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Excerpted from Loving What Is by Byron Katie. Copyright © 2002 by Byron Katie. Excerpted by permission of Random House, Inc.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. HTML and web pages copyright © by SpiritSite.com.
 

"The best way to meet them is to see how they function in an actual example of The Work."

  Byron Katie, Loving What Is, Part 4

I have waited until now to introduce the four questions to you, because they don't make much sense out of context. The best way to meet them is to see how they function in an actual example of The Work. You'll also meet what Katie calls the "turnaround," which is a way of looking at reversed versions of a statement that you believe.

The following dialogue with Katie took place before an audience of about two hundred people. Mary, the woman who is sitting opposite Katie on the stage, has filled out a one-page Worksheet that asked her to write down her thoughts about someone who upsets her. The instructions are: "Allow yourself to be as judgmental and petty as you really feel. Don't try to be 'spiritual' or kind." The pettier we can be when writing, the more likely it is that we'll benefit from The Work. You'll see that Mary hasn't held back at all. She is a forceful woman, perhaps forty years old, slim, attractive, and dressed in expensive-looking exercise clothes. At the beginning of the dialogue, her anger and impatience are palpable.

A first experience of The Work, as a reader or onlooker, can be uncomfortable. It helps to remember that all the participants -- Mary, Katie, and the audience -- are on the same side here; all of them are looking for the truth. If Katie ever seems to be mocking or derisive, you'll notice that she's making fun of the thought that is causing Mary's suffering, never of Mary herself.

Toward the middle of the dialogue, when Katie asks, "Do you really want to know the truth?" she doesn't mean her truth, or any abstract, predetermined truth, but Mary's truth, the truth that is hidden behind her troubling thoughts. Mary has entered the dialogue in the first place because she trusts that Katie can help her discover where she is lying to herself. She welcomes Katie's persistence.

You'll also notice right away that Katie is very free in her use of terms of endearment. One CEO, before a workshop that Katie gave to his top executives, felt that he had to issue a warning: "If she holds your hand and calls you 'sweetheart' or 'honey,' please don't get excited. She does this with everyone."

Mary [reading the statements from her Worksheet]: I hate my husband because he drives me crazy -- everything about him, including the way he breathes. What disappoints me is that I don't love him anymore, and our relationship is a charade. I want him to be more successful, to not want to have sex with me, to get in shape, to get a life outside of me and the children, to not touch me anymore, and to be powerful. My husband shouldn't fool himself that he's good at our business. He should create more success. My husband is a wimp. He's needy and lazy. He's fooling himself. I refuse to keep living a lie. I refuse to keep living my relationship as an imposter.

Katie: Does that pretty well sum it up? [The audience bursts into laughter, and Mary laughs along with them.] By the sound of the laughter, it seems as though you speak for a lot of people in this room. So, let's start at the top and see if we can begin to understand what's going on.

Mary: I hate my husband because he drives me crazy -- everything about him, including the way he breathes.

Katie: "Your husband drives you crazy" -- is it true? [This is the first of the four questions: Is it true?]

Mary: Yes.

Katie: Okay. What's an example of that, sweetheart? He breathes?

Mary: He breathes. When we're doing conference calls for our business, I can hear his breath on the other end of the telephone, and I want to scream.

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