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                                                      IN CRITICISM

                                     Byron Katie (as everyone calls her) has one job: to show people how to end their suffering. As she guides
                                     them through the simple yet powerful process of inquiry called The Work, they find that their lives radically
                                     shift. All the problems in the world, Katie says, are caused by our thinking, and when we question our stress-
                                     ful thoughts—about life, other people, or themselves—we can set ourselves free.

            I’ve come to see that there is no such thing as criti-  and becomes anger and attack, in the form of defense or jus-
            cism, there are only observations. And there is no   tification. It’s not right or wrong; it just isn’t intelligent. War
            observation that does not enlighten me, if my mind   is not intelligent. It doesn’t work. If you’re really interested in
            is open to it. What could anyone say to me that I couldn’t   your own peace of mind, you’ll become more and more aware
            agree with? If someone tells me I’m a terrible person, I go in-  of that sense of wanting to defend yourself against a criticism.
            side myself, and in two seconds I can find where in my life I’ve  And eventually you’ll be fascinated to find the missing pieces
            been a terrible person; it doesn’t take much searching. And if   of yourself that your critic is helpfully pointing out, and you’ll
            someone says I’m a wonderful person, I can easily find that,   ask him to tell you more, so that you can be enlightened even
            too. This is about self-realization, not about right or wrong.   further.
            It’s about freedom.
                                                                 Criticism is an immense gift for those who are interested in
            When someone tells me that I lied, for example, I go inside to   self-realization. For those who aren’t, welcome to hell, wel-
            see if they’re right. If I can’t find it in the situation they’ve   come to being at war with your partner, your neighbors, your
            mentioned, I can easily find it in some other situation, maybe   children, your boss. When you open your arms to criticism,
            decades ago. I don’t say that out loud. But inside me, it’s a   you are your own direct path to freedom, because you can’t
            joining. And then I can say, “I am a liar. I see where you’re   change us or what we think about you. You are your only way
            right about me.” We agree. That person is realizing who I used  to stand with a friend as a friend, even when she perceives you
            to be, the very thing that I began realizing twenty years ago.   as an enemy. And until you can be intimate with us however
            I fall in love with people who are angry at me. They’re like   badly we think of you, your Work isn’t done.
            people suffering on their deathbeds: we don’t kick them and
            say, “Get up.” It’s the same when someone is angry and at-  After you’ve done inquiry for a while, you can listen to any
            tacking you. This is a confused human being. And if I’m clear,   criticism without defense or justification, openly, delightedly.
            where is it that I couldn’t meet him? That’s when we are the   It’s the end of trying to control what can’t ever be controlled:
            happiest, when we’re giving ourselves without condition.  other people’s perception. The mind rests, and life becomes
                                                                 kinder, and then totally kind, even in the midst of apparent
            If a criticism hurts you, that means you’re defending against   turmoil. When you’re aware of being a student, everyone in
            it. Your body will let you know very clearly when you’re feeling  the world becomes your teacher. In the absence of defensive-
            hurt or defensive. If you don’t pay attention, the feeling rises   ness, gratitude is all that’s left.

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