My project was to attend an Omega workshop run by author and speaker, Byron Katie. She taught the skills and implementation of her program, “The Work”, which is a technique aimed to help people identify and alleviate their harmful beliefs. The workshop included observing Bryon Katie work with a select number of volunteers and time for self-reflection and meditation.
My STEP project really helped me view the world, and myself, differently. Byron Katie’s program is all about alleviating the unnecessary stresses in your life. Along with this it helps you better understand yourself, your feelings, and possibly even the feelings of others. Her process is all about identifying how you feel and realizing that often we are causing ourselves to suffer. For me, going to this program was an eye opener about some of my most painful memories. By working with myself using Byron Katie’s technique, “The Work,” and well as with others, I was able to free myself from some of my most long held grudges. Being able to let go of my anger and sadness from my past felt amazing and ever since I have been applying “The Work” to everyday frustrations. My project has helped keep and further build some of my strongest relationships right now. Whenever I feel myself being pulled into painful thoughts, “The Work” shows up in my mind, and by allowing myself to go through the process, I’m able to quickly get past my negative feelings and instead focus on how much I value the relationships in question. I’ve realized that painful emotions can escalate situations and that this isn’t necessary.
My STEP project has helped me see others and situations in a new light. Bryon Katie teaches us that the people around us are our teachers and all situations are an opportunity to learn. When someone gets angry at me, for example, I used to get defensive and lash out against them as well. Now I work to truly listen to what they’re telling me. I’ve realized that when people do this they are trying to tell me something that they see in me. Just because I don’t want see it doesn’t mean that it isn’t true and, either way, if they see it then it’s at least true for them. Since attending the OMEGA workshop I have tried to be open to advice, in any form, from people and situations. I believe without this, I would not have grown as much as I have since.
My STEP project of going to the Omega workshop run by Byron Katie had a number of elements that led to my transformation. The first one was listening directly to Bryon Katie and hearing her work through her powerful technique, “The Work”, with people. It’s powerful to hear about something from its creator, especially one that embodies it in every way. It was like seeing an example of what life could be like if you fully embrace what she was trying to teach us. I’d read her books beforehand, but seeing her in person, working with people with similar stresses to my own as well more extreme ones, was very inspiring and I believe it allowed me to absorb more of her teachings.
Another element of my experience was ample time to reflect and work through my own troubles. The institute provided free meditation sessions which I attended every morning. I had never really meditated before and I found doing it really allowed me to clear my head and leave all my troubles behind. There were also plenty of breaks in-between sessions and we were encouraged to find a peaceful place to work through “The Work” and find our own answers. The Omega institute itself, where the workshop was held, was in a secluded area with a large lake, gardens and forests. People were encouraged to unplug from technology and truly be with the nature that surrounded us. This was the perfect environment for self-reflection.
Peaceful meditation temple where I went every morning to meditate.
The last major aspect lies in the ability for continued work with Bryon Katie’s program. My workshop may be over, but my project never really will be. I fully intend to keep with the practices I learned there to advance myself and my relationships in my life. I’m sure that doing so will allow me to continue to grow. I may even be able to spread her work to others.
I really think my project brought about a valuable change to my life. It changed my thinking about myself and the world and gave me the ability to live a happier overall life. I also believe that this change will affect those around me who will benefit from my more positive way of working through situations. Hopefully it will allow me to spread less unhappiness to others as I alleviate the unhappiness from myself. I’m sure that my academic and professional life will benefit as well. The change will allow me to be less easily overwhelmed by work and deadlines. I’ll also probably have a higher chance of building better relationships in these areas. If I go into counseling psychology specifically, an area I am interested in, then I might be able to implement some of what I learned at the workshop with my clients in the future. In all, I’m very grateful that I was able to get this opportunity. I believe that the transformation will be long lasting and beneficial.
Canoeing on Long Pond Lake near the institute.