Byron Katie Tips and Tricks, Part Two (My Byron Katie Detox, Part Twelve)

The process is simple. It’s just four questions and the turnarounds. How many times have I heard you say this, Katie? Yet you know as well as I do that these aren’t just any four questions. And truth be told, there aren’t only four of them, either.

There are lots more.

In the many demonstrations of The Work that I’ve come across, Byron Katie often clarifies and enhances the process with additional questions and techniques. It’s okay, though, Katie. You’re allowed to reinforce your teachings. We appreciate that The Work is simplified for beginners, and we’ll handle the more intricate instructions as we feel ready.

We’re smart.

With that, here are some of the follow-up questions Katie often uses, plus other 200-level techniques I like.

Tips for Using the Four Questions and Turnarounds

1. Take your time. When asking whether or not the thought is true, get quiet. Meditate on the thought for a moment. Does your deepest intuition tell you the thought is true? Or is there a “no” that comes up, even if you don’t logically know why it does? The same goes for the other questions and the turnarounds. Be open to whatever ideas come up. As Byron Katie says, “The Work is meditation.”

2. As I said before, use the Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet (or my revised version). They’re full of helpful enhancements to the process, including a list of the three main ways to turn around a statement.

3. Follow up the question “How do you feel when you think that thought?” with “Can you find one stress-free reason to keep that thought?”

4. Follow up the question “Who would you be–how would you think and act differently–without that thought?” with “Can you find a reason to drop that thought?”

5. Turn each statement around to the self, to the other, and to the opposite. All thoughts can be turned to the opposite. (“Melody is rude” becomes “Melody is not rude.”) Thoughts about other people can be turned to yourself (“I am rude”). Thought about relationships can be turned around by switching the names. (Melody is rude to me” becomes “I am rude to Melody”). Thoughts about relationships can also be turned completely to the self (“I am rude to myself”) or completely to the other (“Melody is rude to herself”).

The Worksheet also lists two additional ways to turn around a statement. For “I don’t ever want to” statements, try substituting “I am willing to” and “I love forward to.” In this way, “I don’t ever want Melody to be rude to me again” becomes “I want Melody to be rude to me again” and “I look forward to having Melody act rude to me again.” Byron Katie explains these turnarounds like this: Negative thoughts are good for us. They bring us back to The Work. Also, it is very likely that even if you never experience the situation again, you will relive it in your mind many more times. By allowing that and dropping resistance to it, even welcoming it, your fear is lessened and you become open to the lesson the thought is trying to get across.

6. Don’t try to force a turnaround to feel true if it doesn’t. Try the possible turnarounds one by one and see how they fit, and if one doesn’t feel accurate or helpful, just move on to the next. No hard feelings.

7. Enhance the turnarounds with evidence. Turnarounds aren’t just the thought flipped around. They also include any other thought that provides evidence for the turnarounds. For example, “Jack is a nice person” will bring up examples of nice things he does or has done.

8. Ask yourself how the experience or situation might be the universe’s way of bringing about your your highest good. Or, as Byron Katie says, try “. . . counting the genuine ways that this unexpected event happened for me, rather than to me.” (–I Need Your Love: Is that true?: The Search For Love, Approval, And Happiness.)

9. When you can’t find good turnarounds regarding your behavioral actions, find the turnarounds in your thinking instead. For example, when turning around the statement “Melody is rude” try “I am rude to myself in my thinking” or “I am rude to Melody in my thoughts.” The very thought of the damage Melody seems to be doing in her behavior is doing damage to you. You can also try substituting “rude” for another similar quality you see in yourself, such as “I am judgmental toward Melody” or “I am unloving toward Melody.” Notice how similar you are to the other person.

Okay, so far nothing I’ve said contradicts Byron Katie’s advice in any way. But now I’m going to take a sharp left turn–commit Byron Katie sacrilege. I’m going to share my own version of the revered Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet. Not only that: I’m giving it a new name.

Here, a more complicated but more thorough worksheet for The Work that incorporates all of the tips and tricks in this compilation.

Filch as desired.

A Complete Revised Worksheet for The Work of Byron Katie

There are three main steps to The Work of Byron Katie. First, find the thought that is causing you pain. Then question the thought as directed. Then turn the thought around–find evidence for it’s opposite and discover what it’s trying to teach you about yourself.

Step One: Find the Painful Thought

Painful thoughts are thoughts that judge a person or a situation unfavorably, causing negative emotion.

First, identify who or what you judge to be your problem.

Is your problem (apparently) an undesirable situation or event, or is it the undesirable behavior of another person? Move to the relevant section below. (Note that if the thought appears to be about yourself, it can and should be reworded to be about a situation instead. For example, “I am lazy” can be “I have a problem with laziness” and “I feel depressed” can be “I am experiencing depression frequently.”)

Thoughts Concerning a Situation or Event

1. What situation or event angers, confuses, saddens, or disappoints you and why?
I feel (emotion) because (situation).

2. How do you want the situation or event to change? What would you prefer instead?
I want (action/change).

3. What is it about this situation or event that you don’t ever want to experience again?
I don’t ever want to experience (emotion and/or action).

4. What does this situation or event say about you? What is the hidden meaning behind it?
This situation shows that I am (descriptor). This situation means that (hidden fear).

5. What difference would it make if you got what you wanted in this situation or event?
If I got what I wanted, I would feel (emotion). If I got what I wanted, I would experience (result).

6. What is the worst thing that could result from this situation or event?
Due to this situation, I could experience (result).

7. If your emotion about this situation or event was a small child, what would it be screaming out?
My (emotion) would be screaming out (unrestrained illogical conclusions).

Choose the thoughts from your list above that deeply resonate and do steps two and three with each.

Thoughts Concerning Another Person

1. Who angers, confuses, saddens, or disappoints you and why?
I feel (emotion) with (person) because (reason).

2. In this situation, how do you want them to change? What do you want them to do?
I want (person) to (action).

3. In this situation, what advice would you offer to them?
(Person) should/shouldn’t (action).

4. In order for you to be happy in this situation, what do you need them to think, say, feel, or do?
I need (person) to (action).

6. What is it about this person’s actions that you don’t ever want to experience again?
I don’t ever want to experience (emotion and/or action).

7. What does this person’s behavior say about you? What is the hidden meaning behind it?
This situation shows that I am (descriptor). This situation means that (hidden fear).

8. What difference would it make if the person acted the way you wanted them to?
If (person) acted as I prefer, I would feel (emotion). If (person) acted as I prefer, I would experience (result).

9. What is the worst thing that could result from this person’s behavior?
(Person) could cause (result).

10. If your emotion about this person was a small child, what would it be screaming out?
My (emotion) would be screaming out (unrestrained illogical judgments and descriptors).

Choose the thoughts from your list above that deeply resonate and do steps two and three with each.

Step Two: Question the Thought

Slowly, carefully answer the following questions about your painful thought, whatever kind of thought it is.

1: Is it true?

2: Can you absolutely know that it’s true?

3a: How do you react—what happens—when you believe the thought?

3b. Can you find one stress-free reason to keep the thought?

4a: Who would you be without the thought?

4b. Can you find a reason to drop the thought?

Step Three: Turn the Thought Around

Finally, find evidence for the opposite of your statement and discover what your negative beliefs can teach you about yourself.

1. Turn the thought around to the opposite. For example, “Melody is rude” becomes “Melody is not rude.”

2. Turn the thought around to yourself. For example, “I am rude.”

3. Turn the thought around to your thinking. For example, “I am rude in my thinking.”

4. If the thought is about another person, turn it around by switching the names. For example, “Melody is rude to me” becomes “I am rude to Melody.”

5. If the thought is about another person, turn it completely to the self. For example, “I am rude to myself.”

6. If the thought is about another person, turn it completely to the other person. For example, “Melody is rude to herself.”

7. If the thought is about another person’s negative quality, turn it around by finding similar qualities you see in yourself. For example, “I am selfish when I . . .” or “I am impatient when I . . .”

8. If the thought begins with “I don’t ever want to,” turn it around by replacing that phrase with both “I am willing to” and “I look forward to.”

9. For each turnaround that resonates, find three pieces of evidence for the truth of the thought. For example, “Melody is always nice to my children,” “Melody is always nice to her children,” and “Melody was nice to our waitress.”

10. Finally, ask yourself how the experience or situation might be the universe’s way of bringing about your your highest good. If you do nothing else on this worksheet, ask this question.

Bonus Step: Ask yourself again: Is it true?

Read the rest of the series at My Byron Katie Detox: One Year of Questioning My Unhelpful Thoughts.

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