On Snakes, Sticks, and Jedi Mind Tricks: An Interview with Byron Katie

I am posting my March 2007 Byron Katie interview, newly edited to be completely true to the original conversation and transcript. In print in the magazine Pure Inspiration and in the material previously posted online, the interview’s edit involved a significant back and forth between me and Stephen Mitchell, Katie’s husband and a renowned classical scholar,…

Come Fly with Me: Angels Cheer

I am 47 years old. I turn 48 late this month. I haven’t been someone who has ever given too much weight to birthdays or the passing of the years. But this year my impending birthday is hitting me some. I’ve really not thought too much about age until very recently, but at some time…

Top 13 List: A Baker’s Dozen of 2013 Blog Posts

It has been a great year in the blogosphere, easily setting a record for highest amount of traffic since RayHemachandra.com replaced the prominently indexed former static site Hemachandra.com, which closed at the end of 2011. (You can still take a limited peek at that site via the cool time travel mechanism the Wayback Machine.) I…

The Turnaround: A Byron Katie Interview

When someone I know is having a tough time — in the middle of one of those dark nights of the soul and having trouble getting through it — I almost always think of Byron Katie. I interviewed Katie soon after I moved to Asheville, North Carolina, between attending a publicity event — a talk…

Byron Katie on the Mind Waking Up to Itself

Ray: When you describe your moment of realization—the cockroach moment—about not believing your thoughts, it sounds almost revelational. Do most people doing inquiry have revelations like that, or is it usually steady work in making the understandings become second nature? Katie: Steady work, and making the understandings become second nature—or first nature. People don’t need…

Byron Katie on starting to do The Work

Ray: You say when people start to do The Work and ask whether their thoughts are true, it’s best to do it on paper. Why? Katie: Because the mind is tricky. If you don’t write down your stressful thought, the mind will slip and slide around it. The mind is very clever. It will start…

Byron Katie on the mind’s relationship with itself

Ray: Some people may struggle to disengage the intellect. How do you undo thinking without thinking? Is inquiry not thought engaging itself or deconstructing another thought? Katie: Actually, it’s mind seeing through itself and understanding itself. I like to say that understanding is the power. The most important relationship is the mind’s relationship with itself.…

Byron Katie on the Turnaround in The Work

Ray: Katie, why is the turnaround so important in The Work? Is it because it shows us other possibilities than our own judgmental thoughts? Katie: Yes. It shows the mind what is as true or truer than the original thought. People usually find that the turnaround is as true or truer than the stressful thought…

Byron Katie on People’s Amazing Beliefs

Ray: What are some especially common stories and beliefs people realize they hold when they start doing The Work? Katie: When I say, “People shouldn’t lie—is it true? How many of you think that’s true?” everyone in a room of, let’s say, a thousand people will raise their hand. Then I say, “Do people lie?”…

Byron Katie on how The Work was born

Ray: Who were you when The Work was born, and who are you now? Katie: Who I believed myself to be was a hopeless case. I would wake up in the mornings, notice I was still breathing, and hate God for keeping me alive. I would constantly think of killing myself, but I had three…