April 25, 2007

Ask a Facilitator

Do you have questions about The Work of Byron Katie? Whether you are a facilitator yourself, have been using inquiry for awhile or are just learning, you may have specific questions about...well, about the specific questions! I would love to help you out if I can, so please address your questions to me at carol (at) clearlifesolutions.com. If I have a good answer I'll publish it in the Transformational Inquiry newsletter (subscribe here).

Hi Carol,

I have a question I hope you can shed some light on. In
Loving What Is on page 59 (paperback edition), there is an example from Marisa: "I look forward to feeling my happiness depends on somebody loving me." I guess this is the turnaround to number 6. In the context of her example, what does this mean, since Katie has already pointed out that individuals are responsible for their own happiness?

Thanks, Carol.


Dear J.,

Yes, that is a #6 turnaround ("I am willing to..." "I look forward to...") and correct, we are responsible for our own happiness, but only if we want to be happy! You could wait a long time for someone else to do it for you...your entire life, maybe.

In this example from Loving What Is, Marisa was coming to the end of her inquiry on her husband's affair. She had approached the stage very upset and believing she had been irreparably wronged. This is a great example of how to do The Work on a situation that everyone would agree is very difficult.

The "I look forward" part is about embracing all that is, and that includes any and all mechanisms of the mind that we continue to find disturbing after doing The Work. This turnaround for statement 6 on the Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet opens us to life and thought as they unfold. "I look forward to feeling my happiness depends on somebody loving me" because it could happen, I could experience that feeling again. If I do, and it hurts, it means I have work to do. I look forward to seeing what's left for me to bring back to inquiry. Every stressful thought arises so that I can question the mind and come to know my truth.

For more about The Turnaround to Number 6, see pages 102-103 of Loving What Is.


Dear Carol,

I attended The School for The Work and I have a facilitation question. When I'm sharing The Work of Byron Katie, some people get hung up on Question 4 ("Who would you be without this thought?") in the following way: if they have a thought that contains practical information, they do not want to go to "life without the thought" because they fear that doing so will open them up to harmful inaction (e.g. if I did not have the thought "I have cancer," then I would not seek medical attention).

Do you know of a simple, effective way to keep The Work on track in this kind of situation?

Many thanks,

Dear H.,

Your example is what I like to call a "yeahbut," a way of staying in the story. It comes from the fear that if we didn't believe the thought, we wouldn't take care of ourselves, we'd be a doormat, we'd be delusional and living in la-la land.

Oftentimes if I sense resistance before we hit question 4, I'll ask, at the end of question 3, "What is the worst thing that could happen if you no longer believed this thought?" or "What do you fear would happen if you didn't live out of this belief?" Then I ask the client to turn the fear around to see if it could be as true or truer. ("If I didn't believe this thought, I wouldn't go to the doctor. If I didn't believe this thought, I would go to the doctor." Or, "If I did believe this thought, I wouldn't go to the doctor." Ultimately it's not about the thought, it's what we think it means; for instance, "If I have cancer, it means I'm going to die.")

In this way, by the time question 4 rolls around, the fear has been addressed which leaves them free to imagine living out of present-moment reality, rather than belief.

If it persists, I ask the question, "What would a clear mind do in the same situation?" (Some day I'll print up bumper stickers and tee shirts with "WWACMD"!) Some clients find it easier to answer question 4 from this perspective.

If the client doesn't want to be without the thought, it's okay for them to keep it; we simply proceed to the turnaround. Realizations come when they come...in questions 1-4, in the turnaround, or six months later in the shower.


Dear Carol,

Thanks SO much for your wonderful blog. I have enjoyed all your articles.

I am dealing with god-awful morning sickness "plus" due to pregnancy-I can't eat, can't keep anything down, feel sick on an empty stomach also. I can barely cope with working or taking care of my son. I had the same problem with my last pregnancy. How do I work this? I have tried various ways, but nothing seems to help. It is true that I feel miserable and while I want the pregnancy I do not love nausea and vomiting and cannot convince myself that I do.

Thanks for any pointers!


Hi M-t-B,

You can't force yourself to love your pregnancy-induced nausea. Doing The Work with this motive will leave you feeling unsatisfied and disconnected. I wouldn't go there.

For the love of truth, you could work on "Pregnancy shouldn't be nauseating" and see where it takes you. (Readers, try this with any physical symptoms: "I shouldn't have a headache," "I need to breathe freely." "My legs should not be paralyzed.") Instead of fighting with the sensations of nausea, try sitting with them in meditation as you hold the question, "Is it true?" It could be lovely, as you embrace your sweet self as you would a colicky little baby.

Who would you be in the presence of nausea and vomiting if you couldn't believe it shouldn't be there? How would you take care of yourself...of your son...without this thought?

You can also use inquiry to loosen some of that mortar holding the brick of that central belief in place. "I can't take good care of my son" (and it means that....). "I can't work when I'm sick." "I need to eat now."

What do you fear would happen if you didn't believe you shouldn't be nauseated?


©2007 by Carol L. Skolnick. All rights reserved.

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