Loving What Is: The Work by Byron Katie

Byron Katie

Loving What Is: The Work

Every once in awhile, a book comes out that is a real watershed moment in terms of helping us to see reality from a different perspective.

Byron Katie’s Loving What Is, is just such a book.

After a difficult life filled with many problems, among them alcohol abuse, she woke up one day to realize that she had been filling her head with all kinds of “stories” that had been making her life miserable and unworkable.

The Work Is Born

After thinking about her situation and the thoughts that she had been thinking about her reality, what emerged was that essentially she herself was creating her own “personal” interpretation or “spin” on reality, and it was making her life miserable and unworkable.

Loving What Is: The Core Concepts

In Byron Katie’s book, Loving What Is, she lays down 4 fundamental questions.

Questions that anyone can use at anytime, to come up with a completely different view of one’s perceived reality.

The 4 Questions:

  1. Is that true?

Each day we make dozens if not hundreds of statements, either to ourselves or others without examining the absolute truth of those statements.

For example, if we had plans with somebody and they are late, we may say something like this:

“They are so inconsiderate. I swear they are doing it on purpose”

Often times we say or think statements like this without any challenge whatsoever. We become judge, jury, and executioner in our minds.

2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true?

Upon challenging the statement above, how do we know that it is absolutely true?

Have we asked the person whether they are deliberately trying to be late to upset us?

Or have we falsely concluded, oftentimes to our advantage, without checking in to see what may be going on inside of that person.

3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?

This is key!

When we think thoughts like: “They are so inconsiderate. I swear they are doing it on purpose.” we often feel and make ourselves upset.

We feel badly by thinking a thought that we have often not taken the time to substantiate, and may let it cloud or ruin our day, or days even. Things may go on even longer.

All because we may have assumed, and we went on to form a negative judgment about the person’s character instead of their behaviour.

4. Who would you be without the thought?

This is an incredible question if you think about it!

What it hints at, is that we have the power to determine how we feel, by deciding how we will think!

If we didn’t think this thought: “They are so inconsiderate. I swear they are doing it on purpose,” what might happen?

We might not get upset. What might even go so far as to say:

“We might not upset ourselves!”

Now isn’t that taking full responsibility for our emotions and well-being on a level that we are mostly not accustomed to.

The thought, that by choosing our thoughts and our interpretations of events differently, that we are able to change “How We Feel” and “To Free Ourselves”.

Thoughts are things. They effect how we feel.

But who is forcing us to think those thoughts?

I know… I know…. if only they weren’t doing that thing that ticks us off so much, then we could be happy. Is that too much to ask?

It may or may not be, but I would suggest that one thing may be clearer, that in that moment, we are giving the responsibility and the power over our happiness into the hands of another.

And that is a formula for feeling powerless, and in the worse case, depressed.

If our happiness depends upon whether someone does or says something, then we have a problem!

The Turnaround

This is where Byron Katie really takes us into an extraordinary way of looking at things differently!

If we return back to the sample sentence that I used for step 1:

“They are so inconsiderate. I swear they are doing it on purpose.”

Byron Katie would have us look at this statement and “turn it around.”

For example, instead of “They are so inconsiderate”, is it possible that WE are being inconsiderate by not bothering to think that something may have come up for the other person and is causing them to be late?

Possible turnarounds that causes us to look at OUR OWN behaviour and thinking is:

Am I being considerate?

Is this all about me?

Am I living my life on purpose?

These are but a few possible examples, of how Byron Katie might suggest we turnaround our initial thoughts, and examine them more deeply.

The Conclusion

In reading Loving What Is we may come away with the incredibly powerful realization, that it was always us who was insulting us!

That what we think has so much more power to effect how we feel then what anybody could possibly say or do!

There are exceptions of course, but in large part, we may find it powerfully revealing to see how what we think, and how we interpret things, people and events, is incredibly much more powerful in determining our state of mind and emotions.

Once we wake up to this powerful realization, we may then think:

Do I want to give up my own personal happiness and well-being to what someone else says or does?

The book provides a rare and amazing opportunity to see the workings of a great mind, gently and genuinely asking and challenging a client about how they feel, and how they can change their thoughts for the better.

Let me know what you think if you decide to read Loving What Is. Would love to hear your take on it.




Happy New Year’s Counselling?


New Year’s Counselling?

The start of the new year brings hope for a fresh start. It is hardly the time that people like to think about, let alone consider counselling!

The sad part is, that while each new year does bring fresh hope, unfortunately it also brings with it the same problems that we had on December 31st.

Those problems seem to follow us around like our shadows.

Just because it is a new year, and we may feel full of hope, that hope can soon turn to despondency, unless we actually DO something different.

If We Keep Doing What We’re Doing….

The calendar may change, but chances are that we continue to do the same things that we have always done, and we will therefore logically get the same results.

It seems quite obvious when we look at it like this, but there is a HUGE difference between reading something, and actually seeing the patterns in our lives.

So… as we have so often heard, “if we keep doing the same thing over and over again, expecting the same results” that is what we typically define as “insanity”.

Just REALIZING that we are doing the same thing over and over again, and stuck in the same patterns can be a great realization.

Doing Something Different!

Sometimes it may be helpful to get an outside perspective.

This is where counselling may be helpful. A counsellor can help provide an objective perspective, and help you to see connections and patterns that you may be missing.

The fact that we are hurting or feeling pain, is the signal that things aren’t working for us. We can often feel strongly motivated to work through our issues and find relief from pain.

But knowing where to look, can help cut down on the amount of pain and suffering that we need feel, and also help us get out of our “stuckness” much sooner.

For some, counselling may just be that edge that can help someone overcome their suffering and “stuckness”, and break through to a new level of well-being.

If you’d like help to break free from troubling patterns, please feel free to contact me to set up an appointment.

Happy New Year!




How To Deal With Change…

How to deal with change

Dealing With Change

How to deal with change is something that we all deal with in our daily lives. Some of us deal with change better than others. Some people just seem to be able to naturally roll with whatever changes come their way, while others seem highly incapable of dealing with even the smallest changes in their lives.

Why The Big Deal With Change?

The big deal with change, is that how we deal with change, will likely have a huge impact on the level of stress in our lives.

The more flexible and adaptable we are to change, the more likely we are to adjust to changing conditions in our lives.

Darwin Speaks To UsCharles Darwin

What Charles Darwin discovered over 150 years ago when he published his ground shattering book, The Origin Of Species in 1859,  was that those species that were “fittest”, tended to go on and to propagate and to survive.

Unfortunately, what Darwin proposed as being “fittest” is often mistaken for the strongest. This may sometimes be the case, but in general, it is the species or beings that are “most suitably adapted” to their environments that will prosper and make it into the next generation.

It occurs to me also, that inter-species cooperation and integration, may have a very high survival value for those species or groups that choose to share resources and knowledge.

We are also a part of our environment, and the more we adapt and blend in with our environment, the better our chances of surviving and prospering one might think.

But alas, there is the question of change, and how to deal with change that is ever-present.

Darwin Meets The BuddhaThe Buddha How to deal with change

I imagine what it might have been like if Charles Darwin had encountered the Buddha walking along the beach in the Galapagos islands.

Darwin might have been struck to see such a peaceful, calm presence as he watched this interesting character from a distance. He may have even been curious enough to approach this curious person and ask him how he got there, and perhaps even more importantly:

Why he looked so darn peaceful?

It is hard to imagine such a meeting occurring, but if it did, and if the Buddha answered Darwin’s question, here is what I think he might have said.

Everything Changes!

Yes, that is what I think the Buddha would have said to Darwin.

The Buddha was apparently asked to summarize his entire philosophy of life. Apparently what he chose to summarize it were in those exact words: “Everything Changes.”

Why Is That Important?

The Buddha telling Charles Darwin that “everything changes” would have left Mr. Darwin with a lot to ponder.

The immediate response would be to challenge the assertion.

Is it really true that “everything” changes?

One need only look around, and try if one is able, to identify one thing that hasn’t changed since they were a child.

Personally, I can’t think of a single thing that hasn’t changed since I was a child. Even our bodies are said to completely change over the span of 7 years.

The Sun?

The Planets?


Probably not…. everything has very likely changed.

It would likely be a huge scientific discovery to discover something whose qualities are never-changing in a natural environment. In a vacuum or in a cryogenic state would not be natural.

What We Ought To All Be Taught In Kindergarten

If I could go back in time, here is what I wished I would have been told in my earliest years getting around the planet and figuring things out.

Kid, welcome to the planet. It’s a fairly big place. We haven’t got it all figured out just yet. But one thing I can tell you, is that it changes a lot. In fact, it changes all the time. So get used to a LOT of change while you are here.

Enjoy your journey!

That little piece of advice, would have made a HUGE difference in how I would have approached everything from that moment on.

The Buddha Revisited

While we are at it, let’s revisit the Buddha for a moment. Hopefully we can catch him on his walk along the beach.

If we were to catch up with the Buddha, very likely not only would he tell us that “everything changes”, but he would also likely share with us the probable cause of most of all of our human suffering.

Why Do We Suffer?

The Buddha would say that we suffer because of these two key reasons:

  • Our attachments
  • Our desires

And the interesting thing, is that they are often intertwined.

What does the Buddha mean by “attachments”?

Basically what he means is that “we tend to hold onto things.”

Another way of saying it is:

We don’t like when things change. We don’t like it one darn bit for the most part!

The Result?

As we look around us, we generally tend to seek pleasure and avoid pain.

Given that everything changes, the good news is that if there is something painful in our lives, if we wait things will likely change. The bad news is, that if we have something that we like and gives us pleasure, that too will change.

Everything Changes

As the Buddha is reported to have said nearly 2500 years ago.

The sad part is, that we are still struggling to accept it and believe it so many centuries later.

How To Deal With Change?

This is how I believe we can really truly start to deal with change:

  • Accept that change happens
  • Accept that change happens A LOT
  • The only thing that is permanent is: Change!
  • Make change a way of life
  • No longer be surprised when things have changed
  • EXPECT change
  • When change happens, as you expected, take the necessary action
  • Expect change to happen again, and it will
  • Don’t expect it to be the same as it was before. It won’t
  • Repeat as often as necessary

And remember Kid, “Enjoy the Journey!”