Using Byron Katie’s “The Work” to get some insight

by leona on May 12, 2010

P7150244 2 In the past few weeks I have experienced some pretty challenging times emotionally and relationally. Two major rows with my husband sent me back to my journal to try and write my through the ins and outs of my experience. What is going on for me in all of this? So after quite a number of venting pages I became clearly aware of how a deep yearning of mine was impacting on my experience.

“I want to live in a congruent world where I can trust people will speak and act honestly. I want people to be congruent.”

I know – it sounds naive. I know it sounds childlike and inside me the yearning does have a childlike quality. This part of me doesn’t want to be cynical or jaded.

So, then I took my statement and started some “Work” on it.

Is it true that people and the world are not congruent?And what follows is my journal entry…it is stream of consciousness so bear with the chaos…

YES! all the evidence points to people not being congruent.  What do I mean by being congruent? That people are real in that they are genuine, authentic; that their inner experience and outer expression match – and there is some honesty in this too.

AND NO! Hmmm…so actually, at some level, a more realistic level, the world and people are congruent in as much as they do do what they do. I may not like what they do, I may not be able to predict what they will do, I may not be able to mitigate the impact of their words/actions…

How do I react when I think this thought?  I cannot be sure that what someone says is what they think and I feel both sad and frustrated and helpless that the world isn’t congruent. As I write this I can feel my need for safety coming up. Clarity and predictability too that is more about being able to “read” the situation than knowing what will happen ahead of time. The child in me is letting me know that being able to “read” the situation makes the world feel more safe for me. I can make sense of it. It makes the difference between safety and unsafety, fear and terror, control and helplessness. I need congruence to be able to protect myself. I also need it to prevent embarrassment, humiliation or being shamed (from getting my reading wrong, saying or doing the wrong thing, making a mistake, being insensitive etc).

So…hmm…I can’t (couldn’t in the past) walk into a room or situation and just be myself because first I have to work out how it is in there…how are people feeling, what are they needing, what is going on, what’s the general atmosphere. Then, I needed not show this anxiety, nervousness or fear because that is not acceptable and will be met with negative responses. So on goes (went) a mask of confidence, competence – my persona.  I have become somewhat hyper vigilant, other-focused and incongruent. My outer expression is not the same as my inner experience.

Well, no wonder I don’t like it in other people. I have pushed my real, vulnerable self into the shadowland. I, without self-awareness, was not being congruent myself. This is my turnaround. I want to be more congruent with myself. I want to be more congruent in the world.

Ohh…I can feel a welling of compassion for all the confusion, the mixed messages, the loss of a sense of safety in the world. I can feel it for the childlike part of me and for me now, in the here and now. A big breath comes into my body and some kind of holding on is released. My body relaxes just a little. And sadness comes too…for being in the world in this way and all the lost opportunities for connection and realness. Niceness, not being selfish, being other-focused has it’s price. I disconnected with my real self which is sensitive, vulnerable, often unsure and a bit confused, needing support or understanding. And in doing so I became uncomfortable and judgemental about those qualities in others.

I can feel my heart.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

SomanStory June 19, 2010 at 10:49 pm


People are absolutely congruent with what has been trained into us by culture, family, friends, information. It’s the fear orientation. It’s the story that unfolds from an inhibited place inside of us.

In returning to that which feels very alive, awake and connected and we then are congruent in a different way. A way that serves one’s self and the world. Yes…stories, practices, vision and commitment/conviction of how congruency is a natural systemic reaction of being human…the biology of being human.

One practice is think about a time when you were absolutely congruent, in conscious alignment and embodied with your values, your vision and your relationship to something larger. From there what are your thoughts about the situation? Perhaps lighter, perhaps more possibility, perhaps hope, perhaps some lovely congruency.

Best n Beyond,


leona June 20, 2010 at 5:02 am

Thank you T,
I enjoyed your suggestion of how to discern congruence that is “trained into us” by our culture, family etc and congruence that is held deeply within us as part of our true self. Leona

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