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RADICAL WORK  Exploring transformation in the workplace through The Work of Byron Katie by Kriben Pillay (Softcover, 96 pp., Wandsbeck: The Noumenon Press, 2001)

The title of this review does not sound like a recommended tool for gaining clarity. Yet Kriben Pillay's guide to organisational and personal transformation is exactly that. Identification and articulation of stress-causing thoughts and judgements –  one's 'stories' – are integral to The Work of Byron Katie. This book is a transformational gem set in the context of The Work. Pillay quotes Katie:

The truth is that no matter how kind our words and actions appear on the surface, we all have judgements running in our heads. (55)

The Work deconstructs thinking, explores every facet of a judgement or 'story' in order to see how it is constructed. The Work exposes and undermines the assumptions and strategies that keep the judgement or story alive as a source of stress, pain and suffering.

The deconstruction leads to a resynthesis, a turnaround, a healing, as judgements and 'stories' lose their grip. The result is clarity.

Pillay – whose presentation of Byron Katie's Work is founded in the mature integration of The Work into his own life – says:

     The Work is not about theoretical understanding. It is about directly seeing the causes of one's problems, stress and suffering. Nor is it about masking our distress with motivational talk. (13)

The core of this book is a demonstration of The Work in action. The reader witnesses the process, the deconstruction, the turnaround, the arising clarity, through transcripts of Byron Katie and Kriben Pillay engaging participants in dialogue and inquiry.

Finally, the reader is given the opportunity to engage The Work, with step-by-step instructions from Byron Katie. Worksheets laid out for easy photocopying, are included.

This book is about bringing stressful thoughts or 'stories' to The Work and allowing clarity to happen. The process is simple. As Katie says, ‘This Work is check and mate.’

 —Jerry Katz,



ITALA’S TRANSFORMATION by Kriben Pillay (DVD/CD-ROM, 36 mins., Wandsbeck: Noumenon, 2002)

This attractively produced movie by Dr Kriben Pillay introduces the significance, meaning, impact and power of Byron Katie’s Work. Itala tells how she used the Work to the point where everything, all unnecessary baggage, as she calls it, had fallen away. 

One can feel Itala coming from the stillness, the space of freedom, as she delivers a few words. Some fragments:

‘Everything is a story.’

‘My history has disappeared.’ 

‘Nothing matters. Everything is perfect.’

‘Words have not been created for this.’

‘I have nothing to say.’ 

The interviewer asks, ‘Who is seeing this?’ Itala: ‘I don’t know. And it doesn’t matter. Nothing matters.’ 

‘You had a fairly traumatised past,’ the interviewer begins. ‘How do those events appear to you now which for an average person would be very, very traumatic … in fact could turn many a person into the extreme of mental insanity or even suicide.’ 

Itala: ‘… it’s my wisdom … all of that has been my wisdom and the wise steps bringing me to this point.’ 

Itala responds to the interviewer’s question about how she relates to the perpetrator of her traumatic experiences: ‘(I had this) extreme feeling of “thank you” for giving me your wisdom. It was a total loving of this person, of “you are my wisdom”.’ 

She talks about the difference realisation has made in her life. She speaks of family, career, the future. We hear a bottom line statement:

‘I see perfection. And stillness. I have stillness. An immense, immense stillness.’ 

The reader should be aware that this movie does not give examples of Itala actually going through The Work. 

I thoroughly enjoyed the movie (even more the second time), the time spent with one whose history has disappeared, and the timeless scenes and sounds of Namibia.

 —Jerry Katz,



THE STORY OF THE FORGETFUL ICE LOLLIES by Kriben Pillay with full colour illustrations by Laura Pretorius (Softcover, 24 pp., Wandsbeck: The Noumenon Press, 2003, R60.00 / $12.00)

This is a well-written, bright and cheerfully illustrated book for children aged 8 to 88. It's a story about how we live without knowing our connection to source and how we regain that knowledge.

 The book begins, ‘Once upon a time, a long, long, long time ago, so long that even time was not yet born, there was just the sea (or something like the sea), and the sea became curious. Very curious. The sea wanted to know just how long it was, and wide, and deep, and everything else.’

To find this information, the sea makes gigantic ice lollies to send above its surface. Unfortunately the ice lollies, although beautiful, are very hard and not flexible enough to find out more than what lies on the surface of the sea. They cannot not see deeply enough into their common source, so they believe themselves to be separate. This leads to quarrelling and fighting, although there are times of togetherness and joy, too. Just like real life!

Displeased with the inability of the ice lollies to see their deep commonality, the sea creates a new kind of ice lolly which is made in a way that reveals to the other lollies their real nature. How the author and illustrator depict the ‘enlightened’ ice lolly is simple, brilliant and true.

The story culminates in a conversation between one ice lolly and the enlightened lolly. It follows the structure of The Work of Byron Katie.

If you know a child from age 8 to 88 who would absorb a teaching about the nature of reality and a teaching about how to melt stressful thoughts back to their source in that good sea, get them The Story of the Forgetful Ice Lollies. Like the enlightened ice lolly, it is simple, brilliant and true.

 —Jerry Katz, 

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