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A Thousand Names for Joy: Living in Harmony with the Way Things Are

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In her first two books, Byron Katie showed how suffering can be ended by questioning the stressful thoughts that create it, through a process of self-inquiry she calls The Work. Now, in A Thousand Names for Joy , she encourages us to discover the freedom that lives on the other side of inquiry.Stephen Mitchell—the renowned translator of the Tao Te Ching—selected provocative excerpts from that ancient text as a stimulus for Katie to talk about the most essential issues that face us life and death, good and evil, love, work, and fulfillment. The result is a book that allows the timeless insights of the Tao Te Ching to resonate anew for us today, while offering a vivid and illuminating glimpse into the life of someone who for twenty years—ever since she “woke up to reality” one morning in 1986—has been living what Lao-tzu wrote more than 2,500 years ago.Katie’s profound, lighthearted wisdom is not theoretical; it is absolutely authentic. That is what makes this book so compelling. It’s a portrait of a woman who is imperturbably joyous, whether she is dancing with her infant granddaughter or finds that her house has been emptied out by burglars, whether she stands before a man about to kill her or embarks on the adventure of walking to the kitchen, whether she learns that she is going blind, flunks a “How Good a Lover Are You?” test, or is diagnosed with cancer. With her stories of total ease in all circumstances, Katie does more than describe the awakened mind; she lets you see it, feel it, in action. And she shows you how that mind is yours as well.

304 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 2007

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About the author

Byron Katie

93 books1,011 followers
Byron Kathleen Mitchell, better known as Byron Katie, is an American speaker, writer, and founder of a method of self-inquiry called The Work of Byron Katie or simply The Work.

Katie became severely depressed in her early thirties. She was a businesswoman and mother who lived in Barstow, a small town in the high desert of southern California. 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. In that moment, 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.

Soon afterward people started seeking her out and asking how they could find the freedom that they saw in her. As reports spread about the transformations they felt they were experiencing through The Work, she was invited to present it publicly elsewhere in California, then throughout the United States, and eventually in Europe and across the world.

The Work has been compared to the Socratic method and to Zen meditation, but Katie is not aligned with any religion or tradition. She describes self-inquiry as an embodiment, in words, of the wordless questioning that had woken up in her on that February morning. She has shared The Work with millions of people at public events, in prisons, hospitals, churches, V. A. treatment centers, corporations, universities, and schools. Participants at her weekend workshops, the nine-day School for The Work, and the twenty-eight-day residential Turnaround House report profound experiences and lasting transformations. “Katie’s events are riveting to watch,” the Times of London reported. Eckhart Tolle calls The Work “a great blessing for our planet.” And Time magazine named Katie a “spiritual innovator for the new millennium.”

Katie is married to the writer and translator Stephen Mitchell, who co-wrote Loving What Is, A Thousand Names for Joy, and A Mind at Home with Itself. I Need Your Love—Is That True? was written with Michael Katz, her literary agent at the time. Her other books are Question Your Thinking, Change The World; Who Would You Be Without Your Story?; Peace in the Present Moment, with Eckhart Tolle, A Friendly Universe, and, for children, Tiger-Tiger, Is It True? and The Four Questions. On her website thework.com, you will find detailed instructions about The Work; video and audio clips; Katie's calendar of events; event registration; free downloads, including the Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet; interviews; apps for your iPhone, iPad, or Android; a free newsletter; a free helpline; and the online store. You might also want to visit Katie's Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook pages, and her live-streaming webcast page, livewithbyronkatie.com.

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5 stars
1,084 (54%)
4 stars
536 (26%)
3 stars
256 (12%)
2 stars
80 (3%)
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51 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 183 reviews
Profile Image for Betty.
31 reviews4 followers
September 19, 2008
This book helped me relax and know that there's never, ever anything to worry about, that life is safe and good all of the time, and that as long as I question my thoughts and don't take my beliefs as truth, it always will be. What freedom.
Profile Image for Farnoosh Brock.
Author 17 books218 followers
May 14, 2013
I listened to this book on audio, courtesy of Byron Katie team themselves, pior to my interview with her.

The audio is simply mesmerizing. She has a voice that sounds like the voice of God if there were such a thing. She is incredibly soothing and comforting.

The book content is beautiful, but the concept of the Tao gets very esoteric for me, and I tried to stay with it. I did not multi-task when listening to this audio book and I really contemplated the deep concepts of truth, reality, self, existence, earth, nothingness, everything, identify and so much else, and I wish I could appreciate it deeper.

Sometimes, I disagreed with Katie. Sometimes, she spoke directly to my heart. Sometimes I wanted to hug her and other times I wanted to turn it off because she had lost me.

It is still a 5 star for the profound effect it had on me and will for the rest of my life, no doubt. When I spoke to her, I felt her presence, her amazing presence in the now, in the moment that is here and from that alone, I could see how living and being her must be. She is remarkable. I will continue to appreciate her.

I would guess that this book is much better on audio than text. The emphasis that Katie puts in the right places is necessary and makes it easier to understand. Absolutely wonderful audio recordings. May you find peace and happiness and oh yes, JOY, in listening to the fabulous Byron Katie.
48 reviews20 followers
July 6, 2013
I guess I'm officially giving up on Byron Katie. This is the second book of hers I tried to read (after coming across a quote that I liked*). Parts of the book made absolutely no sense to me, as if they were written in a language I didn't understand. The parts I could sort of follow seemed to be proposing a method for suppressing fear and anger, which, IMO, is not a good idea, as suppressed emotions are likely to come back eventually, stronger than ever.

Also, the book is not logically consistent. Katie writes about how she was happy when her purse was stolen:

"I once left my purse in a restaurant in New York. I get very excited when things like that happen. I thought of the purse, my very favorite, and I thought of someone finding the cash and the wallet and the business cards and the notebook and the hand cream and the pens and the lipstick and the dental floss and the eye drops and the wonderful new cell phone and the energy bar and the pictures of my grandchildren. It's exciting to give a total stranger what you have, and to know that giving is equal to having, and that giving is also a kind of having. (This doesn't mean that I didn't cancel my credit cards.) But it was clear that the purse was supposed to belong to someone else. How did I know that she needed it? She had it. There are no accidents in my world. When you're a lover of what is, your suffering is over."

At first, I thought this an interesting, if implausible idea -- to think of a beloved object that is lost or stolen as a gift to someone else. That certainly would take the sting out of the loss, at least for as long as you could sustain the thought.

But why, then, did Katie cancel her credit cards? It's a pretty good bet that whoever found Katie's purse (and essentially stole it by deciding to keep it, rather than contacting Katie) wasn't really interested in the dental floss, or the energy bar, or the pictures of Katie's grandchildren, but instead wanted the cash and the credit cards.

If Katie was excited to give a total stranger what she had, and if the purse was "supposed to belong to someone else," and if Katie knew that this person "needed it," then why frustrate the recipient of the gift by canceling the cards and denying the purse's new owner what he or she most likely needed and wanted the most -- the ability to buy things using Katie's credit cards?

I know that Katie has many readers and followers who say that her work has greatly improved their lives. Maybe, for whatever reason, I'm not capable of seeing or understanding her real message. But when Katie waxes lyrically about how happy she is that a stranger is enjoying the things in her purse, while at the same time canceling her cards to prevent the stranger from using them, I think that Katie doesn't totally believe herself in what she is saying, and I call bullshit.

* This is the quote that I stumbled across that I liked: "No one will ever understand you. Realizing this is freedom. No one will ever understand you -- not once, not ever. Even at our most understanding, we can only understand our story of who you are. There's no understanding here except your own." I still think that's a great quote taken by itself. Reading it in the context of the book, though, had the opposite effect from what I had hoped, making it seem less enlightening, rather than more.
60 reviews4 followers
March 6, 2012
I'm inspired to share how I found out about Byron Katie in the first place. Around the time I came to the firm decision to both retire and to pursue my MtF transition during retirement (September 2010), I realized that I'd begun returning to something I'd let fall by the wayside since my college days: the mystical writings of the so-called ancient Hindu and Buddhist writers, and to some extent Taoist. I not-did the theist approach for basically all the years between my marriage in 1978 up until September 2010, by which I mean I basically was an atheist (without theism), consciously so between roughly 2005 and 2010. After my retirement started in January 2011, I found myself studying the Tao Te Ching, specifically Stephen Mitchell's translation which is free on the Internet; I was inspired to do that by remembering a couple PBS broadcasts of talks given by Dr. Wayne Dyer, which I had seen in roughly 2008. I then found http://realization.org, and there I found an interview with Byron Katie. Later, I found that Stephen Mitchell and Katie had married, and also found Stephen and Katie's website. I recently decided to buy "A Thousand Names for Joy" as an ebook. It would be an understatement to say that this book resonated with me, and it's probably unnecessary to say that I knew it would, because that's all in the past. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who has had even the slightest inclination to be happier, and to all of my Goodreads friends. As usual, I've removed the Digital Rights Management encryption from my legally purchased copy (in EPUB format) and will be happy to "lend" the book to you if you'll first email Katie and Stephen and ask her for permission for me to lend my DRM-free copy to you. One final note: I found myself thinking, as I read the book, "I hope something can be done about Katie's eye disease and the fact (is it true?) that she'll eventually be blind from that disease, even though she's saying that it doesn't matter". The good news is, near the end of the book there's a happy ending to that story.
Profile Image for Josh.
Author 3 books4 followers
June 12, 2022
The framework is too esoteric for the easy, natural philosophy of the author. The "Tao" and "master" insertions feel like rigid impositions that make the text unnatural and inaccessible in places.

A couple passages:

"You can't make people moral. People are what they are, and they'll do what they do with or without our laws.  ...You can say 'thou shalt not' `till you're blue in the face, and they'll do it anyway. The best way, the only effective way, is to serve as an example, and not to impose your will.

I used to try to make my children moral by telling them what they should do, what they shouldn't do …I thought that this was the way to make them good people. When they didn't do what I wanted, I would shame or punish them, believing it was for their own good. So in reality, what I taught them was to break my laws and be very careful not to get caught. I taught them that the way to have peace in our home was to sneak and lie."
Profile Image for Merel.
243 reviews
November 5, 2014
What a horrible book. There are lots of good points and spiritual ideas that sound fair and true but if balance and joy means a life without Self, emotions, empathy and just basic humanity, I'm not sure it is worth it. The author's point seems to be that if you do not believe it, it does not exist. Like suffering. If you just tell yourself it is all in your thoughts and stop believing in it everything is perfect as it is. And yeah, that's a great way to make excuses for not caring a shit about anything. It does not sound balance, joy and enlightenment to me, more like psychopathy.

Profile Image for Vianey H.
72 reviews1 follower
July 1, 2021
Wow! This book took a long time for me to read. By the end of the past year and half I have been been curious of my thinking. Is it true? How do I know it is true? Her process is simple. At times too simple and my mind rebels. Makes me think of the movie The Matrix. Where the first matrix created to keep people trapped in those pods was too perfect and it resulted in more rebellion and questioning. Her 4 questions are simple. But it is the willingness to pause and question what we hold to be true. There would be moments if such clarity and it would take weeks for me to process.

Now I will warn any future readers. There were chapters that made no sense to me. Like I wasn’t sure if perhaps she wasn’t completely sane at times. But then, what do I know? She is her own self. Not my business. 😀. Of you can be curious enough to read thru those chapters it will be worth it. You won’t know until you do. I will definitely read this again.
Profile Image for Jaime.
329 reviews6 followers
July 29, 2014
I quit. I don't know if I'm just not used to reading this type of book, but I'm over it after only 14 pages. She's too damn repetitive and I just can't get behind her philosophy. Maybe I needed to read her other books first to really 'get' what she's talking about, but as of now I'm not a believer. She just keeps saying the same thing over and over, and that thing is that everything that happens in the present is what is exactly supposed to be happening and that fact should bring you joy - even if it's getting cancer or being robbed at gunpoint. I'm done.
Profile Image for Alicia St Rose.
4 reviews5 followers
July 20, 2007
As of August 2007, I'm on my fifth read of this profoundly moving book. I'm savoring it one paragraph at a time. I copy a key sentence from one paragraph each day and carry it with me.
Yes, this book is so rich in clarity, that every paragraph offers some insight.

If you are familiar with the Tao Te Ching, then this book will illuminate Lao Tzu's message like nothing ever has.

Simply amazing...

Profile Image for Rick Archer.
6 reviews8 followers
December 26, 2012
Byron Katie's best book. A commentary on the Tao Te Ching (translated by her husband) in light of her own experience. Read it several years ago.
Profile Image for Dolly.
Author 1 book643 followers
September 13, 2022
I'm not entirely sure what to think about this book...

interesting quotes (page numbers from edition with ISBN13):

"In my experience, confusion is the only suffering." (p.)

"The world is the mirror image of your mind." (p.)

"By its very nature the mind is infinite. Once it has questioned it's beliefs, it can find beauty in all things. It's that open and free." (p.)

"No one who ever lived is a better or aworse human being than you." (p.)

"Admire Jesus's compassion or the Buddha's wisdom all you want, but what good can their qualities do until you find them within yourself." (p.)

"In the absence of defensiveness, gratitude is all that's left." (p.)

"No one has ever known the answer to 'Why?' The only true answer is 'Because.'" (p.)

"In the face of everything that appears to be real, only kindness remains." (p.)

"When I give to you without motive,
I am delighted. I act with kindness, because I like myself when I do that. The kindness can only be to myself. It doesn't include anyone else, not even the apparent receiver. I am both giver and receiver and that's all that matters."

"This world is enough for me. Anything I ever need to do or be is in this unlimited space. It's enough to accomplish my purpose and my purpose is to sit here now and sip tea. I can imagine a world outside when I can see, and as it happens, I prefer this one. It is always more beautiful here, wherever I am, than any story of a future or a past. The here and now is where I can make a difference. It's what I live out of. Nothing more is required." (p.)

"" (p.)

"" (p.)
Profile Image for Cheryl.
965 reviews95 followers
March 13, 2009
I have to sit with this book for a while before I really can rate it. I know I loved the absolutely unique voice of this woman, and her absolutely unique worldview; and I love anything that makes me think differently. I think about the book a lot. It might be too out there for me, but I think I can learn some things from her "Work" which is essentially a therapeutic tool to deal with unresolved issues. You make a statement about something unresolved, and ask some questions about it, and then reverse or turn it around and it seems so enlightening when you read the case examples included. This book was more than just that, it included her worldview that coincides withe Taoist beliefs. Hmm.
Profile Image for Jeremy Neal.
Author 3 books17 followers
September 12, 2010
I love this book.

It's quite rare to read an account by somebody who is relating the experience of enlightenment, I've read plenty of treatises on what you need to do to get there.

I'm not enlightened, but neither am I a cement-head, and I can see that on a spectrum of learning, all of these ideas make sense. This is written like a dream; not in terms of prose, but in terms of relating a particular perspective, it's beautiful.
316 reviews
July 20, 2018
Ever read a book that was so awful you want to rethink your friendship with the person who suggested it? Yup, that bad. The whole book was a string of disjointed gibberish. What should I make of this? "A clear mind doesn't suffer. That's not possible. Even if you're in great physical pain, even if your beloved child dies, even if you and your family are herded off to Auschwitz, you can't suffer unless you believe an untrue thought." Excuse me??
Profile Image for Jessica Mullen.
7 reviews9 followers
February 1, 2021
Absolutely life changing

The Work in the context of the Tao Te Ching cemented the process of undoing thought. For me, it was a more accessible route to understanding and integrating The Work than Loving What Is, since I already had faith and understanding in the Tao Te Ching.
Profile Image for Anne.
551 reviews7 followers
June 8, 2017
Interesting and very engaging.
Profile Image for One.
339 reviews6 followers
March 21, 2018
This book sounded great. But I couldn't finish it. The writing is horrible with scattered thoughts. And some of it is so far out in left field that it made me cringe. For example, on page 47 she writes "Until we know that death is as good as life, and that it always comes at just the right time..." Seriously? Could she tell that those who have had their children gunned down at a school shooting? Or how about to those who lost their loved ones in the Las Vegas mass shooting? Or other such tragedies. Could you say that to the family members of those who were lost and do it with a straight face? Such nonsense! In other words, numb yourself to everything in the world so that you never have to suffer or truly feel anything other than joy. Good grief, what nonsense.
Profile Image for Dawn.
141 reviews
January 7, 2013
I love the core of her basic philosophy - that it's your thoughts about things that cause you stress & unhappiness rather than the things themselves - but I don't really buy into it quite as far as she takes it. As a result, a lot of this book felt way, way out in left field. This would've been more interesting if I were either more familiar with the Tao or a bigger believer in her philosophy.
157 reviews18 followers
October 28, 2020
I read this at the suggestion of a good friend who knows I enjoy philosophy books. I've been aware of Byron Katie's four questions for many years, so I was not surprised to see them show up in this book. You apply the four questions to any negative or anxiety-producing thought, and they help you see the reality of the situation. The questions are:

Q1. Is it true?
Q2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true?
Q3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
Q4. Who would you be without that thought?

However, instead of a book built around those questions, what I found here was an awkward attempt to shove Ms. Katie's questions and "philosophy" into her husband's (Stephen Mitchell) translation of the Tao Te Ching. The results are weird statements like the following:

I used to spend a lot of time in the desert. I would just walk, with no destination. I would walk straight, even if the path turned right or left, because I understood that there was no way to be lost. I often didn’t know where I was or how to get back to familiar ground. But I was living with the certainty that wherever I was, that’s where I was supposed to be at that moment. This is not a theory; it’s the literal truth. If I think that I’m supposed to be doing anything but what I’m doing now, I’m insane.


The voice within is what I honor. It’s what I’m married to. This life doesn’t belong to me. The voice says, “Do the dishes”—okay. I don’t know what it’s for, I just do it. If I don’t follow the order, that’s all right, too. But this is a game about where life will take me when I do follow. There’s nothing more exciting than to say yes to such a wild thing. I don’t have anything to lose. I can afford to be a fool.


This morning I had the thought to shower, and I notice that I stayed with the e-mail. I find that fascinating. Showering was a wonderful idea. Will it move to that or not? It’s exciting to wait and watch and allow life to move at its own pace as it continues to do what it does. For no reason, when a few dozen e-mails are finished, the body rises. Where is it going? It thinks it’s going to the shower, but there’s no way to know, not ever, until it’s standing there in the shower stall, turning the knob. And until the water comes out, there is still no way to know if a shower will happen. As the water pours over my body, the thought arises, “What a wonderful idea!”

Ms. Katie's self-help questions do not mix well with Eastern philosophy, and in many passages she comes across as a woman needing, not sharing, mental health support.

I'm giving the book 2 out of 5 stars. If you're looking for a book on dealing with anxiety, skip this one and check out "Feeling Good" by Burns instead. "The Analects" is a good choice if you want Eastern philosophy.
Profile Image for Gregg Bell.
Author 22 books132 followers
April 5, 2014
I thought Byron Katie was a flake. I had no interest in reading any of her stuff. But the book club I was in was reading her. As it was, this book club was very far from where I lived so I ended up buying the book, rather than making the long drive to pick it up from the library (where the book club had ordered enough for the club), and am I ever glad I did.

The title is misleading. A lot of what's within the book is misleading. But--the good news--you won't miss out on Katie's heart for people and her really useful method of dealing with problematic thinking called "the work."

The book is supposedly riffing off the Tao Te Ching (a popular book for self-help gurus to riff off of). And the book has just about nothing at all to do with the Tao Te Ching, except at some, perhaps, very basic level.

I'm cutting to the chase. Here's "the work" (or The Four Questions and Turnaroud). (And you apply these questions whenever you have a troubling thought.)

1)Is it (the thought that's troubling you) true?
2)Can you absolutely know that it's true?
3)How do you react when you believe that thought?
4)Who would you be without the thought?


Turn it around.

Here's some sample thoughts. 'My boss hates me.' 'I had a pain in my chest and I'm sure it's heart disease.' 'I'll die young like my mother did.'

The point is if a thought is giving you great emotional distress, you can run it through the four questions. Here's an example of running the thought 'My boss hates me' through the four questions.

1)Is it (the thought that's troubling you) true?
--Yes, it's true. My boss hates me.
2)Can you absolutely know that it's true?
--Well, no. I can't absolutely know that it's true.
3)How do you react when you believe that thought?
--I get very upset. I think he'll fire me because he hates me.
4)Who would you be without the thought?
--I'd be a much happier, more relieved person.

And the Turnaround, which I find to be the least helpful part of it all, would be something like:

I hate my boss.

And Katie says that the Turnaround does need to resonate with you as being accurate for it to be worthwhile.

This little four question method works. Plain and simple. Try it and you'll see. It's not intensive psychoanalysis. It's nothing comprehensive. But it is a reliably effective tool for pulling yourself out of painful thoughts.

Katie's whole philosophy is based on the notion of when we disagree with what is, we suffer. And on the flipside, when we stop disagreeing with what is, we stop suffering.

I'm not buying her philosophy hook line and sinker, but I do think it has substantial merit.

Katie postulates that oftentimes our painful thoughts come when we 'tell ourselves stories,' and that only by questioning the reality (with the four questions) of those stories do we stop fighting what is and have peace.

It's been true in my life. Oftentimes I'll just have one negative little thought, and the story burgeons from that thought and just keeps expanding and expanding until it reaches a catastrophic level. The four questions short circuit that process.

Katie herself has descended into the depths of despair and knows what she's talking about. In an early chapter she writes: "Would I let myself die in an imagined torture chamber?"

"The mind," she writes, "is brilliant in its ability to prove what isn't actually is."

And it's only through sustained conscious questioning of the mind's stories that we reconnect with the reality (what is) of our lives.

It is our "war with reality" that is causing all our misery.

A Thousand Names for Joy gives us a way to find a truce with that war and live in peace.

This book is packed with tremendously helpful psychological and spiritual advice. Totally worth buying and underling and referring to time and time again.

I thought Byron Katie was a flake. Well, I don't know her personally, and in some ways she still seems kind of flaky. But she is also a woman who has fought her way up from the depths and with great love and compassion shared with the world how she did it.
Profile Image for Jillian.
133 reviews
February 24, 2016
Byron Katies' comments on the Tao Te Ching. Excellent "dip into" book for inspiration. She is a truly remarkable woman who genuinely lives her message - being in total harmony with the way things are. The book is not pretending to be great writing, but it is a great and real life interpretation of the Tao Te Ching. In each short chapter, Katie elaborates on her understanding of a snippet from the Tao - always fascinating. I can only read a few pages at a time. This is a book for slow reading, many times, and lots of reflection.
Profile Image for Tonya Sh.
339 reviews15 followers
September 11, 2017
This book is my Bible now.

I've been doing the Work for about a month now, but this just took it to a whole new level for me.

I can see how my life quality is improving, in so many aspects - physically, emotionally, mentally. It's fascinating really. How much easier it is than suffering.

I will have it with me all the time, at all times, because just reading a couple of pages a day is the best therapy there is for me.
Profile Image for JoAnn.
15 reviews
January 4, 2008
Well I have to buy this book. It's a loose translation of Tao Te Ching. I felt like I could absorb it personally instead of intellectually. One of those books you can pop open to any page and it would apply to your current problem and perhaps give you a different perspective of it (like the Bible).
Profile Image for Jodi.
7 reviews3 followers
October 13, 2008
If she isn't completely out of her mind, then I am. Hers is a life without emotion. I'm almost finished and will make an attempt at "the work" and let you know....

I couldn't finish this. It got too ridiculous.... It will go to the bookshelf for some other eager seeker of the truth.
Profile Image for Diane.
1 review3 followers
January 29, 2009
I am reading this for the second time and it is really opening my mind about reality
April 20, 2019
More spiritual and “Taoish” than her other books. I put it on at night while falling asleep and found it useful for that meditative state just before sleep.
Profile Image for Xavier Guillaume.
315 reviews45 followers
June 10, 2022
Just finished A Thousand Names for Joy. Holy shit! That was a good book! The moment I put the audiobook on, I felt such immense peace. Byron Katie has a soothing voice and she looks and sounds so much like my grandmother, her presence fills me with such inner joy. Much like Byron, my grandmother was such a lovely woman and filled with such a unique perspective and cherished guidance.

Halfway through chapter 1 I felt my mind expand. All my worries melted away and I knew what was true. Nothing matters. Everything matters. All is important and not important. Love is all around us. The greatest thing in life we can do is to reflect gratitude. We should live each moment, moment by moment. Neither past nor future can tear us down. All are teachers. We both know nothing and we know all.

What I think may be most difficult about this book for others is the notion there is no good or bad. There is simply being. Good and bad are concepts we as humans give things and events. Things and events exist but outside our judgment. Our judgment takes away from existence. Our judgment takes away what the world has to offer us. Everything is a teacher. Everything can help us grow. There is no bad when everything helps us in some way. There is only love.

The other thing that may be difficult for people to understand or agree with is we are all one. Byron talks about how there is no me. There is no you. There is only we and us. What I do to you. I do to myself. What you do to me you do to yourself. Perhaps this does not make sense, but perhaps it does. When you hurt me, you are hurting yourself. When I hurt you, I am hurting myself. Pain spreads more pain. Who are we to know what is best for the other? Who are we to know what is best for ourselves? Byron tells us to merely be, and the moment will guide us to do what is best for us to do. Perhaps if there is a wrong, it is when we do not do what the moment calls us to do. If you see someone hurting someone else, and you feel the urge to intervene and say something, then intervene and say something. It does not matter that nothing matters and is as it should be. We live a life where we are watching life. We give up control of what we are supposed to do and instead do what we are called to do. We allow the calling to guide us, so instead of being players in our own lives, we are watching out our lives like viewers of a movie. This is the Tao. Also known as the Way. The Way is our calling. It is being true to what guides us when we open ourselves to the world and deeper knowing.

I love, love, love this book. This book has helped me more than years of therapy has done for me. Therapy only scratches the surface. Byron Katie upends it and shows me none of my fears or anxieties are even real. To people who believe their fears or anxieties they are believing a story that they made up in their head. To them the story is real and that is what frightens them. To not believe the story is believing in reality. Stories take us farther away from reality. "I am a bad dancer" takes us away from the reality that I am dancing and by me dancing in this moment, that is really quite wonderful and celebratory. How great it is to be able to move in the Universe in such a fluid way! Allow the fears and anxieties to wash away. Be your true self and live the life you are meant to.

All in all, I love this book, and it is definitely one worth reading and re-reading. Love you Byron and thank you for helping me uncover the Truth that was inside me this whole time.
66 reviews1 follower
September 25, 2020
It's a sign of how much I loved reading this book that I'm sad it's over. I'm glad I read it slowly - with a book club over 9 months - because it really helped to have time to let Katie's message sink in. Her nondual view (although she would probably not use a formal word like that) is sooo very different from how I look at my daily life. She was very clever and very relentless about offering her view over and over from different angles, until it dawned on me that she really meant it!

Perhaps what I love most is that she has convinced me that The Work (what she calls her method of inquiry) is a simple, straightforward method that can bring amazing clarity. And healing, really, of thoughts we repeat over and over (perhaps have done so for years), that keep our ego firmly in control and keep us separate from "what is". Throughout the book we hear of many people who engaged with Katie's method, and it is very well explained in an appendix. In our last session with this book, two of the members of my book club used the info in the appendix to work through challenging, uncomfortable issues that came up during the week, both with excellent results. I found it incredibly encouraging.

I should probably say that (a) there are many of Katie's statements about how she views and lives her life that made me think "well that's probably true but I'm sure not there yet", and (b) I did find it annoying that she sometimes used wording like when things don't go as we planned we need to see what's "better" about what actually happened. I'm allergic to any view that suggests that someone out there has a "master plan", and I sometimes got that feeling from her language.

It was also a treat that each short chapter started with an excerpt from a verse of the Tao Te Ching, as translated by her husband, Stephen Mitchell. One of our club members has Stephen's book, and read us the full verse before each chapter, rather than just the few lines selected for Katie's chapter. I strongly recommend looking at them side by side - there are some amazing gems there.

Thank you, Byron Katie, for sharing this book with us!
363 reviews
September 1, 2020
Fortunately, I read Eckhart Tolle's books first or I would have suspended belief of the peace and enlightenment that Byron Katie claims to have found. But, it was something Eckhart Tolle said about BK that prompted me to read one of her books.


I learned a lot from BK; but, I sifted through a great deal of content in the book that seemed rather Pollyannaish and, at some points, too laissez faire. Whereas ET advises surrendering to the present moment then deciding to change, escape or accept it, BK too quickly judges all life situations as something to be embraced with joy. At times it seemed she was not addressing human beings at all.

I believe that The Work, a means of questioning one's thoughts, is a valuable tool and I'm glad I was exposed to that in this book. I believe BK is full of grace; but, her communication of that grace is superlative to the extreme.
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