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January 26, 2007

"The Work"

My aunt likes Byron Katie and a method of self-inquiry "based on four questions and a process called a "turnaround."

The four questions 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?

The fifth step is not a question, but a kind of "trying on" by turning the statement/belief around into it's opposite and interrogating this version with the same four questions.

(I'm guessing she made her own wikipedia entry :-), as it still needs to be "wikified" - brought into alignment with standard formatting.) I'm intrigued by a juxtaposition of language (in the form of internal, conscious thinking) and an assumed external "reality" of other people's subjectivities (based on the examples given at the wikipedia site).

I can relate to what she says about her life before "The Work": "...instead of seeing what was happening, I was placing conditions on what was happening..." Yes, this is familiar. :-) But, I'm skeptical of the assurance with which she asserts that there is a "what is" when it comes to other people and their perceptions, emotions, and interpretations of "reality."

Katie's formula opens up possibilities, certainly. It provides a way of testing and demonstrating the power of language to invoke different realities, by which I mean, realities different than those we have previously enacted. More precisely, her method is a means for altering one's own identity through a process of investigating how one understands "reality" and learning to make choices for interacting with the terrain.

Posted by Steph at January 26, 2007 10:56 PM


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