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                                              USING BYRON KATE'S

                                        4 LIBERATING QUESTIONS

                                     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.

            Tom Moon, MFT,  is a a licensed psychotherapist helping clients de-
            velop the insight they need to overcome the conscious and uncon-  Out of this insight, she developed a process of self-inquiry
            scious beliefs that stand between them and their happiness. I found   which she now calls “The Work.” It involves asking four simple
            this article of his to be an excellent example of using the 4 liberating   questions about each belief that causes us pain:
            questions in your own situation. Tom writes,
                                                                                       Is it true?
            Corey came to see me, consumed with hurt and
            rage. Two years ago, his partner Lyle, the love of            Can you absolutely know that it’s true?
            his life, abruptly moved out of their apartment and       How do you react when you believe that thought?
            disappeared while Corey was at work. In the follow-           Who would you be without the thought?
            ing days, Corey discovered that Lyle had been involved with
            Lyle’s “best friend” for more than a year, and that the two had  After answering these questions, respondents are asked to
            left the state together. Corey subsequently spent most of his   come up with a “turnaround,” a sentence expressing the
            waking hours so preoccupied with angry and vengeful thoughts   opposite of what one believes. So, for instance, “He doesn’t
            that his life came to a standstill. He wanted to let go, but he   understand me,” could become, “I don’t understand him,” or,
            felt completely stuck.                               “I don’t understand myself.”

            Together, we tried a number of methods to get him unstuck,   I see “The Work” as a form of self-directed cognitive therapy.
            and what finally did it was a process of self-examination devel-  It has helped many thousands of people to get out of their
            oped some years ago by a woman named Byron Katie. Begin-  mental ruts and to improve the quality of their lives.
            ning in her early thirties, Katie was so depressed and stuck in
            self-loathing that she was often unable to get out of bed for   Corey and I applied this process to his belief that: “In order
            days or weeks at a time. One morning, in a sudden moment of   for me to be happy, I need Lyle to admit he hurt and betrayed
            life-changing insight, she saw that her suffering came from her   me, and I need him to offer apologies and restitution.”
            thoughts about her situation—such as “my life is horrible,” and
            “I don’t deserve happiness”—and not from the situation itself.  What follows is an abbreviated summary of our discussion.
            She realized a simple truth: when she believed her thoughts,          ...continued on page 20
            she suffered, and when she didn’t, she was happy.

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