Byron Katie is one of those great figures in personal development who has made an impact on millions of lives.
Byron Kathleen Reid grew up in Barstow, California, 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles. She had an uneventful early life, dropping out of university to marry her boyfriend and raise three children. Then, after the marriage faltered and she divorced, she married into another bad marriage. It was the start of a decline into addictions, anger, overeating, and misery that resulted in constant thoughts of suicide.
In 1986 she ran away to a halfway house, where the other residents found her moods so terrible that none would share a bedroom with her and she was asked to sleep in the attic.
One morning, it all changed when she had an insight into her suffering. She realised her beliefs caused her misery, not the world “out there”.
From this insight she developed The Work, a method of simple inquiry that detaches a person from their harmful beliefs. She began to tell neighbours about the change, and to get a following. She has spoken in front of psychologists and academics – always in pursuit of the simple questions that make life worth living.
To date, through her website, books and seminars, she has helped millions overcome misery and sadness just as she has, and is one of those people who will be remembered as an extraordinary agent of change.
“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.”
“Byron Katie is a true original and one of the great figures of self help. Through insights into her own suffering, she has helped millions of others through theirs. For this reason, she will be remember as one of the great transformative leaders.” – Bernardo Moya