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,…

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 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 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…

Wayne Dyer: “There is no past.”

Ray: If you’re raised with pessimistic, negative beliefs—those very excuses you’re talking about—that’s your world. That’s your understanding of reality. So, in a fundamental way, abandoning those unhealthy beliefs means abandoning your life. That requires a real leap of faith, doesn’t it? Wayne: You’ve already abandoned everything you’ve ever known. All you have is now.…

Byron Katie on Questioning What You Believe

Ray: Does questioning your stressful thoughts—the process of inquiry—better support joy than trying to think joyful thoughts? Katie: By questioning our stressful thoughts, we come to see that they’re not true. And if we see that our stressful thoughts aren’t true—if we have questioned them deeply and thoroughly enough—what does that leave? It leaves love.…