Book Review: Loving What Is

Loving What Is: Four questions that can change your life,”
by Byron Katie with Stephen Mitchell,
March 2002,
Harmony books, Hardcover, 304 pages, $24,Audio book, $30

Book Review by Lana Wheeler, Licensed Massage Therapist

The Greek philosopher Epictetus stated, “We are disturbed not by what happens to us but by our thoughts about what happens.” Many great teachers, such as Ramana Maharshi, have discovered that by investigating our thoughts, we have the possibility of discovering who we really are without them.

“Loving What Is: Four questions that can change your life,” written by Byron Katie with Stephen Mitchell is one of the most powerful books I’ve read that literally gives me a tool for this investigation. In what Byron Katie calls “The Work,” I’ve been able to go deep within with four questions and a turn-around and discover how my thoughts create stress or peace in my life.

What I appreciate about the book is that it isn’t limited to pages of conceptual information. There are examples of actual dialogues between Katie and others on a variety of issues. Each person slowly unravels the thoughts that have had them in fear, anxiety , anger, sorrow and often separation from themselves and the people they love. After investigating a thought, often a painful story will drop and another possiblity arises.

The Work of Byron Katie is experiencial and “Loving What Is: Four questions that can change your life,” allows me to experience what happens inside of myself when I attach to a thought, unravel the thought, drop the painful story that the thought creates, rather than reading about how it might happen if I could just figure out a way to be “spiritual” enough to get there. As Katie says, “The teacher you need is the person you’re living with,” and as I read, listen to and do The Work of Byron Katie, it has become clear to me that the teacher I’ve always been looking for is within.

I also highly recommend “Loving What is: Four questions that can change your life,” on tape, which consists of a set of six cassette tapes and a work sheet. The audio book is read by the authors and the dialogues were recorded at workshops and events where people worked personally with Katie.

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