Books: Byron Katie’s “Loving What Is”, by Victoria Anisman-Reiner

“When I argue with reality, I lose–but only 100 percent of the time. How do I know the wind should blow? It’s blowing!”

–Byron Katie, Loving What Is

When Byron Katie woke up in a halfway house in 1986 with her longstanding depression gone, her heart full of joy and everything around her clear and “unrecognizable,” she had no idea that the healing process that took place overnight within her would be something that she could share. Today, over twenty years later, Katie’s loving model of “inquiry” or “The Work” is widely taught and has altered the lives of thousands of people.

It’s a simple model; so simple, it seems almost unbelievable that it could work so effectively to heal old wounds, break through falsehoods and depression, lift spirits and change lives.

By asking four simple questions, Katie teaches, we can uncover the lies in our personal stories and develop greater understanding and acceptance of what is, instead of what we think “should” be.

“A thought is harmless unless we believe it. It’s not our thoughts, but the attachment to our thoughts, that causes suffering.”

Despite the power of inquiry to change how we live our lives, we can never let go of our thinking, Katie says. We can only learn to see our thoughts and beliefs for what they are – stories about our families, friends, work lives, and passions that we have no way of proving – and then the thoughts let go of us.

The Work requires us to honestly express our anger, sadness and frustrations – and then take the emotionally loaded statements that define our belief systems and examine them through a new lens. Katie asks four simple questions that allow people to reconsider their thinking about any situation, problem, dilemma or hurt:

  • 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?

The basis of The Work can be learned from Byron Katie’s first book, Loving What Is, which includes “Judge thy Neighbour” worksheets and numerous examples of The Work in action. Katie’s website, thework.com, also offers a wealth of video clips of Katie working with people at workshops and lectures.

Byron Katie’s teachings are simple but incredibly profound, and this book has the potential to be truly transformative for anyone who chooses to use inquiry on their own anxieties and belief systems.

“I am a lover of what is, not because I’m a spiritual person, but because it hurts when I argue with reality.”

Victoria Anisman-Reiner is a freelance writer who specializes in copywriting for holistic health professionals. With a background in natural health that began in early childhood, she has trained in Energy Medicine, EFT, dowsing, and is a certified clinical aromatherapist and a certified practitioner of EDxTM energy psychology. Today, Victoria helps therapists and wellness practitioners communicate the heart and soul of their work and promote their services. Her website is TheNaturalWriter.com.