Book –Loving what is
Author – Byron Katie
Genre – Self-Help
Published in –2002
When you think that someone or something other than yourself needs to change, you’re mentally out of your business.– Byron Katie
Loving what is in my opinion is a mix of self-help and spiritual book. A self-help book for it helps to put things in their right place, and spiritual for it helps put every disturbing thought under inquiry, which leads to a calm place inside our head.
What’s true is always what’s happening, not the story about what should be happening. We don’t attach to people or to things; we attach to uninvestigated concepts that we believe to be true at the moment.
Katie provides a different way to look at life and encourages readers to ask four questions (which Katie calls The Work or inquiry) and free themselves from unnecessary traps created by thoughts.
About the Book –
The book Loving What Is describes the method Katie came up with through her experience of recovering from a decade-long downward spiral of depression and personal problems.
The work has striking similarities with Zen Kaon and Socratic dialogue, yet it doesn’t stem from any tradition eastern or western. It is originated in the mind of Katie who had no intention of originating anything.
Katie came up with four questions that can put any internal chaos to rest. As you read the book full of live workshop conversation or rather questioning processes, you will be convinced of the transformation these four questions can bring in life.
Four Question –
- Is it true?
- Can you absolutely know that it’s true?
- How do you react when you think that thought?
- Who would you be without the thought?
Few Basic Principle of The Work –
1. Noticing When your Thoughts Argue with Reality –
- Wanting things/people the way they should be, is arguing with reality. These thoughts are ways of wanting reality to be different than it is.
- Which is more empowering? — “I wish I hadn’t lost my job” or “I lost my job; what can I do now?” Katie is a lover of what is, not because She’s a spiritual person, but because it hurts when we argue with reality.
2. Staying in your own business –
- She claims there are only three kinds of business in the universe: mine, yours, and God’s. (For me, the word God means “reality.” Reality is God, because it rules. Much of our stress comes from mentally living out of our own business.
- To think that I know what’s best for anyone else is to be out of my business. Even in the name of love, it is pure arrogance, and the result is tension, anxiety, and fear.
3. Meeting your thoughts with understanding –
- A thought is harmless unless we believe it. It’s not our thoughts, but the attachment to our thoughts, that causes suffering.
4. Becoming aware of your Stories –
- Stories are the untested, uninvestigated theories that tell us what all these things mean. We don’t even realize that they’re just theories.
5. Looking for the thought behind the suffering –
- Behind every uncomfortable feeling, there’s a thought that isn’t true for us. Once you understand, through inquiry, that an untrue thought causes suffering, you move away from it.
6. Inquiry –
- Katie claims that we have all the answer within us, if only we can inquire every thought instead of getting attached to it and get carried away in reaction.
- You’re either attaching to your thoughts or inquiring. There’s no other choice.
How to do the Work?
Step 1 – Putting the Mind into Paper –
- For thousands of years, we have been taught not to judge, but let’s face it, we still do it all the time. This may not seem easy to put it on paper, despite us judging people all the time.
- Katie advises that we must do the work with pen and paper rather than doing it mentally. Writing things down will have total different results.
Step 2 – Putting Written Statements Under Inquiry –
Once you complete writing about it whether it is any person, past memory, or future worries, it is time to ask four questions.
1 Is It True?
- Without the “should” and “shouldn’t,” we can see reality as it is, and this leaves us free to act efficiently, clearly, and sanely.
- Whose business are you in? (Mine, yours, or God’s) When you think that someone or something other than yourself needs to change, you’re mentally out of your business.
2 Can You Absolutely Know That It’s True?
- Finding proof of truth? When we get answer of question 1 and 2 yes, we should look for proofs, and take our inquiry into more depth.
3 How Do You React When You Think That Thought?
- As you ask this questions, you will feel the feeling of uneasiness, you need to stay with it, recognize it, see it with understanding.
- There is additional question to no 3, Can you see a reason to drop that thought? & can you find one stress-free reason to keep the thought?
- Katie doesn’t suggest dropping any thoughts and explains that Inquiry is not about getting rid of thoughts; it’s about realizing what’s true for you, through awareness and unconditional self-love.
4 Who Would You be Without That Thought?
- People often answers like free, peaceful, relaxed, yet you would only know what you would be once you try this question along with other three questions or independently this one alone.
5 The Turnaround –
- Katie explains that turnaround is very important. When we take what we wrote for others and applies to ourselves we realize that we are kept captive only by our stories.
- The turnaround in action – Katie suggests that putting turn around in action means, implementing all the “should or shouldn’t” we think of others on us and apologizing as we do turnaround for judging people.
Doing the Work on Underlying Beliefs –
- Underlying beliefs are broader, more general versions of our stories. They’re like religions that we unconsciously live.
- My life should have purpose – putting this underlying belief under inquiry will liberate you and freed you from stress and worry we feel, when we keep thinking that we should have some purpose, what we are doing is not important or big enough to be considered as purpose.
- Katie explains that underlying beliefs are in most cases the reason for our unhappiness and doing the work on these underlying belief can improve all aspects our life.
I have also created a video of a few quotes from the book. Please do subscribe to YouTube channel self-help books quotes- Myread4change –
The work can be done on any life situtaion, anything that’s bothering you. I would like to end this summary with below beautiful statement from the book.
“Every thought, every person, every apparent problem is here for the sake of your freedom. When you experience anything as separate or unacceptable, inquiry can bring you back to the peace you felt before you believed that thought.“
You may follow Byron Katie and her work on her website –
Thank for your time. Wish you a good luck with The Work.