Byron Katie - "Loving What Is"

Four Questions That Can Save Your Life


When Byron Katie wrote Loving What Is she handed us an incredibly simple, powerful tool, gave us some simple directions and examples of how it might be used and then stepped back inviting us to see what we could do with it.


From Stephen Mitchell's introduction that opens with the following quote from Spinoza

"The more you clearly understand yourself and your emotions, the more you become a lover of what is."

to Byron Katie's final chapter on doing the Work in your own life, the book is a coherent mix of what, why, and how.


For me at least, a funny thing often happens somewhere between an acceptance of the notion that what is is and truly acting as if it were. When it is my life there can seem to be an endless storehouse of "reasons" why, for me in this circumstance at least, it's different. And yet, our tendency to do exactly this is no secret.


Apparently, in the way Spinoza meant it I don't "clearly understand" at that moment. And that is where Byron Katie comes in with her four questions and guidelines for doing the work ourselves.

Byron Katie points out that The Work consists of just four questions

Byron Katie - "Loving What Is"

In the book she describes it this way - -

  • "The Work is merely four questions; it's not even a thing.
  • It has no motives, no strings.
  • It's nothing without your answers.
  • These four questions will join any program you've got and enhance it.
  • Any religion you have - they'll enhance it.
  • If you have no religion, they'll bring you joy.
  • And they'll burn up anything that isn't true for you. They'll burn through to the reality that has always been waiting." Loving What Is, pg. xxvii.

It really is that simple! Now all you have to do is do it.

Actually, typing 100 words a minute or reading 800 words a minute or playing the piano are really quite simple too at the core. The part where most of us run into trouble is after the teacher says "OK, that's right. Now just do that over and over until you can do it the way you want to."

For me at least, there was some of this "ok now just keep doing it" in doing the Work myself, but by following along the suggestions from the book it has gotten to be quite effective for me incredibly quickly.

Some tips on using the 4 questions were helpful too

  • Noticing when thoughts, beliefs, assumptions argue with what is
  • Recognizing that there are only three kinds of business, your own, other people's, and God's (which she uses to mean reality) and that staying in our your wn brings peace and comfort
  • Viewing your thoughts as neither true or false, but rather as just being your thoughts and not getting attached to them until we have subjected them to inquiry

she goes on to state each of the four questions, give specific directions for how to work with them (you do your own work in writing), and then gives a examples of doing the work on a number of different topics.


The presentation is remarkably clear and clean. Clear on what to do. Clean on not pushing a specific set of beliefs about what you should find in your process.

It is very doable and I recommend it highly.   In addition to the book, you can get a great deal of specific information on doing this style of personal inquiry at www.thework.com

It dovetails quite well with Michael Brown's Presence Process and though they both state their belief that the process is essentially empty of values until you find and insert your own truth, I think that she succeeds at this better than Michael Brown.


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