Loving What is – Byron Katie
In Loving What Is, Katie – as she calls herself – challenges your thoughts and processes to the very max.
This book is really for those who are looking for the truth. Those who are ready to hear it. Most importantly, those who are willing to dig deep, get humble and deal with internal humility. And those who are willing to create awareness, understand, forgive themselves, find new paths and learn how to be at peace with their lives and others.
If I’m honest, I first picked Loving What Is up at the beginning of my coaching journey. I read the first few chapters, I put it back on my shelf and didn’t pick it back up for several months because it totally overwhelmed me. I just wasn’t ready to deal with it.
I still feel the self-awareness that you might want to have before you read this book on your own is a valuable starting point but that shouldn’t stop you from trying.
The concepts in Loving What Is are quite difficult to digest if you’re not willing to see where Katie’s coming from. She herself had to go through something quite drastic to have created ‘The Work’.
The idea that we’re not in control, pretty much of anything except our own thinking about a situation, is quite a revelation.
What happens happens; it’s reality, it’s pointless fighting with it. Our thinking about it, however, and the emotions we associate with our thinking are where problems are caused EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.
How does it work?
You start by completing a form about someone or something that’s causing you pain. It could be your boss, your partner, your parent, your child, your neighbour, anyone who you feel should be different to who they are for whatever reason.
Then you ask it 4 questions.
Is it true?
Can you absolutely know it’s true?
How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
Who would you be without the thought?
And then the key once you’ve worked through this is to turn it around and realise that the problem is coming from you and your thinking, not the situation.
Sound a little too simple?
The idea of things being true is a biggie for me. Of course things are true, that’s why I’m thinking them, right?
Is it true that your boss shouldn’t shout at you? Or that your partner should love you more? How do you know that those things aren’t true? They are, because they’re happening. That’s the reality. Things happen all the time. They’re already gone by the time you’re stopped being in that moment. It’s then for your brain to take over and decide what to do with the information of what happened.
You can either attach negative emotions to whatever happened, feel like it shouldn’t have happened, resent the other person because it happened or you can realise what kind of free, peace-filled person you’d be without those thoughts. Is that truer for you?
She doesn’t suggest that you drop your thoughts, they’re your thoughts and it’s not possible for you to stop thinking. Your thinking just kind of always happens, but when the thoughts bring you pain or discomfort, then she suggests you do The Work on them to work out why.
In the final part of The Work is the turnaround.
Literally, you turn the statement of the other person around and you point it at yourself. This is where the real truth kicks in.
For example, you may think someone else is selfish because of something that they have done. It has resonated with you in some way and maybe at some point you have been selfish (or still are) and you need to work on that.
Maybe you feel someone should love you more or listen to you more, turn that around, maybe you should love yourself more or listen to yourself more. Does that feel like it’s truer for you than the resentment you have for the other person because they ‘should’ love or listen to you more? Maybe you should love or listen to the other person more?
The fact is, they shouldn’t love or listen to you more because they haven’t; that’s the reality because it is what is right now.
What you do with that information is up to you. The exercise is all about gaining awareness. There’s no cheat sheet on what to do after that, unfortunately!
Gaining clarity and peace inside yourself will lead to actions created from love and a place of inner peace. These actions are far more productive than actions developed from anger or resentment. Who would you be if you didn’t have the bad feelings trapped inside you?
It’s pretty hard to explain it in a short blog piece. The book goes through plenty of examples to help you work it out for yourself when you’re ready. There are even some really hard hitting examples such as incest, war and death of a child. She’s helped many people over the years find peace. And that’s so powerful.
There’s a pretty fab website that she’s put together where you can download the worksheets and have a quick explanation of how it all works and if you love that, I would suggest you read the book to further develop your skills of doing The Work.
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