about myself and the world from the judgments I have about others.
Now we have done The Work. From this I found out that Brandon is similar to me because we are both mean in some ways. I learned that he is not mean to everyone. I want to say he is so that I can be right but that does not prove anything. After doing this work on Brandon I felt better. I felt like I could understand him more.