Byron Katie became severely depressed in her early thirties. For almost a decade she spiraled down into rage, self-loathing, and constant thoughts of suicide; for the last two years she was often unable to leave her bedroom.
Then one morning in February 1986, she experienced a life-changing realization. There are various names for an experience like this. Katie calls it “waking up to reality.”
In that instant, she says,
I discovered that when I believed my thoughts, I suffered, but that when I didn’t believe them, I didn’t suffer, and that this is true for every human being. Freedom is as simple as that. I found that suffering is optional. I found a joy within me that has never disappeared, not for a single moment. That joy is in everyone, always.
She realized that what had been causing her depression was not the world around her, but the beliefs she’d had about the world. Instead of hopelessly trying to change the world to match her thoughts about how it should be, she could question these thoughts and, by meeting reality as it is, experience unimaginable freedom and joy. As a result, a bedridden, suicidal woman was instantly filled with love for everything life brings.
The Work, Katie’s process of self-inquiry, didn’t develop from this experience; she says that it woke up with her, as her, that February morning in 1986. The first people who did The Work reported that it had transformed their lives, and she soon began receiving invitations to teach the process publicly.
Since 1986, she has brought The Work to millions of people across the world, at free public events, in prisons, hospitals, churches, corporations, universities, schools, at weekend workshops, at her amazing nine-day School for The Work, and through the Institute for The Work.
“ Feza has the great ability and unconditional life to serve. I met her when my husband did not have a job and we were almost getting divorce. Now he has a job and we are together. It was Feza’s kindness, patience, understanding and commitment to service caused a big difference in my life. Now she is far away from where I am and she left The work with me in my life. That was the biggest gift I have ever received and thank so much for showing into my life.”