5 Real-Life Lessons about Storytelling – 4 Changing Judgements

Become a benefactress of your lifeByron Katie - The Work on Changing Judgements

Be the curator of your mind by understanding how your mind engages in the different stories it tells. I highly recommend using The Work of Byron Katie to transform your relationship to your mind, by changing judgments that creep into it.

Doing the work is the simplest and best tool I have come across to grasp how the mind works and the stories it tells.

Even coming to terms with going bald worked for me

I used her Four Questions. These questions are about focussing on the thought you have that’s causing you stress.

Here they are in summary:

  1. Is it true? (Yes or no. If no, move to question 3. If yes – ask question 2)
  2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true? (Yes or no.)
  3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
  4. Who or what would you be without the thought?

What happened was this. I knew I had a bald patch forming on the top of my head. This felt quite shameful. Being a woman the vanity of not wanting to go bald was a terrible thought. My hair is my crowning glory isn’t it?

In doing the work, I slowly uncovered that it was my thinking that was stressful

I realised, that if I let go of the thoughts around going bald and sat and imagined that I was, I felt liberated. The worry went, slowly admittedly. When I let go of the thoughts that I shouldn’t go bald, that’s when I felt free. It was freedom from my thinking that gave me peace.

Then my imagination kicked in with all kinds of solutions 

I realised that I would:

  • Not be hampered by hair
  • Could wear different hats
  • Have different henna designs
  • In fact, I could be pretty funky

This was a surprise and a shock of a different kind. It would be a challenge, but I was no longer caught up in the fear and worry about it. In fact, I now looked forward to going bald. True! That’s the power of this work. It really transforms.

I first became introduced to it through a friend of mine who spoke about Byron Katie. I did her school of the work training about 10 years ago now. It was challenging, eye-opening and transformative.

For example, we used to go on morning walks, in silence before breakfast.

The purpose of this was to watch and listen to your mind as you walked. This is how the mind works, when there is nothing to distract it (key point – this is how it is all the time).

I walk mindfully for about 20 feet

Then my mind pops up and thinks about breakfast. I laugh, recognising its monkey ability to pop up. I return to focussing on walking. Peace descends. It’s simple, one foot in the front of the other. I notice birdsong, some traffic, the colour and shape of the buildings, then the sound of my walking and that of my silent companions.

I begin to feel awkward.

What are they thinking?

I wonder what the others are thinking and immediately the mind has started a story. I am worried they think I am weird (?? Go figure). I imagine what is going on in other people’s minds. What a nosy person I am – I notice. Then I catch myself, I have started another story and all I am doing is walking!

“Katie shows us that life beyond suffering is possible and can take each reader’s mind home to its unique, immeasurably precious self.”   Martha Beck

That’s how the mind works

It starts on a little thing, which grows and before you know it, it’s turned into a huge story. Sometimes, it takes you down many different rabbit holes, or it’s looping round and round without any hope of a resolution.

It’s the same with whatever is going on in your life

One of the things Byron Katie talks about is noticing where you are and to notice what is actually going on, because what happens is we leap from one thought to another, slowly building a story in our minds. It is totally our perspective.

Then we make a judgment, we think we are right. We don’t question our perspective. Though we notice our emotions have become a bit jumpy, the mind has triggered that movement inside us. Now we discover that stress is taking a hold of us.

Instead of coming back to what is happening now.

You are either sitting, standing or lying down and breathing. Yes, it is that simple. I hear your buts… the ‘buts’ are the minds way of saying, hang on a minute, this is relevant, true, and you need to take notice.

This is not saying that if you are in danger, to just sit and breathe 

Or if you need to shop, prepare a meal, do some work, that you can’t, because it will cause stress. What causes stress is our thinking about the things we are doing or need to do, or the people we are with. Byron Katie explains it like this in her first book – I need your Love – Is that True? The preview says,

“In this groundbreaking book, Katie helps you question everything you have been taught to do to gain love, approval, and appreciation and shows you how this questioning brings real love and puts you in charge of your own happiness.”

Isn’t that what we all want?

The beauty of this way of stopping the endless stressful flow of stories we tell ourselves, is that we discover, that underneath all of it – is peace. Peace is who we are. I have tried doing the questions around feeling peaceful. To check if there was anything else. There isn’t. Try it for yourself and see.

Here’s a link to the work Byron Katie uses for changing the judgments and stories of our minds.


Follow her instructions – they are clear. Allow yourself to be brave. See what you think, however ridiculous or unkind or petty it is because in doing so, know two important things.

  1. We are all doing this all the time in some form or other. NO ONE is immune.
  2. You will liberate the stress and pain you feel and awaken to a stronger, truer version of yourself.

As Eckhart Tolle says about her work:

“Byron Katie’s Work is a great blessing for our planet. In Loving What Is, you have the key. Now use it.”
Regina Byrne

Lovely examples of your own thoughts and experience. I love Byron Katie’s work and this explains it very well.

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