Byron Katie offers 4 questions for anyone looking to feel more in control of their life. In her view, stress is caused by our reaction to events, rather than the events themselves, therefore the best course of action is to focus on what you can control and better understanding your own emotions. “Loving What Is” is for anyone in need of a step by step guide on how to use their inner psychology to change how they react to stressful events.
My key Takeaways from “Loving What Is" by Byron Katie:
Takeaway #1 Master Your Thoughts
Takeaway #1 Master Your Thoughts
Did you know that stress isn't caused by the people or events in your life but by your own interpretation of actions and events that take place in your life? For example, if you're anxious because you think your partner doesn't love you anymore, it's not the assumed lack of love that is hurting you but your interpretation of your partner's feelings towards you. To overcome these harmful thoughts that spiral you need to change your thoughts by doing 'The Work'.
Write down what is troubling you and then reflect on what you have written asking yourself the following 4 questions:
1. Is this thought true?
2. Am I absolutely sure it's true – Can I interpret this another way?
3. How does this thought make me react?
4. Who would I be without this thought?
After answering the above 4 questions you will have a better understanding of the thoughts and feelings that are bringing you down.
Takeaway #2 Turning Stressful Thoughts Around
The last step of The Work is learning how to turn your thoughts around by going deeper to discover the truth about your feelings, situation, and ultimately yourself. You'll approach your problem from a different angle and answer the above 4 questions again but this time gaining inverse answers.
Using the example of you feeling anxious as you think your partner does not love you, consider alternative scenarios – perhaps the problem is that you don't love your partner or that you don't love yourself. Another scenario might be that you're projecting another problem onto the relationship. Each scenario will cause different feelings and reactions to come up – It's important to carefully consider all of them, following the feelings that feel true so that you can come up with a solution.
Takeaway #3 Focus On The Things You Can Change
How many times have you become upset due to the weather forcing you to cancel something you were looking forward to? It does no good to stress over things that you cannot change as unfortunately, frustration doesn't force a situation to change! Therefore, happiness can only come from changing the things you're in control of rather - making small changes in your life will lead you to greater control and therefore greater satisfaction and happiness.
My Favorite Quotes from Loving What Is
"Peace doesn't require two people; it requires only one. It has to be you. The problem begins and ends there... As long as you think that the cause of your problem is “out there”—as long as you think that anyone or anything is responsible for your suffering—the situation is hopeless. It means that you are forever in the role of victim, that you’re suffering in paradise"
"We don't attach to people or to things; we attach to uninvestigated concepts that we believe to tbe true in the moment....A thought is harmless unless we believe it. It’s not our thoughts, but our attachment to our thoughts, that causes suffering. Attaching to a thought means believing that it’s true, without inquiring. A belief is a thought that we’ve been attaching to, often for years."
"Our parents, our children, our spouses, and our friends will continue to press every button we have, until we realize what it is that we don't want to know about ourselves, yet. They will point us to our freedom every time.... We are fully responsible for ourselves, and that is where we find our freedom... Isn’t it marvelous to discover that you’re the one you’ve been waiting for?"
"You are your only hope, because we're not changing until you do. Our job is to keep coming at you, as hard as we can, with everything that angers, upsets, or repulses you, until you understand. We love you that much, whether we're aware of it or not. The whole world is about you."
"If you put your hand into a fire, does anyone have to tell you to move it? Do you have to decide? No: When your hand starts to burn, it moves. You don’t have to direct it; the hand moves itself. In the same way, once you understand, through inquiry, that an untrue thought causes suffering, you move away from it."
"When you realize that every stressful moment you experience is a gift that points you to your own freedom, life becomes very kind... Depression, pain, and fear are gifts that say, “Sweetheart, take a look at your thinking right now. You’re living in a story that isn’t true for you."
"I am a lover of what is, not because I’m a spiritual person, but because it hurts when I argue with reality. We can know that reality is good just as it is, because when we argue with it, we experience tension and frustration. We don’t feel natural or balanced. When we stop opposing reality, action becomes simple, fluid, kind, and fearless."
"We’re all looking for love, in our confusion, until we find our way back to the realization that love is what we already are."
"People are just like seeds waiting to sprout. We can’t be pushed ahead of our own understanding..."
"Everyone is a mirror image of yourself—your own thinking coming back at you..."
― Byron Katie, Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life