read online Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life By Byron Katie – Intimatenights.co.uk

Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life I listened to part of the audio version of this book, but I couldn t finish it I first learned of this book from a smart, very successful woman who referenced it in a talk to 250 of my co workers She mentioned how life changing it was to determine what was her business, someone else s business or God s business That made sense, so I decided to check it out.My first dumbfounded moment was in her conversation with a mother who was struggling with her young son not doing his chores, not doing hi I listened to part of the audio version of this book, but I couldn t finish it I first learned of this book from a smart, very successful woman who referenced it in a talk to 250 of my co workers She mentioned how life changing it was to determine what was her business, someone else s business or God s business That made sense, so I decided to check it out.My first dumbfounded moment was in her conversation with a mother who was struggling with her young son not doing his chores, not doing his homework and sometimes lying When the author suggested that the mother needed to accept mediocrity because the world was all about mediocrity, I almost wrecked the car Yes, we might all be happier orcontent if we just accepted blanket mediocrity, but where would this world be Thank goodness many people refuse to accept mediocrity for themselves or their children.I was also disgusted by her nonsense that everyone s truth is equal That is patently untrue A member of the Taliban might determine what truth is for him, but most reasonable people will determine his truth is not equal to that of the most of the rest of the world Finally, the idea that we should just accept everything as is it is what it is she said over and over is absurd Again, where would we be with this notion We d still have slavery we wouldn t have civiil rights in this country we wouldn t have people devoting their lives to social justice, the eradication of disease and poverty, etc., etc., etc.I feel sorry for someone who believes the lies this woman is spouting Out Of Nowhere, Like A Breeze In A Marketplace Crowded With Advice, Comes Byron Katie And The Work In The Midst Of A Normal Life, Katie Became Increasingly Depressed, And Over A Ten Year Period Sank Further Into Rage, Despair, And Thoughts Of Suicide Then One Morning, She Woke Up In A State Of Absolute Joy, Filled With The Realization Of How Her Own Suffering Had Ended The Freedom Of That Realization Has Never Left Her, And Now In Loving What Is You Can Discover The Same Freedom Through The Work The Work Is Simply Four Questions That, When Applied To A Specific Problem, Enable You To See What Is Troubling You In An Entirely Different Light As Katie Says, It S Not The Problem That Causes Our Suffering It S Our Thinking About The Problem Contrary To Popular Belief, Trying To Let Go Of A Painful Thought Never Works Instead, Once We Have Done The Work, The Thought Lets Go Of Us At That Point, We Can Truly Love What Is, Just As It IsLoving What Is Will Show You Step By Step, Through Clear And Vivid Examples, Exactly How To Use This Revolutionary Process For Yourself You Ll See People Do The Work With Katie On A Broad Range Of Human Problems, From A Wife Ready To Leave Her Husband Because He Wants Sex, To A Manhattan Worker Paralyzed By Fear Of Terrorism, To A Woman Suffering Over A Death In Her Family Many People Have Discovered The Work S Power To Solve Problems In Addition, They Say That Through The Work They Experience A Sense Of Lasting Peace And Find The Clarity And Energy To Act, Even In Situations That Had Previously Seemed Impossible If You Continue To Do The Work, You May Discover, As Many People Have, That The Questioning Flows Into Every Aspect Of Your Life, Effortlessly Undoing The Stressful Thoughts That Keep You From Experiencing Peace Loving What Is Offers Everything You Need To Learn And Live This Remarkable Process, And To Find Happiness As What Katie Calls A Lover Of Reality This book about blew the top of my head off.Numerous times I had to sit back and contemplate the book for a long long time before I felt prepared to continue.I recommend this to EVERYBODY It s another one of those books that would improve the world by major leaps and bounds if everybody read it. I went into this with open eyes and mind and ended up being quite disappointed SPOILER ALERT The story that really sent me over the edge was the one of the abused woman She was sexually abused by her stepfather from about age 9.Byron Katie must not be a sexual abuse surivor because her work with this gal both appalling and insensitive To tell a victim that they need to admit they are guilty of some part of the abuse is incomprehensible to me And to tell a victim to put herself into th I went into this with open eyes and mind and ended up being quite disappointed SPOILER ALERT The story that really sent me over the edge was the one of the abused woman She was sexually abused by her stepfather from about age 9.Byron Katie must not be a sexual abuse surivor because her work with this gal both appalling and insensitive To tell a victim that they need to admit they are guilty of some part of the abuse is incomprehensible to me And to tell a victim to put herself into the abuser s shoes how he must feel about himself made me ill The abuse happened when this gal was a CHILD A child does not think or process information the same way an adult does It in no way was her fault I re read that chapter twice to make sure I was not missing anything that made me draw my initial conclusion, but I still felt the same after re reading That s when the book was put into the pile to go back to the library If you want a life changing book, then you need to read this one today It is so powerful Years ago, after months of dealing with post partum depression after giving birth to my first child, my GP suggested I talk to a therapist to help me through the depression I ended up seeing a cognitive therapist for a few months, which blew my mind I actually got the tools necessary to help me deal with my emotional reactions to situations going on around me Byron Katie, whose book is at heart cognitiv If you want a life changing book, then you need to read this one today It is so powerful Years ago, after months of dealing with post partum depression after giving birth to my first child, my GP suggested I talk to a therapist to help me through the depression I ended up seeing a cognitive therapist for a few months, which blew my mind I actually got the tools necessary to help me deal with my emotional reactions to situations going on around me Byron Katie, whose book is at heart cognitive therapy, was introduced into my life a few months ago when Sagar Simon, who counsels with The Work here in Amsterdam, gave a sample workshop at my women s networking group, Connecting Women I won the free coaching session with him in the group s raffle, at the end of which, my mind was blown again He suggested I read this book in order to continue my healing at my own pace The book s basic tenet is that all our suffering is caused by our attachment to the stories we create about our thoughts Here s a good example because it s raining in Holland It s raining That s the reality It s not causing me any stress or irritation However, the moment I start thinking that it shouldn t be raining, I get irritated and sad Now, the thought that it shouldn t be raining comes to me in thoughts like I m so tired of this weather if it s not warm and sunny I get depressed rain is such a pain because i get wet, etc This book has taught me that the rain isn t causing my irritation my irritation is caused when I attach my belief that it shouldn t be raining Who am I to determine whether or not it rains It s not my business whether or not it s raining that s Nature s business, not mine How about I stay in my own business How about I figure out what s really causing my irritation Here are the bits of brilliance that I refer to all the time 1 There are only three types of business mine, yours and the Universe s Whose am I in 2 Universe, spare me from seeking love, approval and appreciation.3 Reality never lies.Katie s Work isn t without controversy It can be hard to swallow because, once you start doing The Work, you ll be confronted with the idea that you cause your own suffering The beautiful part is that you can also deliver yourself from your suffering This is a hard review Her book and her questions, but mostly her interviews as examples have the potential to help a lot of people deal with interpersonal issues that she boils down to inner personal The problem I have is the potentially dangerous way that she applies a universal logic to dealing with complex problems The questions are general enough, and the answers are supposed to be generated by the people answering them Still, she makes it quite clear from the numerous case studies i This is a hard review Her book and her questions, but mostly her interviews as examples have the potential to help a lot of people deal with interpersonal issues that she boils down to inner personal The problem I have is the potentially dangerous way that she applies a universal logic to dealing with complex problems The questions are general enough, and the answers are supposed to be generated by the people answering them Still, she makes it quite clear from the numerous case studies in the book examples from her workshops that it s all about owning the bad things that happen to you My concern is for the danger of applying this technique to an admittedly small number of extreme cases, such as those who are victims of crime The dialogues follow a predictable pattern and if mapped onto, say, a rape victim, would end with the rape victim turning it around and concluding things such as I hate myself for being raped or if you really bungle the turn around I raped myself Clearly this is not Byron s intent, but a mass market paperback in the self help section is a potentially tragic lure for people who self treat despite needing the help of a serious professional.That said, I can t help but admit that the book provides a structure to dealing with conflicts and issues This structure, whether or not I like it, changed me as books should in a small way Probablythe case studies than the narrative The case studies revealed the complexities of the technique in ways that the oversimplified narrative could not Hmmm two stars Is that really true I ve got nothing against the message of this book or the questions it s build up around.It s just that it s all a littleshallowand simplistic.There s so muchto life, and people and their problems, and their stories, and their thinking and their feelings than Byron Katie acknowledges.Life is complex.And sometimes the way to clear your mind or look at life and things from a different perspective doesn t come in a 4 question package, no matter how well and often it has worked for oth I ve got nothing against the message of this book or the questions it s build up around.It s just that it s all a littleshallowand simplistic.There s so muchto life, and people and their problems, and their stories, and their thinking and their feelings than Byron Katie acknowledges.Life is complex.And sometimes the way to clear your mind or look at life and things from a different perspective doesn t come in a 4 question package, no matter how well and often it has worked for others.I get the questions I get it.And at times I think it can be a great tool.Questioning your own judgements and investigating your own feelings and looking at them from other perspectives can lead to many new insights and open your eyes to liberating perepctives and thoughts you ve never even considered But and there is a but at other times, I would have chosen a different path, a different wording, a different sensitivity, a different way to bring issues into perspectives Blame that on my psychology training or my personal taste, if you like, but the bottom line is this I understand the questions might work for some people in some situations but when it comes to whether or not these 4 questions are the answers to every problem for every person, everywhere, me and Byron Katie certainly differ.I guess I just dont belive in a one for all solution In my experience there are many paths to go, and I dont believe there is a cure them all or a saviour, or one and one only remedy for life s hardships or personal challenges.I found it disenchanting and troublesome how fundamentalisticly Byron believes in the power of these 4 questions as the sure and only way to salvation, if not now, then later on.Over and over again she claims that the work will surely lead to the solution to everyones problems, and if not, it surely wasn t the questions that could be at fault, noooo, of course it s thepeoplethat just hasn t done their work well enough, or was ready for its brilliance Dear Katie, I know they worked for you, and I m really happy for you, and it s very kind of you to share what has clearly brought you and others so much joy and peace, but claiming it is the right way and the only way for everyone else is at both a little arrogant, and potentially damaging to the people in question literally.There s a saying I forget who that I try to live by, that goes something a long the lines of Just because they aren t on your path, doesn t mean they ve gotten lost There are endless ways, paths and healing ways to go and not everyone benefits from the same things, It all depends on the journey they are on.This might beoneway, but I surely it is not theonlyway.And if you want to go beyond and beneath the surface level, I recommend you instead try to read Eckhart Tolle,The power of Now or Deepak Chopra sThe book of secrets Unlocking the hidden dimensions of your life To start, let me say I generally loathe self help books I don t like reading them, and most generally end up throwing the book out, or keeping it as a source of laughter material.I would not have read this book if I didn t have to for a book club, and when I first picked it up and started reading I was like Oh come on really But as I got further into the book, and really started to grasp exactly what she was trying to say, and trying to get people to implement in their lives The simplicit To start, let me say I generally loathe self help books I don t like reading them, and most generally end up throwing the book out, or keeping it as a source of laughter material.I would not have read this book if I didn t have to for a book club, and when I first picked it up and started reading I was like Oh come on really But as I got further into the book, and really started to grasp exactly what she was trying to say, and trying to get people to implement in their lives The simplicity of her steps, which breed deep insight in our own perceptions, and preconcieved notions that we may not necessarily be consciously aware of I found this book immensely helpful.This book is NOT for those who cannot self analyze at all, or do not have the ability to challenge their way of thinking in insightful ways For those, that do have the above abilities, and consider themselves extremely in touch with themselves this book may seem stupid and too simplistic on a cursory reading The beauty of her method is that it can be as deep and insightful as you make it, or as simplistically stupid as you see it The choice really is yours.Sometimes the hardest thing, is challenging and questioning ourselves because we already know our secrets and what buttons to push Lies are easy Truth is hard I have no idea how to star this One star because I think it s potentially dangerous Four stars because I think some of it could be helpful for some people Two stars because on balance I can t make up my mind I don t know Ultimately, I think Katie s concepts are too much for most people to digest without potentially having bad side effects The idea of letting go of the things we can t control other people, many of our thoughts, realizations that we re often our own problem and not the oth I have no idea how to star this One star because I think it s potentially dangerous Four stars because I think some of it could be helpful for some people Two stars because on balance I can t make up my mind I don t know Ultimately, I think Katie s concepts are too much for most people to digest without potentially having bad side effects The idea of letting go of the things we can t control other people, many of our thoughts, realizations that we re often our own problem and not the other person these are good realizations Most things in life that regard our interaction with others can be enhanced if we learn good boundaries and learn to understand it is only our thoughts about things that really affect us However, Katie s core philosophy borders on nihilism If taken to it s logical conclusion her methods could lead devotees towards a existential crisis from which one might never recover I can t in good conscience recommend the book for most people As I made my way through it, I kept having this unsettling feeling esp as I read the dialogues in it Eventually I figured out what was confusing and challenging about it I deeply resonate with a lot of her core principles and premises as they are ones I ve come to on my own , yet I have some very sharp disagreements with how they are applied This made it an odd book to read for me because usually when I resonate with the basic principles and premises an author is describing I usually also As I made my way through it, I kept having this unsettling feeling esp as I read the dialogues in it Eventually I figured out what was confusing and challenging about it I deeply resonate with a lot of her core principles and premises as they are ones I ve come to on my own , yet I have some very sharp disagreements with how they are applied This made it an odd book to read for me because usually when I resonate with the basic principles and premises an author is describing I usually also resonate with the way they suggest to live them out etc., but that was not the case here.I ll be specific.I totally agree with the idea of there being three types of business in the world, mine, yours and God s reality s However, the lines between these aren t always as clear as she tries to make them out to be for the sake of the work being able to be applied so simplistically and clearly I think For instance, if I want to have someone else be a part of my life in a significant way, and they are important to me, then how they choose to live and operate is going to have significant effects on me And I don t believe a healthy, integrated and sane adult just resigns to accept whatever the other person is doing just because it s not their business In that case, if they are in my life and I in theirs in that way, then the lines between our business may beinterdependent.What I m trying to say here is that I believe there is a healthy human place which acknowledges how we are affected by other people while not being codependent and can assertively navigate ask for what we need or want things without being attached by way of a neurotic ego Being assertive means we ask for what we want while letting go of the outcome and the answer if the answer is no So in some cases, loving what is, means accepting the fact that someone else s behavior affects us a certain way and then asking for help from them and compassionately communicating our needs while not demanding or expecting the other person to meet them as we understand our needs are ultimately our own responsibility and the other person may only be one strategy or source of meeting our needs.And, worst comes to worst, we may have to apply some boundaries with a person who we are wanting something from, but who doesn t genuinely have the willingness to give it to us A boundary says, I m not doing this to appease or upset you, I m doing it to take care of myself In this case, taking care of ourselves would be choosing the amount of involvement we have with someone who we want something from but who doesn t have the genuine willingness in them to give it to us So we can move on to other people and strategies without blaming them, though we allow ourselves, compassionately, to feel disappointed, and take that disappointment as our soul s wisdom that we do need to move on and set that boundary perhaps.Further on the topic of assertiveness though The poet David Whyte has this idea he talks about of the conversational nature of reality And the basic idea is that we bring our desires to the world and the world brings its desires to us and what happens is often something in between We don t get all of what we want from the world and the world doesn t get all that it wants from us What Katie s ideology here seems to reflect is a cutting off of the conversation because it s vulnerable and leaves us open to suffering So she advises just accepting whatever the world is like.However, we need to realize we are also a part of the world and do have some control over what happens and that a healthy adult realizes that and is able to be assertive without being attached Suffering is a part of life, and truly loving what is I m not sure that perfect acceptance negates all suffering True nonattachment and acceptance fearlessly admits our humanity and vulnerability, which includes us having wishes that are not fulfilled or are frustrated So being an integrated, healthy or sane adult does not mean we just give up what we want because it would be arguing with reality, as Katie reiterates many times.This took me awhile to figure out, as to why I wasn t jiving with her application of the basic premise of the book, which I agreed and agree with that it s generally muchhealthy to accept what is rather than resist or argue with it The serenity prayer guides a lot of my internal decision making But it seems that Katie only affirms half of it the acceptance of what we cannot change But there are indeed things we can change, and can exert effort towards without being attached neurotically though, granted, I do believe this takes a good amount of inner work and transformation before one can come to this point So I didn t see this point being affirmed that there is a necessity to seeking the wisdom to know the difference between what we truly can and cannot change Katie seems to opt for a rather black and white binary as to what we can and cannot change as, I imagine, this makes the work a lot simpler to apply.Okay, my other main disagreement is that the application of the work felt too rationalistic and, again, simplistic to me The reason being, a person who is applying the work is left with these binaries is it true or false when, what s usually the most helpful, I believe, is seeking understanding as to why or in what context something is true or false, not merely asking if it is or isn t.It was especially the third question of the work that bothered me the most Who would you be without this thought and Can you think of one stress free reason to keep this thought Asking those questions leaves no room for understanding or empathizing with the legitimate reasons why we have a judgment, resistance, should or pain in life or towards someone And I believe that the most powerful place of transformation is in understanding the motivation for why we are operating in a certain manner and then figuring out if there might be a better way to meet the needs motivating our behaviors But the way the work sets it up is that one is only meant to inquire as to whether the thought creates stress or peace, and then we are asked to let the thought let go of us I did appreciate her clarification that she isn t asking people to drop the thought or to try to drop it on the basis of realizing it s not helping us feel peaceful or happy.However, all emotions are meaningful and necessary to becoming aintegrated human being Stress, depression or unhappiness are the not our enemies, merely the signals that perhaps we are seeking to meet a need of ours through an inefficient or unrealistic strategy And determining whether a strategy is inefficient or unrealistic is a very personal and intuitive process that requires a good amount of self awareness and wisdom.In Non Violent Communication they say that all judgments are tragic expressions of unmet needs And this is why we can have compassion on judgments the judgments of others and our own judgments So that is the kind of understanding I have found to be most helpful Whereas, what Katie seems to be suggesting is a judgment of the judgment and trying to resolve it by the mere realization that it seems to be causing us stress or may not be true from another perspective.However, something may be true for us and there are good reasons why we have any judgment we have There are certain needs within us that are trying to be expressed, though we may not know how else to express them but to have a judgment or resistance to something or someone So I find that the place of transformation is not in merely rationalistically observing whether we feel stressed or at peace with a thought, but seeking to compassionately understand every part of ourselves, even the parts of ourselves that have judgments and resistances and then letting those parts of ourselves speak so that we might understand what they are wanting and why rather than hoping they dissipate with the simple realizing that they are causing us stress or that we would feelhappy without them.I ll give an example In the chapter of dialogues on relationships and family she talks with Justin who is struggling because he feels that his family doesn t accept him or his way of life and they just want him to conform to theirs But the way Katie speaks with him, she leads him to the conclusion that it is him that s being unreasonable or unaccepting because he s equally not accepting their nonacceptance of him essentially.This, to me, reads essentially as trying to judge our judgments out of ourselves rather than compassionately understand them and resolve them which is what I find to work a lot better personally, and from my understanding of human nature as a psychologist.With Justin, what I would have tried to lead him to would be a compassionate understanding of his legitimate need and desire for acceptance It s not his need for acceptance which is causing stress, it s the unrealistic strategy of trying to have it met through his family, which, in reality, doesn t, in his experience, have the willingness or ability to meet that need You see what I m saying There is a muchhelpful understanding in realizing the needs which motivate our resistances and judgments are legitimate, human and reasonable What may not be reasonable or sane is the various strategies we may be entrenched in trying to meet those needs Maybe Justin, after truly accepting that his family may not be able to meet that need of his right now , seeks to find other friends or groups of people who are willing and able to meet that need of his whereas, the work seemed to just have him bucket the need and strategy together, when it was only the strategy that needed adjustment perhaps.That s what I think is ahealthy way of loving what is It s not necessary to judge or demonize our resistances or judgments as being insane because they argue with reality Our needs are important, legitimate and real as human beings What may not always be wise, reasonable or sane is the various ways we seek to have our needs met that simply probably won t, or won t right now.I have to admit that I didn t manage to finish the book after I had these epiphanies as to why I cringed so much during the dialogues in the book So to be fair, maybe Katie addresses some of these things that I ve hit on here, I m not sure Also, to be fair, and to live out the ideology I m expressing here, I am imagining that it s possible Katie is just making the work overtly simple in order to bridge people over into aintegrated and mature perspective and so maybe my disagreements stem from that just seeing where there are some very important nuances and elements to understand in order to truly and most healthily love what is, in my experience at least I will also say that I did find the simplicity and clarity of the work to be helpful in many regards too, as reminders to me of how I can live out the principles of acceptance for what is and what I cannot control better e.g the recognition that should statements in most cases signify nonacceptance or resistances that I d do well to explore This was a helpful reminder for me to think about what areas I still have should statements in and to explore why.Some closing notes I believe the model of cognitive behavioral therapy and its recognition of cognitive distortions to be ahelpful way of working through resistances to reality Katie only asks in the work whether something is true or not but I find that you come to a place of transformation and resolution much quicker if you can understand how or why something is true or not and that s the useful part of the understanding of cognitive distortions as they are common biases or ways of thinking and perceiving that are ungrounded and unhelpful and that are often the source of a lot of our suffering and inability to face and accept what is In addition, I d recommend aforementioned model of non violent communication NVC and its understanding of observations, feelings, needs and requests strategies.There are indeed some great principles in this book, ones that I deeply resonate with and that have been a part of philosophies like Taoism and Buddhism for centuries However, there are some key nuances that I believe Katie seems to miss, which made the application of the work too simplistic and rationalistic, and ultimately not as effective as it could be if it incorporated ahumanistic and compassionate understanding of the psyche and our needs as human beings That being said, I could concede that perhaps this could be an excellent and life changing book for a person beginning to be exposed to such principles or philosophies But those who are already familiar with them will probably be wasting their time trying to find something significantly insightful or transformative here other that perhaps just a reminder of and another way to word principles they are already aware of


About the Author: Byron Katie

Byron Kathleen Mitchell, better known as Byron Katie, is an American speaker, writer, and founder of a method of self inquiry called The Work of Byron Katie or simply The Work.Katie became severely depressed in her early thirties She was a businesswoman and mother who lived in Barstow, a small town in the high desert of southern California For nearly a decade she spiraled down into paranoia, rage, self loathing, and constant thoughts of suicide for the last two years she was often unable to leave her bedroom Then, one morning in February 1986, while in a halfway house for women with eating disorders, she experienced a life changing realization In that moment, she says,I discovered that when I believed my thoughts, I suffered, but that when I didn t believe them, I didn t suffer, and that this is true for every human being Freedom is as simple as that I found that suffering is optional I found a joy within me that has never disappeared, not for a single moment Soon afterward people started seeking her out and asking how they could find the freedom that they saw in her As reports spread about the transformations they felt they were experiencing through The Work, she was invited to present it publicly elsewhere in California, then throughout the United States, and eventually in Europe and across the world.The Work has been compared to the Socratic method and to Zen meditation, but Katie is not aligned with any religion or tradition She describes self inquiry as an embodiment, in words, of the wordless questioning that had woken up in her on that February morning She has shared The Work with millions of people at public events, in prisons, hospitals, churches, V A treatment centers, corporations, universities, and schools Participants at her weekend workshops, the nine day School for The Work, and the twenty eight day residential Turnaround House report profound experiences and lasting transformations Katie s events are riveting to watch, the Times of London reported Eckhart Tolle calls The Work a great blessing for our planet And Time magazine named Katie a spiritual innovator for the new millennium Katie is married to the writer and translator Stephen Mitchell, who co wrote Loving What Is, A Thousand Names for Joy, and A Mind at Home with Itself I Need Your Love Is That Truewas written with Michael Katz, her literary agent at the time Her other books are Question Your Thinking, Change The World Who Would You Be Without Your Story Peace in the Present Moment,with Eckhart Tolle, A Friendly Universe,and, for children, Tiger Tiger, Is It Trueand The Four Questions. On her website thework.com, you will find detailed instructions about The Work video and audio clips Katie s calendar of events event registration free downloads, including the Judge Your Neighbor Worksheet interviews apps for your iPhone, iPad, or Android a free newsletter a free helpline and the online store You might also want to visit Katie s Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook pages, and her live streaming webcast page, livewithbyronkatie.com.


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