Can you see that the opposite of what you are thinking might also be true? As strange as this might sound, this practice of questioning my thoughts has been a game changer. Believing our thoughts is what causes us pain. It’s liberating to understand that my stressful thoughts aren’t even true. In fact, our thoughts are just thoughts, like clouds in the sky, passing by. Most aren’t true. The positive thoughts don’t cause us pain though, so we don’t really need to work with them. Our stressful thoughts though, they are another story.
Byron Katie developed a process to transform our thinking called The Work which is made up of four questions. It goes like this. Take any thought you are having that is bothering you, for example: “He is so critical of me.”
Question no. 1: Can you absolutely know that its true? This is a yes or no question. In this case, “He is so critical of me”, my answer would be no, as I have to admit that I don’t really know what he thinks of me, and he certainly isn’t always critical of me.
Question no 2: How do you react when you believe that thought? I also like to notice what happens in my body, when I think the thought, “He is being so critical of me”. I notice that I feel constriction in my chest, and my lower belly gets heavy and my breathing is shallow. When I am with this person, I want to hide–I become small and quiet. And we just notice these sensations and how we show up in the world when we think this thought.
Question no. 3 is: Who would you be without this thought? I would feel light, expansive and feel a sense of energy pulsing in my arms.
Question no. 4 is the heart of the work–now we turn the thought around, and we find examples of how each of these turnarounds are also true. For example, the turn around might be: I am so critical of myself. Or: He is so critical of himself. Or: I am so critical of him. And I find an example of how each of these are true. For me the one that resonates the most (and often there is one) is this idea that I am so critical of myself. And I feel a huge release as I see this.
And wow, every time I work with a thought I find a renewed sense of lightness, hope, joy, and ease, This process of inquiry is not necessarily a quick fix, ultimately it requires us to come into a new way of thinking, where we realize that life is always happening for us. It encourages us to move towards our pain and discomfort with inquiry and love. Please try it, and see what happens for you. To download a worksheet with these questions, go to Byron Katie’s website: https://thework.com/ #innerwork #questionyourthinking #healing #innerpeace #lovingwhatis #freedomisyourbirthright
I am a Heart and Soul Eating Coach, yoga teacher, Somatic Experiencing practitioner in-training, and human rights lawyer. I can help you connect with the wisdom of your body to transform challenges around eating, digestion and body image. Such symptoms may include overeating, emotional eating, compulsive/binge eating, constant dieting or restrictions, excess weight, poor body image, digestive problems, fatigue, anxiety, or general life overwhelm. I have struggled with many of these issues myself, and I know the pain and suffering of abandoning ourselves. I also know there is another way, and it is my deep joy to guide clients back to their inner knowing. By using concrete tools, body-based practices, and wisdom teachings, I will help you address the root causes of your challenges, facilitate your body’s innate capacity for wholeness and joy, and create the sense of thriving that you desire. My approach embraces self-compassion, body love, and greater self-expression as tools for integration. I am certified as an eating psychology coach through the Institute for the Psychology of Eating. I have also been trained or practiced with experts in conscious parenting (Dr. Shefali) self-care (Suzi Lula) and the Conscious Leadership Group (Annmarie Chereso). I am currently completing the Somatic Experiencing training program, which is a body-based trauma healing modality.