The goal of The Work by Bryon Katie is to end mental suffering. The 4 question process is as a way to identify and question the thoughts that are the cause of all the suffering in the world.
The 4 Question Process
Write it down:
First, write down the stressful thoughts and judgements you are thinking about other people, and then put these thoughts, one by one, up against the 4 questions of The Work.
Question 1: Is it true?
This question can change your life. Be still and ask yourself if the thought you wrote down is true.
Question 2: Can you absolutely know that it’s true?
This is another opportunity to open your mind and to go deeper into the unknown, to find the answers that live beneath what we think we know.
Question 3: How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
With this question, you begin to notice internal cause and effect. You can see that when you believe the thought, there is a disturbance that can range from mild discomfort to fear or panic. What do you feel? How do you treat the person (or the situation) you’ve written about, how do you treat yourself, when you believe that thought? Make a list, and be specific.
Question 4: Who would you be without the thought?
Imagine yourself in the presence of that person (or in that situation), without believing the thought. How would your life be different if you didn’t have the ability to even think the stressful thought? How would you feel? Which do you prefer–life with or without the thought? Which feels kinder, more peaceful?
Turn the thought around:
The “turnaround” gives you an opportunity to experience the opposite of what you believe. Once you have found one or more turnarounds to your original statement, you are invited to find at least three specific, genuine examples of how each turnaround is true in your life.
This exercise is a summary of The Work that is intended to get you thinking in the right direction. If it resonates with you, the entire process is available for free on Byron Katie’s website: The Work.