The Work by Byron Katie #4 – Who or What Would You Be Without the Thought?

Written by: Jorinde Berben
Image credit:

Today, I want to dive straight into the 4th question in Byron Katie’s The Work (see her full website here). The fourth and final question (though not the final step!) of the process is the one that really challenges your mind. It asks you to imagine a reality you may have never consider to even be possible.

In my previous posts, I’ve discussed the three questions leading up to this one. You can click on the links below to read these posts.
The 4 questions are as follows:

  1. Is it true?
  2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true?
  3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
  4. Who or what would you be without the thought?

Now, pick a problem/thought/belief of your choice, and let’s dive into this final question to see where it takes us.

Who or what would you be without the thought?

For the sake of example, I’ll use one of the beliefs that have been coming up quite a lot lately, which is ‘I don’t have enough money.’ Feel free to pick one that pops up for you. Whether it is ‘I’m not interesting enough’ or ‘my boss hates me’ or one of my other favorites: ‘I never have enough time’. After we’ve run these beliefs through the previous three questions to check their validity and to see what they are doing to us, it’s now time to imagine letting them go.

What would happen if you didn’t believe this single thought to be true? Would you feel differently? Would you act differently? Would you be different?

Take a moment to settle down with the idea. Breathe in and out a couple of times, perhaps close your eyes. Then ask yourself this question, either in silence or out loud, and see what emotions, sounds or images may come up. Perhaps you even remember a time in which you didn’t have this thought and can connect to what that was like. If you have an idea, then don’t drop it too quickly but sit with it for a while. Really immerse yourself in the experience of being free from this thought. Don’t worry, you don’t have to believe it in order to immerse yourself in it (How else would we watch movies?). Just enjoy the ride! If this thought has been weighing on you, you sure as hell deserve a break from it!

If I didn’t believe the thought ‘I don’t have enough money’, I’d feel much more relaxed. I wouldn’t go around squandering money either, but I also wouldn’t worry about upcoming costs. I’d have faith that I’d always have a safe reserve to fall back on. I’d enjoy the things that I buy more because I wouldn’t feel guilty or anxious about buying them. And I wouldn’t pass this attitude on to my children, which I am certainly doing now, whether I like it or not.

What you hear most of all, is that letting go of these thoughts gives us ease, joy, calm and a sense of freedom. We imagine a happier version of ourselves. When we let go of emotions we’ve attached to for a long time, we can experience an intense relief. Finally there is room to breathe, to move, to be. Naturally, this does not mean you have to change, since you are absolutely wonderful just as you are. All it does, is give you the choice to make changes if you feel like it.

In the following post, I want to round off this series with the final step in the process: turning the thought around. It’s not as important to me, personally, as these 4 key questions, but it can be a guide to how to tackle these thoughts now that you’ve become so keenly aware of what they are and how they affect you.

I’dl love to hear which emotions this fourth question brought up for you. What kind of person would you be? What would you do differently? Feel free to share :-).

Lots of love to you all!

8 thoughts on “The Work by Byron Katie #4 – Who or What Would You Be Without the Thought?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: