An Interview with Byron Katie, author of The Work
Ray: But why do so many people feel as if they are sad or suffering?
Katie: If your beliefs are stressful and you question them, you come to see that they aren’t true — whereas prior to questioning, you absolutely believe them. How can you live in joy when you’re believing thoughts that bring on sadness, frustration, anger, alienation, and loneliness? When you believe those thoughts, you think that the world is making you unhappy. But it’s your thoughts about the world that are making you unhappy.
Ultimately, there’s no one who can teach you except yourself. Each of us needs to look at what our belief system really consists of. Look at the concepts that come across your mind and just notice what you believe.
Ray: Some people may struggle to disengage the intellect. How do you undo thinking without thinking? Isn’t inquiry a thought engaging itself, or deconstructing another thought?
Katie: Actually, it’s mind seeing through itself and understanding itself. I like to say that understanding is the power. Without intellect, there’s no story and no world.
The moment it begins to question itself, the mind becomes so clear that it starts working with itself rather than with the body’s identification.
Ray: You don’t use Positive Affirmations though. Why not?
Katie: You can never make yourself believe that you’re lovable, however hard you try. Notice – when the chips are down, what you really believe rises to the surface of the mind to replace what you want to believe. So, after years of “I am lovable, I am lovable,” when your husband lies to you or your mother is rude, the underlying thought “I’m unloveable” overrides all your positive affirmations. What we really believe is what we manifest. What we believe, we see. So, we cannot see what we don’t believe.