Wendy Saunders Counseling
Best Books Blog
My Favorite Self Help Books
Loving What Is, by Byron Katie
June 27, 2018
The Insomnia Solution explains how we can make peace with insomnia. Loving What Is, by Byron Katie, further expands upon the concept of acceptance. Katie’s book is also the perfect companion to the concept of Radical Acceptance in Dialectical Behavior Therapy. Katie writes that “the only time we suffer is when we believe a thought that argues with what is. When the mind is perfectly clear, what is is what we want.” She teaches us that accepting reality does not mean we have to be passive. Rather, when our mind is clear, we can take the most loving, appropriate and effective action.
Katie has devised an exercise called The Work, to help us understand that our beliefs about people and situations are often not accurate. Sometimes “turning around” a stated belief can be more true than the original belief. When we learn that our thinking patterns have been causing us distress, we can experience freedom. When we believe our thoughts without inquiring, we can suffer. So much of our suffering is caused by our belief in the stories we create.
I attended one of Katie’s workshops a few years ago. Try as they would, no one in attendance could stump Katie. Someone would raise a hand, apparently quite sure that his situation couldn’t be helped by the The Work, but Katie always had a kind and loving response that illustrated her teachings.
Her book includes many conversations with people who have grievances about someone or something. We can hear ourselves in these conversations about relationships, trauma, illness, fears. A central question she asks is “Who would you be without that thought?” The answer is nearly always free, peaceful, happy, etc. Katie doesn’t ask us to “drop” our thoughts, but rather to notice if they are serving us.
I love Katie’s statement “It’s no longer necessary to wait for people or situations to change in order to experience peace and harmony. The Work is the direct way to orchestrate your own happiness.”
While reading Loving What Is, I felt as if I was having an intimate dialogue with the author. She shares the wisdom of the ages in the most loving, relatable and joyful manner. Reading it and rereading it always brings me a deep sense of peace.