Four Questions to Change Your Life With Byron Katie

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Katie: Hello and welcome to “The Wellness Mama Podcast.” I’m Katie from wellnessmama.com and I’m here today with Byron Katie, who you may have heard of. She is the author of many books including “Loving What Is,” “I Need Your Love – Is That True?” “A Thousand Names for Joy,” and, “A Mind at Home with Itself.” In 1986, she talks about this in our episode, but at the bottom of a 10-year spiral into depression, she woke up one morning in a state of joy and she realized that when she believed her stressful thoughts, she suffered, and then when she questioned them, she didn’t suffer. And she realized that this is true for every human being. Her simple and powerful process of inquiry, which she calls “The Work,” is a method of self-inquiry consisting of four questions and turnarounds, which are ways of experiencing the opposite of what you believe. She has been bringing “The Work” to millions of people for more than 30 years and has, like I mentioned, many books and websites related to this. I will link to all of those in the show notes at wellnessmama.fm if you are listening.

But, some really, really important takeaways and lessons in this episode about learning to come to peace with ourselves, how to move through suffering, and how doing this kind of work can help us in our relationships, in our parenting and even in our health because it shifts how we view ourselves. And she quotes, I love, from her are things like, “It’s not your job to like me, it’s mine,” or, “Don’t believe everything that you think.” And one about putting personal responsibility, “Placing the blame or judgment on someone else leaves you powerless to change your experiences. Taking responsibility for your beliefs and judgments gives you the power to change them.” We delve into those ideas and many more. So, without further ado, we join the wonderful Byron Katie.

Byron Katie, it is a pleasure to have you on today. Welcome to the podcast.

Byron: Thank you.

Katie: I’m sure most people listening are probably familiar with your work and your story. But for those who aren’t, I love your story and would hope that you would be willing to tell it a little bit because I know when I first encountered your work, I thought that you kind of just must’ve always had it all together. And then when I heard your story I was even more amazed. So can you walk us through how you came to be the Byron Katie that we all now know?

Byron: Oh my gosh. Through a moment of grace I can certainly say that, but after more than a decade of deep suffering, depression, agoraphobia, suicidal, painful to even breathe. I woke up in the morning and thought I was awake again. But the kind of depression that I wouldn’t want anyone in this world to suffer. We’ve all suffered in our own way and it’s enough, whatever it is, pain is pain. But one day as I lay sleeping on the floor, because I didn’t believe I deserved a bed to sleep in. My self-esteem was so low. And as I lay sleeping on the floor, actually a cockroach crawled over my foot. I was in this dead sleep. And I open my eyes and all of the suffering was gone. I saw in that moment that when I believe my thoughts I suffered, but when I didn’t believe them I didn’t suffer. And it was shown to me so clearly. And what actually, what I can describe is I woke up and before the ego could intervene with anything, there was that space where there was, without identification, there was that space where the ego couldn’t interrupt. In that space, I saw how my world was created and it shifted, of course, from identity. You know, I’m a mother, I’m a wife, I’m a grandmother, you know, all these identifications. I’m happy, I’m sad, all of that, it went from that to this life that is… Oh gosh, you know, it’s… The important thing that came out of it is I saw that when I believed my thoughts I suffer and when I don’t believe my thoughts I don’t suffer. And I’ve come to see this is true for every human being and it doesn’t leave us, not believing our thoughts, it doesn’t leave us as like a crazy human being. It’s all the room in the world for wisdom to live. In other words, wisdom meaning everything makes sense. I see everything out of the kind of awareness that is such a freedom that, of course, I would want that for every human being. And I think that freedom is a birthright and for me that’s the absence of suffering, and living out of a mind that is clear enough that our choices are kind. So, you know, that was kind of the long version. But that’s about it.

Katie: That’s incredible. So in that moment, you really were just able to feel that shift and then to move forward from that place.

Byron: It was, you know, the first sound that came out of what I could refer to as this new life from suffering to non-suffering, the first sound that came out was laughter. And it was just like born out of that laughter. It was like, “Oh my gosh, why didn’t someone tell me it was so simple?” It was like I got the joke. And then I stood up and just started walking and haven’t stopped.

Katie: That’s incredible. And you’ve done a little bit more than walk. You’ve now helped thousands and thousands of people and it’s so beautiful the way that you do that. Let’s talk a little bit more about this radical approach to stopping suffering and what you call The Work. Because I think people who are in any of those phases like what you described that you went through or any phase of whatever their suffering would be, it can seem so impossible, I think, sometimes or certainly anyone who is navigating a trauma or a very acute thing, it’s easy to, kind of, get into this mindset that there’s no way to break through this, or it’s overwhelming, or etc. And I love, I’ve read a lot of different articles and books and listen to podcasts with you where you address this so beautifully. But walk us through, kind of, your approach to suffering and how you work with others on this.

Byron: Well, you know, we have memories and I invite people to go back to situations that occurred to them that where they feel guilty or angry, you know, the absence of suffering as those memories come to us. And I invite people not to try to get rid of them or ignore them but to welcome them. You know, here they come, we may as well, we’ve tried to fight them off but to actually welcome them. And then identify into that situation where we were suffering, just to be there now in that past, just to meditate there as though it were happening now, to get that close to it. And then I invite people to identify what they were thinking and believing while in that situation. What were you thinking and believing in that time of…in that situation? So and then I ask them to write their thoughts down. And I have a form for that and it’s always free on byronkatie.com. But I call it Judge-Your-Neighbor worksheet. So there are six questions on it, and as you’re sitting, as you’re meditating in that stressful situation, just to fill in the worksheet filling in every question. Like the first one is who or what…in that situation, who angers, confuses, hurts, or saddens, then you choose the emotion, or disappoints you and why?

So it might be, I’m sad because my mother always loved my sister more than me. You know, it can be anything from trivia to horrendous, but I would just write that down. And then I meditate in that situation again, I stay there. And the next question on the worksheet is, in this situation, how do I want that person to change? What do I want him or her to do? And then I want… And then I meditate in that. I’m in that situation, what did I want from that person. Let’s say my mother said, “No, you can’t have it. That’s your brother’s. ” And I want my mother to treat me equally to my brother. I want my mother to love me. Whatever you are experiencing there. And so then there are five more questions to fill in. And that’s it.

Now, in Buddhism, there are Four Noble Truths. And the first one is there is suffering in the world and I think we can all agree to that. And then the second Noble Truth is there is a cause of this suffering. But the cause of this suffering is what we’re thinking and believing in any given situation, and if it’s stressful. And so this Judge-Your-Neighbor worksheet takes care of that. There’s the cause of suffering. And then the third Noble Truth is that there is a way out of the suffering. And so the next thing would be to question the thoughts that I have written down on the worksheet. And so now I’m dealing with the cause of my suffering in that situation. And the fourth Noble Truth is here’s how. And I’ve just described, you know, meditating and my mother loves my brother more than she loves me. And just meditating in that, and asking myself, “Is it true? And can I really know that it’s true?” And so I meditate there. And then I notice in this situation how I react when I believe the thought. And so I’m meditating there and I see how I reacted. I’m in touch with what I said, I’m in touch with my attitude, my breathing, any physical stress, my emotions. So I see how I reacted when I believed the thought. And the thought, again, we’re dealing with the cause of all my suffering in that situation. It cannot be my mother or my brother. It cannot be anything in the outside world that is the cause of my suffering. It’s what I’m thinking and believing about the world, people, myself, others that is the cause of my suffering. So then that…the fourth question, who would I be in that situation? Who would I be without the thought? She loves my brother more than she loves me.

And so each of these questions, filling in the worksheet and the four questions, it’s a meditative state of mind. It takes stillness. And it’s incredibly liberating. And so it is changing lives all over the world and I don’t call it The Work for nothing. It’s difficult for people to get still enough to just meditate in these situations in the past that we don’t want to. We don’t want them in our heads. We don’t want them in our minds, but with this Work, I… You know, until I love my thoughts, I can’t love people or the world because it’s what we’re thinking and believing about the world that makes up our identity. So I hope answering your question is not too much for people to take in, but that’s the answer to your question.

Katie: I love that. And it seems like it shifts as a way from what we can’t control to what we actually do have the ability to take ownership and control which is our own reactions, our own emotions, the way we perceive things. And I know that’s pervasive in Buddhism and Stoicism and a lot of different types of religion as well. At the end of the day, that’s all we truly control is our own response.

Byron: Yeah, and waking up to reality like in the situation I described, waking up to reality is what I’m doing. And so it shifts my mother’s identification to my mind. It shifts my brother’s identification to my mind. And my identity has shifted. I’m a more understanding, loving, caring human being. I’m a more awake, a more enlightened human being. And then that work, just that one worksheet travels across the way I see everyone and everything, and not on purpose, it’s just I am more enlightened to the cause of all suffering. And identity considers the shift. And this is so important and I love your work too and it’s so beautiful. And the more enlightened the mind, the more effortless it becomes to make sane decisions having to do with the way we are with others. Our nutritional choices, our physical…let’s say our physical well-being, our exercises, our workouts, everything, everything. It changes everything. And because we are shedding the illusion, the nightmares that occurred to us in our waking and sleeping, our identities.

Katie: Yeah, I think that’s… You’re right, that’s so important. And it was something I think I largely didn’t fully grasp and also probably somewhat ignored for a lot of years, kind of, in my younger years where I was very focused on the health and nutrition side because that was my background. And so I had optimized all of those factors in my life and I still had Hashimoto’s, and I still had trouble losing weight, and I still had all these things that didn’t line up with the way that I was eating and living. And it wasn’t until I, kind of, did the work, to put it in your words, and went through those mental and emotional responses that things actually started changing and I realized, much like what you teach, that so much of our suffering is in our own judgments, our own responses, in our own heads. And I think when you learn to shift that perspective like you said, it also helps break free of those, kind of, if-then statements that so many of us have of, “Oh, if only I had lost the weight then I would be happy,” or, ” If only my kids did this, this, and this, then I would be happy,” or, “If only we had this much money, then we would be happy.” Or the excuses that sometimes come on the other side. For me, that was things like, “Oh, I can’t lose the weight because I have thyroid disease, or because I’ve had six kids, or because, because, because.” And I think that shift is so important to put us back in a place, like you said, of letting go of those things as being part of our identity and releasing that suffering instead of choosing it over and over.

Byron: Yeah, it certainly breaks all the patterns. The more enlightened we become, the more aware we become. The more we understand and, you know, meet our thinking with understanding, the clearer our choices in life are. They become effortless. You know, I was… When The Work found me, I was a very heavy smoker. And after this experience, I picked up a cigarette and just, you know, like as usual and… I was shocked at the insanity of it. And the way I experienced was, I looked, I could see my hand, I saw the cigarette and it was moving toward my face and it was like, “What! What, what, what?” It looked crazy. It looked insane. It’s like it made no sense. And the same happened for what I ingested, what I ate, what I drank. The smoking, it fell away because that’s how we are when we’re sane. And it is a journey.

Katie: Yeah, absolutely. I learned that, I think, in my own way as well that I couldn’t shame my body into being healthy. I couldn’t fight my body into being healthy. I could certainly not hate my body into being healthy. And once that internal shift happened, it became easy to choose the things that were nutritious for my body. I needed to choose to get enough sleep.

Byron: Yeah, it just makes sense because that the power of the past isn’t superimposed on our thinking as we’re making these choices, we’re clearer.

Katie: Another thing I love that I’ve read in your work is learning to love the way things are. And you explain this so beautifully, it resonates with me. There’s a Latin phrase “amor fati,” which means basically love the fate or love what is. And I love that idea because I think that’s another thing we can fall into is the idea that when things are going well then, of course, I’ll be happy or, you know, if this, this, and this then I’ll be happy. But the idea that truly even in the times where things don’t go “our way” that we should love what’s happening and be not just okay with it, but joyful and grateful and love it. And you talk about this more eloquently than I can as well but talk to us about how we can learn to love the way things are.

Byron: Well, for me, that involves, you know, if I’m in a situation that I don’t, you know, to use your word, that I don’t love, I understand it’s what I’m thinking and believing about the situation that leaves me in that state of mind. So for me, that would be a worksheet and then my shifts, let’s say I’m with that same person and, you know, close to that same situation and I see them entirely, you know, just differently and I see myself differently. And it’s, you know, just a matter of a saner state of mind. And actually, I lost your question. Would you ask it again? I lost it.

Katie: Sure, just the idea of how can we learn to make that shift into being…or loving where things are and being grateful for it rather than trying to fight it or change it?

Byron: Okay. So I can’t love it if I’m believing certain things about that. But if I’ve questioned them, I’m intimate with that like I was with cigarette. That was an intimate experience like I am with every human being in my life. If I am not connected to that person, then it would be filling in another worksheet and questioning the thoughts that I was thinking and believing about that human being. Because people are not the problem, what I am thinking and believing about the problem that I need to take a look at. And the same for situations, it’s not the situation that is the problem, it’s what I’m thinking and believing about it that is the problem. So I question those thoughts that I was thinking and believing. And, you know, I’ve come to see this as true for every human being. We believe what we think or we question it. There is no other choice. And if I don’t care about you, how can I care about me? And if I don’t care about me, how can… And I’m talking about authenticity, how can I care about you? So it’s a state of mind. You know, I used to say, you know, love thy neighbor as thyself. I always have. I hated me. I hated you.

Katie: It definitely, like so often, those things that show up in relationships, in a sense, are the projection of the things we maybe believe about ourselves. So I’m curious, how does… When someone starts to do this Work, how does that change our relationships and our partnerships? Because at least speaking for myself, I know it’s ironic and sad, but the people I love the most often have been the ones I tried the most to change or to get to do what I wanted. You know, like I think in our closest relationships, where we feel the most comfortable, we can sometimes be the most harsh maybe. So when you start to do this Work, how does that shift how you respond in those really close relationships in life?

Byron: Well, I would judge my partner, and write it down, and ask four questions, and turn it around, and take a good look at myself because I am who I believe you to be. Let’s say I’m having an argument with someone and I believe that they’re stubborn, or they’re this, or they’re that. And when I question my thoughts, they lose that identification and so I can hear them more clearly. I’m connected. I’m less judgmental. They’re a whole other human being. They’re not who I believed them to be. I am aware, authentically aware. So let’s say that person knocks on my door and I see them coming through the window. And I’m thinking, “Oh, not him again. Oh, you know, all he wants is da, da, da. And he just da, da, da,” and all these judgments, that’s who I meet at the door, that’s the human being I meet at the door. But if I have questioned my thoughts, the next day he comes, what I was thinking and believing about him, the next day he comes and I see him through the window and he is a whole different identity. And I am connected. You know, I haven’t met a human being that I haven’t connected with in, gosh, 34 years. It’s just amazing that it could be this simple and it is this way for people that have taken this practice on, this practice of inquiry. And, of course, that’s my invitation. It’s not the world that’s the problem, it’s what I’m thinking and believing about the world that could use a little work.

Katie: Isn’t that the truth? And I also always think of children when it comes to this as a mom, that’s where my mind often goes. And I know I’ve read some things that you’ve written about challenging people’s assumptions with their kids. And same is related is that true, this thing you believe about your children and what they might need from you. But I’m curious on a broad level, and then maybe we can dial down below that, how can we learn from this both in how we navigate our relationships with our children, but also in giving them a foundation to have this kind of healthier mindset going into adulthood? Because I know they say early psychology that so many of these, whether it be filters or beliefs come from our childhood. So knowing that as parents, how can we help our children to have a mindset of like letting go of that suffering as well?

Byron: By not suffering and by, you know, just not suffering ourselves and then listening to our children when they are suffering and not through an ego that says, “Oh, they shouldn’t suffer.” You know, any belief I would put on my child that would keep me from listening to my child when they were suffering anyway like their feelings were hurt at school or they got a poor grade on their test. You know, the children tease them, they don’t have any friends, you know, those kinds of things. And to just listen to my child and not try to change it or make it better. They love to be listened to. And I don’t jump in to change their minds. I just listen. And if I listen closely, I can, you know, I can say things like, “Oh, sweetheart, that sounds painful.” And, “How can I help? Can I do anything?”

Gosh, you know, I’m such a good listener. You know, I talk a lot, you know, on this interview and in my life I’m such a good listener. It’s such an intimate experience to not try to change another person’s point of view but to listen and grow from it and let those people be my teacher and not the other way around. I love that so much. You know, if you want to know what your children really think, what they really think, listen, listen and notice how often you want to jump in. And the only way I would… You know, I’d be, “How can I help?” Like listening, loving my child, and just noticing how can I help. And I can ask them and trust what they tell me to be my guidance. And the other part of that is to live the best life I can, the kindest life, the kindest life I can possibly live. I don’t think there’s a better example than that for our children.

Katie: I think you’re right. I think the idea of living without suffering, it’s like, if we start with ourselves then we come from such a better place to love others and to reduce the suffering of others. And that was the impetus for my own transformation over the last couple of years was realizing so many of these… Like the inner thoughts, the things I was saying to myself were things I couldn’t fathom saying to my worst enemy much less saying to my child. And I realized they were watching me and I couldn’t fathom the idea of them picking up on those things and them saying to themselves one day the things that I was saying in my head to myself, about myself. And that was what finally motivated me enough to figure out how to work through it was realizing I don’t want to pass on this prison of the mind to my children. I want to pass on being a good example of kindness, and love, and all the things that I want them to have in life. And as much as we wish we could just give to our children all those things and just magically let them have those things, all we can really do at the end of the day is to model that for them, to be an example of that and also to be there for them.

Byron: To be an authentic model for that. In other words, living a kind life is the authentic, you know, truly is the example. And it’s… You know, when I… My children were grown when The Work found me. And they were like me. You know, my mindset was more or less their mindset. And my way of life was more or less…you know, we had similar belief systems just from being raised by a mother like me. And so them being grown, when my mind shifted, my physical experience shifted radically. And as a result, because it was an authentic shift, they shifted also even as adults, they tested me every way in the world, I can say that in hindsight. But what they did was they came at me really hard. “Remember, mom, when you said… Remember, mom, when you did… Remember…” I mean, pushing every button potential button there was. And this connection of, I guess, the term unconditional love, and I call it just being a student, you know? They were my teachers. I’m the student now not the other way around. And so I could say they enlightened me. Any button I had, they did what they could to push. In other words, they kept bringing up the past. “Remember when you said… Remember when you did…” And, oh, it just brought me to my knees because the mind, my ability to lie, to exaggerate, to try to bend the truth because they witnessed my life. And it was… All I could do was listen, and weep, and it meant that they were right and make it right where I could. It was like starting over with all three of them. And to look at them today, we’re still basically of the same mind, the same… You know, we’re all in school together and I don’t give them The Work. I have never asked them, you know, “Would you like to do inquiry on…”

When one person shifts, the people in our lives begin to shift. It’s a beautiful thing. And, of course, that’s all happening internally. It’s a humble way to live, you know, if someone says, “Byron Katie, there’s something the matter with you.” You know, I just… First, I feel this great sense of gratitude and because they’ve pointed me to something that maybe is true and so I look to myself. You know, there is something the matter with me or there is something wrong with you, Byron Katie. What is wrong with me? So that’s information. And if I can see something’s wrong with me, I can make it right. And if I can’t see where something was wrong with me I can ask that person, “Okay, here you say there’s something wrong with me and I just did this quick look at myself and I can’t seem to find it. Would you help me out here?” And, “Where is it that I was wrong or I am wrong? Be specific with me. I really need your help,” because that person holds the key to something I missed. How can I be whole if there is something I missed. So, you know, this is… I call it Earth School and everyone is here to enlighten me. It’s certainly not the other way around.

Katie: That’s a beautiful way to think of it. And perhaps that actually is the same answer to this question that I’m going to ask now, which is there’s so much going on in society right now and perhaps maybe the answer is also that we need more listening and we need to all become a student of others. But I’m curious if you think beyond that, is there anything that we can do, obviously, each only in our own lives but to start to ease some of the, kind of, turmoil and suffering that seems to be so prevalent right now?

Byron: So when you say that, what did you have in mind like specifically? The Black Lives Matter? The shift in police protocol, what do you…? What comes to your mind when you ask me that?

Katie: I think certainly those, and I think those in my mind are almost symptoms or layers of maybe a division that I’ve been noticing for a long time which even among…I mean, my community is largely moms. And I see this quite a lot where moms will argue so heatedly online about certain issues that they disagree on. And I always struggle with that thinking like as moms, we agree actually on so much, and we all love our children, and there’s so much common ground that we have. But yet, we always seem to focus and argue on those little things and it causes these big divisions. So maybe the bigger issue is all of this division in society that, kind of, seems to escalate especially online into people being unkind to each other or not listening, certainly, or contributing to the suffering of others.

Bryon: You know, anything someone might put on my, let’s say, Instagram or something or…I don’t know, anything. I would just look to myself. I wouldn’t want to go to war with that person. I would just look to myself. And everyone has a right to what they believe. I can’t stop someone from believing what they’re believing. That’s their property. I look at what I’m believing. And it just doesn’t matter. Those people are here to grow me. And so that really takes the negative out of the world. You could say I’m living in a positive world because what I used to perceive as unkind is a kindness, and I’m talking about my own life. Now when I look at the lives of others, and when they’re hurt. They are hurt and there’s no denying that. But I work with my own hurt and I think we’re all… I don’t think… It’s like this runs in me.

Every human being, when you consider what we’re thinking and believing, we’re doing the best that we can. And of that, I’m sure, out of my own experience, but when we consider what we’re thinking and believing, just prior to saying something hurtful or doing something hurtful, you know, that we ourselves consider hurtful, when I look at what I was thinking and believing just prior to doing that action, then I really had no choice. So for me, it’s just any act of unkindness coming out of me is a lack of clarity. And so I just, I look at what I was thinking and believing about that human being that would cause me to speak to them that way or see them that way, to see them as anything less than beautiful. You know, because that cost me an intimate experience with the human race and that’s against my nature. And the reason I say it’s against my nature is because anything less than that feels like stress, and stress is a reminder for me to look at myself and question what I’m thinking or believing about that situation and not with the intention of changing my mind but for the love of truth.

Katie: Yeah, I think that’s such an important shift. And I think something I’m still on the journey of learning myself and especially in the online world, I’m sure you…with those comments as well, that’s a lovely perspective shift. I think of it as like what is this teaching me? And just again, looking inward and why am I having this reaction? And how can I be kind, and loving, and have an intimate experience with this human being even if I don’t agree with them? Because I think there’s this lie in modern society that if we don’t agree with someone or we had these differences, we can’t love them, or respect them, or model… Love and respect in a beautiful relationship with them. And I’ve said before that I think that’s one of the things we most need right now is examples of that, we don’t have to agree, like you said, what they believe is their business and I’ve had to learn that as well, like other people’s opinion of me is none of my business. I can only control the inside of me but I think there’s just right now so much… You see, inside, the desire of people wanting to be right or to prove they’re right. And I wonder, do you think that all goes back to like a struggle or a desire for love and approval? Do you think like often that can go hand-in-hand of…?

Byron: Well, you know, it would be… I do, out of what I hear you say. Like I do, but if I don’t love and care about me, then how can I expect others to love and care about me? And if I don’t love and care about you, there’s not a lot of self-love here. So I look to myself when there’s a lack of connection. I don’t expect people to connect with me. Do I connect with people? That’s my journey.

Katie: I love that.

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And to shift gears a little bit, I’d love to talk about the health side a little bit. A lot of people listening to this have a health focus for whatever reason, sometimes it’s a specific health condition or just wanting to live a healthy life. I love how you spoke at the beginning about how, you know, when you shifted into this place, those things become naturally easier because you want to support and love your body and those choices become easier. But I hear from so many people who seem to be, kind of, stuck in this cycle of different health problems and then the stress of that and then it almost seems like a snowball at times. It leads to more health struggles and I certainly hear from many people who don’t have a lot of hope there. And certainly, not to minimize, there are people who have stage IV cancer, there are people who have very serious, what would be considered medical health issues. And I’ve heard you speak about this a little bit before, but I’d love to speak specifically to those people. Like, is there any other difference or additional steps that they can take to help make that shift when it seems like they have maybe a little bit bigger of a hurdle to work through to move past the suffering?

Byron: Is this close to your question, like if someone is ill and maybe they have like a cancer, a diagnosis of cancer and they’re in the last stages of cancer. And it does not stop someone from having a happy life or I’ll just put it on myself. There was, for some reason, at one point, my body started shutting down, and eventually, the five major organs, the heart, the kidneys, the liver, the lungs, they were all shutting down. And the doctors didn’t know why and they didn’t know how to stop it. And they were doing everything that they could to stop these things from shutting down. They didn’t know the cause and they didn’t know what to do about it. And the concern from the doctors, and the nurses, and the…it was extraordinary. These people that had never met me. Their concern, their work around that, it was… But for me, I was having a life that was equal to all of my days. It just…

The absence of suffering is the effect of a sane mind. And to my experience, I have a right, we all do, to love our life up to what seems like the last moment of our life. And anyone hearing this right now, this is the last moment of your life. It just always is the last moment of your life. Where’s the quality? Where is the happiness? Where’s the joy? The absence of suffering leads that nature that we really are and the only… The difference between me and those doctors was a state of mind. They cared more about my life. I cared nothing for it. Gosh, I don’t know how odd that sounds. But my state of mind, that’s it. The lack of me-mindedness, the absence of me-mindedness, like who am I to say it’s not my time to die? You know, how arrogant. I live out of this don’t-know mind, but I don’t want to miss it. Let’s say I did die on that hospital bed. I died happy. And right now, talking to you, this…it’s like my deathbed. There’s no difference between this mind then and this mind now. Oh gosh, I don’t know how weird this sounds, sweetheart, but I just cannot live out of this state of gratitude. It’s a given, just like a state of suffering is a given. We believe our thoughts, we suffer. We question them and it shifts everything. It shifts the world as we understand it to be.

And so I would just say to anyone that is… You know, to take a look. Let’s say if you had the thought, I want my body to be healthy, and beautiful, and flexible, or I want my body to be young, and beautiful, and healthy, or I want my thinking, my thoughts to be lovely, and beautiful, and healthy, what would you choose if you had to make a choice? Well, it’s always the mind, and we’re so concerned with our physical bodies that we…it matters more than our state of mind to some of us. Whereas the opposite will get us somewhere. And as we’ve already shared together, as the mind shifts, we’re kinder to our children. Our choices are saner around the physical body’s welfare. Yeah, you know, I only know one way and it was to be this free because it was a given. And so it’s, kind of, my job to pass it on when I’m invited. And we all, so many of your listeners out there, you know, there are 12-step programs. There’s Buddhism, there’s mindfulness, there’s all these beautiful, beautiful religions. And all these beautiful, beautiful ways to find peace, and I don’t know any religion that I’m aware of that inquiry wouldn’t add to and support. And as long as that religion is about kindness and, you know, if that’s what a person is seeking, the end of suffering, that’s a kindness. So, sweetheart, that’s, you know, I only know to invite people to inquiry. And this is Earth School and there are many ways.

Katie: I think that’s a beautiful starting point and also a beautiful point to start to wrap up this podcast. But for many people listening, who I would guess are very intrigued and want to maybe continue to learn from you, where do you recommend the ball of your work, and your books, and your website, the best place for them to start?

Byron: You know what? On my website, byronkatie.com or thework.com it’s the same, I do on Monday through Thursday at 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time, I just, kind of, hang out with people for an hour and we, you know, it’s… So I invite people to that. And on thework.com, there’s Judge-Your-Neighbor worksheet that I pointed to earlier. It’s always free. And they can just click on that and there’s nothing to sign up for or agree to, nothing, you just can push print and print it out. And there’s also one that you can do online. And it’s an opportunity to look back at a situation that you feel…you know, an argument with someone where you said or did something that you feel guilty over. It’s an opportunity to identify the cause of… You know, I think I’m being repetitious. Yeah, it’s byronkatie.com, thework.com, and that hour on At Home with Byron Katie, 9:00 through 10:00. And yeah, honey, I think that’s it, how to do The Work. It’s always free on thework.com, byronkatie.com.

Katie: And I’ll make sure those are linked for any of you who are listening while you’re driving or doing something else at wellnessmama.fm as well as links to all of your books, so people can find those and keep learning. But it truly was a pleasure to get to connect with you and to learn from you today. And I’m really appreciative of all that you shared and the work that you do with so many people.

Byron: Thank you, thank you. And thank you for your good work and for the privilege of hanging out for a while. Thank you.

Katie: Oh, thank you. And thanks to all of you, as always, for listening, for sharing your valuable time with both of us today. We’re so grateful that you did and I hope that you will join me again on the next episode of “The Wellness Mama Podcast.”

If you’re enjoying these interviews, would you please take two minutes to leave a rating or review on iTunes for me? Doing this helps more people to find the podcast, which means even more moms and families could benefit from the information. I really appreciate your time, and thanks as always for listening.