Sherlock Holmes and The Work of Byron Katie

stars and moon in the trees
Even the moonlight was enough light for Sherlock Holmes to see things clearly.

I’ve Been Reading The Complete Sherlock Holmes

And I highly recommend it (two 700 page volumes).

What an amazing writer Sir Aurthur Conan Doyle was! Even though it was written over a hundred years ago, I am drawn into each story as if it were happening today.

As I’ve been reading, I’ve noticed a similarity between Sherlock Holmes’ methods of investigation and my own methods of investigation when I do The Work.

We’re Both Trying to Find the Truth

And we’re both working with partial evidence. And to be impartial, we both have to keep a very open mind when examining the facts.

In “The Boscombe Valley Mystery,” Serlock says, “Circumstantial evidence is a very tricky thing, it may seem to point very straight to one thing, but if you shift your own point of view a little, you may find it pointing in an equally uncompromising manner to something entirely different.”

This Is Exactly What The Work Is About

It’s about shifting your own point of view a little.

Here are the main ways I experience The Work inviting me to shift my point of view:

1. Simply by asking, “Is that true?” (question 1 of The Work). This question alone starts me looking for other points of view. Could I be missing something?

2. By asking, “How do you react, what happens, when you think that thought?” (question 3 of The Work). This question shifts my focus from the other person being the cause of my suffering to a thought being the cause of my suffering.

3. By asking, “Who would you be without the thought?” (question 4 of The Work). This question invites me to step completely out of my current paradigm and explore the same situation without the stressful thought. This often brings a radical shift in my point of view. I often experience that the suffering really was thought-created, and not necessary.

4. The turnarounds and their examples are another area where I find myself shifting my point of view completely–in this case by considering the exact opposite of what I believe. This often leads to radical new point of view for me.

Having gone through so many shifts of perspective in doing The Work on any situation, it is often very difficult to look at the situation in the same way again.

Which Leads Us to Another Parallel to Sherlock Holmes

In the “Case of Identity,” Sherlock says, “It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important.”

And this is exactly my experience when doing The Work. The most trivial worksheet often yields the most profound results. And the most insignificant example for a turnaround often shifts my point of view most completely.

I invite you to do some sleuthing with us next week by joining the weekly Open Session, where I facilitate anyone who would like to do The Work, or answer any questions about The Work.

Have a great week,

“The point is not to find the most turnarounds, but to find the ones that bring you the shift to self-realization, the enlightenment that sets you free from the nightmare you’re innocently attached to.” Byron Katie, Loving What Is.

Todd Smith has been doing The Work of Byron Katie on an almost daily basis since 2007. He is just as excited about this simple process of self-inquiry today as he was when he first came across it. He also enjoys writing about The Work, and training others in the subtleties of this meditative process. Join Todd for The Work 101 online course, private sessions, virtual retreats, and his ongoing Inquiry Circle group.