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The Photography Principle

The same old apple orchard looks very different when you change your perspective. This is exactly what The Work of Byron Katie is all about… changing perspective.

Still Having Trouble Wrapping Your Mind Around The Work?

When you’re new to The Work, it may seem a bit elusive to understand. What exactly is The Work? Surprisingly, photography gives some insight.

I was a professional photographer for about seven years. I photographed weddings for four years, and was a nature photographer for three. If there’s one thing I learned about photography, it’s that the angle you choose when taking a photo makes all the difference.

The Work Is Very Similar

Instead of observing trees or flowers, as you do in photography, you observe stressful situations through the lens of The Work. And like photography, you observe them from different angles.

The most common angle, the angle we all start from each time we write a new Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet, is the angle of the victim. That’s the stressful angle. And that’s usually the angle we’re stuck in.

That might be like trying to photograph the orchard above with a tree right in front of the lens. It would be frustrating, ugly, annoying. You might think photography doesn’t work until you realize that you can move your camera to a better angle.


Here I was literally lying on the ground looking up at these tulips when I photographed them. The tulips are the same, but the experience is totally different.

The Work Simply Suggests a Change of Angle

Let’s say you had found a stressful situation involving a colleague from work. And you had identified the stressful thought, “He should include me.” That stressful thought is the victim angle. And questions 3 and 4 of The Work confirm it.

The turnarounds then invite you to explore other points of view, other angles for seeing the same situation. For example, the turnaround, “I should include me,” opens up an interesting realm to explore. As does the turnaround, “I should include him.”

These turnarounds could keep you so busy exploring new ways of being that you don’t have time to worry about the original stressful statement, “He should include me.” You are no longer the victim of that stressful point of view.

Finally, the turnaround, “He shouldn’t include me,” can give insight into why he does what he does. It is an invitation to look for ways to understand this person who doesn’t include you, and to put yourself in his shoes.

The Only Thing You Play With Is Your Angle

If you’re stuck with a tree trunk in your way while you’re trying to photograph an orchard, there are two ways to make it better. One way is to carry a chainsaw with you. The other is to move around and try different angles for your photography.

Photographers don’t carry chainsaws and yet, in personal life, we often try to chainsaw our way out of stressful situations all the time. We want our spouses to change, not us. We want our children to act more grown up, not us. We want our bosses to think of us first, not the other way around. And when we meet resistance we think the only way forward is to use force. We think the world must change.

The Work simply reminds us that there is another way. “Have you tried moving the camera over here?” That’s what The Work quietly asks us. “Have you tried looking at your stressful situation from this angle yet?”

I Play With This Shifting of Perspective Every Time I Do The Work

The same situation that seemed stressful before doing The Work suddenly becomes interesting, even beautiful, when a different angle is considered.

If you’re new to The Work, I invite you to give it a try today. Consider it an adventure in photography. To learn this practice of self-inquiry, take The Work 101 course.