Byron Kathleen Mitchell (née Reid), better known as Byron Katie, born December 6, 1942, is an American speaker and author who teaches a method of self-inquiry known as “The Work of Byron Katie” or simply as “The Work.”
Byron Kathleen Reid (or “Katie” as she is often called) became severelydepressed in her early thirties. She was a businesswoman and mother who lived in a small town in the high desert of southern California. According to Katie, for nearly a decade she spiraled down into paranoia, rage, self-loathing, and constant thoughts of suicide; for the last two years she was often unable to leave her bedroom. Then, one morning in February 1986, while in a halfway house for women with eating disorders, she experienced a life-changing realization. She called it “waking up to reality.” In that moment of enlightenment, she says,
“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.”
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