Byron Katie Quotes

The only time we suffer is

Excerpt from Loving What is by Byron Katie.

The only time we suffer is when we believe a thought that argues with what is.  When the mind is perfectly clear, what is is what we want.


Wanting Reality to be different than it is is hopeless

If you want reality to be different than it is, you might as well try to teach a cat to bark.  You can try and try, and in the end the cat will look up at you and say, “Meow.” Wanting reality to be different than it is is hopeless.  You can spend the rest of your life trying to teach a cat to bark.


And yet, if you pay attention, you’ll notice that you think thoughts like this dozens of times a day.  “People should be kinder,” “Children should be well-behaved.” “My neighbors should take better care of their lawn.” “The line at the grocery store should move faster,” “My husband (or wife) should agree with  me. ”“ I should be thinner (or prettier or more successful). ”These thoughts are ways of wanting reality to be different than it is.

If you think that this sounds depressing, you’re right.  All the stress that we feel is caused by arguing with what is.


When I argue with reality, I lose-but only 100 percent of the time

After I woke up to reality in 1986, people often referred to me as the woman who made friends with the wind.  Barstow is a desert town where the wind blows a lot of the time, and everyone hated it; people even moved from there because they couldn’t stand the wind.  The reason I made friends with the wind-with reality-is that I discovered I didn’t have a choice.  I realized that it’s insane to oppose it.  When I argue with reality, I lose-but only 100 percent of the time.  How do I know that the wind should blow?  It’s blowing!


People new to The Work often say to me, “But it would be dis-empowering to stop my argument with reality. If I simply accept reality, I’II become passive. I may even lose the desire to act,” I answer them with a question:  “Can you really know that that’s true?” Which is more empowering?  -“I wish I hadn’t lost my job” or “I lost my job; what can I do now?”


It hurts when I argue with reality

The Work reveals that what you think shouldn’t have happened should have happened.  It should have happened because it did, and no thinking in the world can change it.  This doesn’t mean that you condone it or approve of it.  It just means that you can see things without resistance and without the confusion of your inner struggle.  No one wants their children to get sick, no one wants to be in a car accident; but when these things happen, how can it be helpful to mentally argue with them?  We know better than to do that, yet we do it, because we don’t know how to stop.


I am a lover of what is, not because I’m a spiritual person, but because it hurts when I argue with reality.  We can know that reality is good just as it is, because when we argue with it, we experience tension and frustration.  We don’t feel natural or balanced.  When we stop opposing reality, action becomes simpe, fluid, kind, and fearless.

– Byron Katie

(Excerpt from Loving What is.)


For more information about The Work, visit

You might want to read the Introduction of The Work of Byron Katie by Stephen Mitchell. 


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