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Who is Byron Katie?

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  • Written By: J. Beam
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 02 October 2014
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Byron Katie is a female author and inspirational speaker who teaches a method of self-improvement and discovery known as The Work, a process of self inquiry through which she teaches people to eliminate stress and negativity from their lives. Byron Katie, also known as just Katie, has also authored three books based on her method. In addition to speaking engagements and books, Byron Katie has developed a nine-day course known as The School for the Work. Byron Katie is married to Stephen Mitchell, a poet and translator, who co-authored two or her first three books.

The Work of Byron Katie began after Katie had spent a decade living in a state of severe depression. She had gone through many phases of depression, self-loathing, and even repeated thoughts of suicide, often finding it difficult to even get out of bed. In early 1986 Byron Katie had an epiphany, or a moment she calls “waking up to reality.” She discovered simple ways to change her way of thinking about the world around her and through a process of self-exploration and inquiry, changed the way she looked at the world.

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Making a complete recovery from the depression she had once suffered, Byron Katie began telling people how she had learned to release the anger, depression, and bad feelings within and learned to find joy and happiness instead. As she explained her method, more and more people began asking her to share what she had learned and she eventually began speaking publicly.

Over time, Byron Katie has turned her experiences into the full-blown process and publication known as The Work of Byron Katie. She applies her process of self-inquiry to all aspects of life from relationships to rejection to self-image, grief and loss, and even money. Though not associated with any religion, Byron Katie’s work centers around shifting people’s beliefs and thoughts. Still, Katie speaks at churches as well as schools, hospitals, prisons and women’s shelters delivering inspiration to those who seek it.

The Work of Byron Katie centers around four questions designed to lead people to explore any negative feeling or statement that burdens them and reach what she calls a “turn around” or new way of thinking. The four questions she asks are:

1. Is it true?
2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true?
3. How do you react when you believe that thought?
4. Who would you be without the thought?

For more information on The Work of Byron Katie, visit her website and personal blog where video clips and excerpts from her books and seminars can be found.

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