Last week I attended an inspiring workshop with Byron Katie. The honesty and vulnerability of people who shared their life conditions were quite moving. I was particularly impressed with Katie’s incredible optimism and humor when dealing with disturbing and sad life stories. She spoke to the participants with such skill and love that I, as probably most in the room, got to a place of deep compassion and hope. I left the workshop feeling energized and changed.
Doing The Work
I read Byron Katie’s book, Loving What Is, several years ago and have shared her work with clients since then. Visit her website www.thework.com or watch her in action on YouTube. She is a very gifted facilitator and joyful presence. For those of you not familiar with her work, she developed a worksheet called “Judge Your Neighbor” (available on her website for free). It is a powerful tool for uncovering deeper truths about your (perceived) life conditions. The Four Questions provide the window to your beliefs; the limited thinking you hold is evident from the narratives of your stories.
It was clear that doing The Work, answering those four questions for any and all painful, disturbing thoughts you have, was a meditative practice. Holding your thoughts out for examination, objectively viewing it apart from your ego-hold that tries to defend its position, you can shift into non-attachment. In this meditative, ‘witnessing’ way, you peel apart the ego-truth from the deeper truth of your life.
Belief in a Friendly Universe
What I found so striking in her workshop was how deeply spiritual her work is. It comes from the fundamental belief that the Universe is loving and supportive. She held passionately to the belief that our true nature is love and kindness. When we strip away all the stories, beliefs, monkey-mind chatter, and ego-defense mechanisms, we are at our core loving beings. Katie reminded us that no one wants to hurt another when they are connected to their true nature. It’s our stories, our beliefs, our mistaken ego-truths that block our true nature from coming forth. And in paying attention to our stories rather than our inner truth and true nature, we act out of fear, pain, suffering. Her work is grounded in the belief that you are always supported in your life, no matter how the circumstances may appear. Her process reminded me of the saying, “Fear is just False Evidence Appearing Real”.
When we get to that deeper core of love and kindness, we act out of our true nature. In that journey to our core, we find compassion for ourselves, for others in our life, and for our past pain. We then find forgiveness, comfort, strength and hope to face our life conditions and do what we need to do to transform our life. Her process is so powerful because it shows that anyone can find the gift in their life condition, no matter how sad, painful, challenging or disturbing it may appear.
For more resources, see our Library topic Spirituality in the Workplace.
Linda is an author, speaker, coach, and consultant. Go to her website www.lindajferguson.com to read more about her work, view video clips of her talks, and find out more about her book “Path for Greatness: Spirituality at Work” The paperback version is available on Amazon. The pdf version of Path for Greatness is available for download from her website. ALSO, Linda’s new book, “Staying Grounded in Shifting Sand” is now available on her website.