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Out of nowhere, like a cool 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 is.
Loving 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 more 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.”
Katie was once a stay-at-home mom in a desolate desert town. But in 1986, she experienced a sudden "awakening" that helped her accept the circumstances of her life, both pleasant and unpleasant, and make peace with "all that is." Now a leader of self-empowerment workshops, Katie has perfected her method for reaching inner peace, a process of releasing self-defeating thoughts and behaviors that she shares here. Katie's technique, called "the Work," consists primarily of listing the people whom one doesn't like and the reasons for disliking them, then answering four questions: Is your allegation about the person true? Can you absolutely know that it's true? How do you react when you believe that thought? Who would you be without that thought? Her book is full of real-life transcripts of Katie working with individuals on specific issues, illustrating how the Work can help those coping with marital infidelities, uncommunicative children, employee conflicts and a host of other situations. Eventually, Katie contends, it becomes second nature to apply the Work to every situation, thus ending personal suffering. The underlying theory that all suffering is caused solely by erroneous thinking is certainly not original (witness Anthony DeMello and others). Still, many will find these tools helpful for making peace with their reality.