Four Questions to Happiness: An Interview with Byron Katie

Elisha Goldstein and Byron Katie discuss some of the practical ways to begin making happiness a reality.

Tatsiana Tsyhanova/Dollar Photo Club

A while back I decided to try an experiment.

I interviewed over 20 top leading experts in the field of happiness to ask them what that word actually meant, and in their professional experience, what are some practical ways to begin making happiness a reality.

If our thoughts are going to change the way we see things, they’re certainly worth checking out.

This was called the Uncovering Happiness Symposium, and some of the people interviewed included Sharon Salzberg, Dan Siegel, Rick Hanson, Jack Kornfield, Dan Harris, Kelly McGonigal, Tara Brach, Byron Katie, and more. Byron Katie struggled throughout her life with depression and ultimately found a path that led her to a simple way to break free from the internal negativity and into greater states of freedom.

She defined this as happiness.

Here are the four questions to ask ourselves to help challenge compelling negative thoughts:

  1. Is it true?
  2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true?
  3. How do you react when you believe that thought? Take a moment to feel into it.
  4. Who would you be without that thought?

In doing this practice, you come to understand just how many of our thoughts are simply not true. Yet, these thoughts change the way we see things and how we react to the world around us. If our thoughts are going to have that much influence on us, they’re certainly worth checking out.

However, before you can even make the decision to check them out, you need to become aware of them and step outside of them for a moment.

When we intentionally practice and repeat these four questions they can be quite powerful.

If you want to get a deeper grasp, here is an opportunity to simply watch the entire interview with Byron Katie talking about Four Questions to Happiness.

Adapted from Mindfulness & Psychotherapy