Tiger-Tiger, Is It True?: Four Questions to Make You Smile Again


Tiger-Tiger, Is It True? is a story about a little tiger who thinks that his whole world is falling apart: his parents don’t love him, his friends have abandoned him, and life is unfair. But a wise turtle asks him four questions, and everything changes. He realizes that all his problems are not caused by things, but by his thoughts about things; and that when he questions his thoughts, life becomes wonderful again.

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Book Excerpt: “My Mother Wouldn’t Approve”

Chapter 3 from Who Would You Be Without Your Story >>

Are you trying to spare someone’s feelings by denying yourself? Free yourself from that prison. How can you know that they’ll disapprove? And if they do, whose business is that?

Rebecca: I’m very new at this; a friend just invited me to come to your event today, and voilà! Here I am. My question refers to the parent-child relationship. Actually, it sort of stems from a problem that I have with my mother. And I lied when I filled in the Worksheet. The problem was not with [choking back tears] relationships that I have now. It’s . . . probably something that I didn’t work out with her . . . probably am unable to.

Katie: So what is it with your mother that you haven’t worked out yet?

Rebecca: Well, I come from a conservative Jamaican family, and I’ve been living in America now for twelve years, so I don’t have my family with me. And I have to depend on myself, to pat myself on the back and say, “You’re doing okay!” I find myself, though . . .

Katie: Sweetheart, what’s the problem with your mother?

Rebecca: I’m not certain I can get her approval to do what I really, really want to do.

Katie: And what is that?

Rebecca: Well, it’s music . . . yes. They’ve told me in the past that I shouldn’t. In a conservative family, you do something practical.

Katie: So if your life became all about music as an occupation . . .

Rebecca: Well, I can’t even imagine that. I think of it all the time, and it’s . . . [She chokes back tears.]

Katie: . . . and it’s overflowing.

Rebecca: I teach business English, and my business is going very well, and this is something my mother approves of, especially when I’m so far away.

Katie: So what is it she would not approve of?

Rebecca: Doing something impractical, something that’s so risky.

Katie: Like what?

Rebecca: Singing . . . yes.

Katie: Singing where, how? As an occupation?

Rebecca: Possibly, yes.

Katie: So “if you dropped your profession . . .

Rebecca: I dare not.

Katie: . . . and you became a singer, your mother wouldn’t approve”—is that true?

Rebecca: She would kill herself with worry.

Katie: That was a very quick answer. Sweetheart, this is inquiry. This is where you look for answers that are not on the surface. This is where you open your mind and heart to what you don’t already know. “If you dropped your occupation and became a singer, your mother wouldn’t approve”—can you absolutely know that that’s true?

Rebecca: Absolutely? I can’t absolutely know, but I know her well enough to know. . . . It’s not . . . not 100 percent certain, but . . .

Katie: Drop your philosophy. Drop your qualifications, and just give me a straight yes or no. This is meditation. “If you become a singer, your mother would not approve”—can you absolutely know that that’s true? Close your eyes and really look for your answer. It’s okay to say yes or no. Get a picture of your mother. Can you absolutely know
she wouldn’t approve?

Rebecca: [crying] I know the reality that she lives. It’s not a yes or no answer, but I know her reality.

Katie: I understand. You think for her. She thinks for you, and you think for her. [Rebecca laughs.] Have you ever said things and not really meant it? “She wouldn’t approve of you”—can you absolutely know that that’s true?

Rebecca: Can we redefine that word approve?

Katie: No. Can you absolutely know that it’s true she would not approve if you became a singer?

Rebecca: [after a long pause] No.

Katie: Feel that. Now, how do you react when you believe the thought “My mother would not approve”?

Rebecca: Katie, she’s a worrier; she’s a professional worrier.

Katie: Notice that you didn’t follow the simple direction. You get to be right, and you don’t answer the question.

Rebecca: Can you repeat the question?

Katie: How do you react when you believe the thought “My mother would not approve”? How do you live your life when you believe that thought?

Rebecca: Strained, disappointed, unfulfilled.

Katie: So you’re living out everything you don’t want her to experience!

Rebecca: That’s true.

Katie: Close your eyes, and look at her look at you—singing. Now drop your story, just for a moment, and look at her face. Who would you be without that thought?

Rebecca: Freer! Not so cramped, not so unhappy. Not so uncertain, not so hopeless and helpless.

Katie: “My mother would be disappointed”—turn it around.

Rebecca: My mother would not be disappointed.

Katie: Could that be as true?

Rebecca: It could be. She might even be excited!

Katie: Who knows?

Rebecca: But it has its flip side. She’s got enough worries, and I don’t want to be the problem.

Katie: Now we’re out of inquiry.

Rebecca: Oh.

Katie: Can you see how you moved out of answering the questions and into another story?

Rebecca: Yes, I see that.

Katie: So you turned around the statement “My mother would be disappointed” to “My mother would be excited.” Now give me three reasons why she would be excited if you were singing and loved it.

Rebecca: Because I would be doing what I want. Because I would be doing something she possibly never had the courage to do. And because I’d be happy.

Katie: So she might be excited because you’re doing something you love, because you’re happy, and because it’s possibly something that she wanted to do herself and didn’t. “My mother would be disappointed”—can you find another turnaround?

Rebecca: Because it’s another thing to worry about.

Katie: That’s a reason, not a turnaround. “My mother would be disappointed”—can you find another turnaround?

Rebecca: I’m not sure I understand how to turn it around.

Katie: “My mother would be disappointed.” Turn it around to yourself. “I would be…”

Rebecca: I would be disappointed—if I didn’t do it.

Katie: Is your mother disappointed a lot?

Rebecca: Yes.

Katie: So if you sang, would she be any less disappointed? She’s already disappointed!

Rebecca: But she’s not disappointed in me.

Katie: What’s the worst that could happen if your mother was absolutely blown away disappointed—in you? You drop your occupation, you’re out there singing, and she is very disappointed in you. This is your nightmare. What’s the worst that could happen if she was disappointed in you? [Pause] So you take on the role of your mother, disappointed. Even exaggerate it. And I’m going to be her daughter, the one who loves her very much, the one who is singing her heart out, and loving it. I’ll be you. This is your chance to experience what you think your mother would say.

Katie: [as Rebecca] “Hello, mom. Guess what? I quit my job. I’m
singing now.”

Rebecca: [as her mother] “Rebecca? Have you totally lost it? Have you lost your mind?”

Katie: “Oh, mom, I’ve lost my job, my occupation, everything. I have lost it.”

Rebecca: “What happened to you?”

Katie: “I decided to be a singer. That’s what I want to do. I love it.”

Rebecca: “Rebecca, how are you going to make a living?”

Katie: “I don’t know.”

Rebecca: “Lord help us!” [The audience laughs.]

Katie: “That’s what I’m counting on.” [The audience laughs and applauds.] “So, are you disappointed, Mom?”

Rebecca: “You know we don’t have a lot; I can’t send you any money. I’ve got your father here to worry about; I’ve got your brothers; I’ve got your sister; I’ve got your nephew.”

Katie: “Mom, I don’t know how you do it. Would you like to hear me sing?”

Rebecca: “That’s not funny.”

Katie: “I was serious. It brings me so much joy, I thought maybe you’d want to hear what I was doing.”

Rebecca: “Rebecca, this is probably not the time and place for that.”

Katie: “You have a major burden on your hands, Mom. What I can tell you is, I’m going to help you in any way that I can. And I just don’t know how you do it. You’re an amazing woman.” [As herself] Is that all she would say, honey?

Rebecca: No, she’d say [resuming the dialogue as her mother], “Rebecca, we all worry about you, I worry about you . . . you’re so far away! Who’s going to feed you?”

Katie: “If I get hungry, I promise I’ll call.”

Rebecca: “Rebecca, we love you. I love you. And it’s important— it’s important for me that you’re happy.”

Katie: “Mom, you are so amazing. . . . Do you realize that not one time have you said that you were disappointed in me? I asked you the question and it was as though you didn’t even hear me. You’re incredible. You’ve been that way all my life. You’ve only wanted my happiness.”

Rebecca: “Yes.”

Katie: [as herself] So, “Your mother would be disappointed”—can you absolutely know that that’s true?

Rebecca: [pause] No, I really can’t. That’s just incredible. I feel so much lighter. Thank you.
Katie: You’re welcome. Sweetheart, when you believe what you think, it’s as though you’re living in a horrible prison. And when you question what you believe, you set yourself free. The mind becomes so open that it sees ways that you can have it all—your job, a singing career, you can have it all. But one thing you can know: When you go to work, it’s because you choose it. It could be that you’ll never say, “I didn’t live out my passion because of my mother. I couldn’t sing because I didn’t want to disappoint her.” It just doesn’t sound reasonable.

Rebecca: It makes me sound unreasonable, yes.

Katie: Thank you. So, sweetheart, would you like to sing right now? [The audience whistles and applauds.]

Rebecca: Sure! Now this is not exactly a song my mother would approve of.

Katie: And can you absolutely know that that’s true?

[Rebecca laughs, then belts out a torrid love song. The audience applauds wildly.]

If you enjoyed this excerpt, try the book >>

Money Worries: Stop Stressing, Start Living

(an excerpt from Loving What Is)

I’ve never seen a work or money problem that didn’t turn out to be a thinking problem. I used to believe that I needed money to be happy. Even when I had a lot, I was often sick with the fear that something terrible would happen and I would lose it. I realize now that no amount of money is worth that kind of stress.

If you live with the uninvestigated thought “I need my money to be safe and secure,” you’re living in a hopeless state of mind. Banks fail. Stock markets crash. Currencies deflate. People lie, bend contracts, and break their promises. In this confused state of mind, you can make millions of dollars and still be insecure and unhappy.

Some people believe that fear and stress are what motivate them to make money.
But can you really know that that’s true? Can you be absolutely certain that without fear or stress as a motivator, you wouldn’t have made the same money, or even more? “I need fear and stress to motivate me” — who would you be if you never believed that story again?

After I found The Work inside myself — after it found me — I began to notice that I always had the perfect amount of money for me right now, even when I had little or none. Happiness is a clear mind. A clear and sane mind knows how to live, how to work, what e-mails to send, what phone calls to make, and what to do to create what it wants without fear.

Who would you be without the thought “I need my money to be safe”?

You might be a lot easier to be with. You might even begin to notice the laws of generosity, the laws of letting money go out fearlessly and come back fearlessly. You don’t ever need more money than you have. When you understand this, you begin to realize that you already have all the security you wanted money to give you in the first place. It’s a lot easier to make money from this position.

More resources:

– Video: Inquiry – “You Need More Money—Is that True?”
– Video: “I need to give my son money” [Israel 2007]

Letter: A Mother does The Work with her incarcerated Daughter

Dearest Katie,

My 25 year old daughter is in prison in California at CIW-California Institution for Women – just south of Ontario. This is my story and my request.

I am so grateful for The Work. The Work came to me in April of 2007. I came to The School that June in Trumbull and then again that October 07 in LA. I flew back to the Bay Area (I have moved to Nevada) to see my daughter in September 2007. She has been involved in meth addiction for the past 10 years and doesn’t make contact very often. I was able to get in touch with her and we had the most amazing time. She wanted to know what I was doing because I was so different and she wanted to spend more time with me. She loved what I told her about you and The Work. I shared this with you that first night at the school in LA. You said she sounded like someone who really wanted to know the truth. She does!!

So then she went off on her way and got in more trouble and was arrested Feb 08. When she wrote to me she asked if I would help her understand why she kept living this destructive lifestyle, so I sent her your books- Loving What Is and I Need Your Love. Her response was pure amazement and joy.

I will share a few things with you here that she wrote to me while reading the books:

“Mom, this is so awesome-without all the f-ed up thoughts I can be without anxiety.”

“Since reading Katie she’s taught me not to let it mess up my train of thought
or f- me up in the head & get me angry.”

“Mom, I’ve had to do a lot of The Work from Katie’s book on our last phone call but it worked. I feel so much more connected to you and to myself. The miracle of Katie I found is my thinking pattern changes even before a bunch of The Work is done on paper. I finished Loving What Is and started I Need Your Love yesterday. In Loving What Is on page 203 I did the 6 page exercise and oh my goodness was it intense. I still have The Work to reflect on. ‘Doing time’ is a whole different experience than the first time. The other women in here are miserable and I choose to feel my feelings and rid myself of nasty thoughts. The first book really showed me how you can overcome anything bad that’s happened to you. The pages toward the end were super deep with 9/11, Mom didn’t stop the incest, and the one on the daughter’s addiction. Mom, I love my mind, body and spirit. I must learn to forgive myself.”

“So it’s like this-I’m really loving the Katie books. This is so amazing–so worries aren’t real they are like leaves in the wind and like raindrops. ‘Why argue with a raindrop?’ What has me in shock is that I can live in complete happiness and be okay just as I am. Mom, the past two days of reading I already feel like a weight lifted, the stress lifted. So I am really understanding the not being attached to our thoughts. It’s cool Mom. I love it.”

Then she related another story and said: “What I did was without even noticing at first, I felt the thought and then I turned it around and laughed realizing that I don’t have to feel that thought and how happy I could be without it. Mom, this Rocks!”

I love that she is loving The Work!!

My daughter was incarcerated Feb 11 in San Mateo County Jail and remained there several weeks. She was then sent to Valley State in Chowchilla- where everyone goes and most stay. It’s a maximum security prison and none of women’s prisons are segregated by crime level or race or gangs like the men’s are. A got to experience several things here for 10 weeks. Then she was transferred to CIW women’s prison and has just entered the SAP drug treatment program there this week.

I got to visit her for the first time in prison at CIW at the end of August. We had a glorious visit-Fri-Sat-Sun for several hours each day in a crowed noisy room. We were so connected. We did The Work together. It was wonderful. I will get to visit her again Oct 31-Nov 3 only this time we get to stay together 24/7 in the family housing unit-a prison slumber party!! We have a 2 bedroom apartment for the weekend and they have a CD player. She wants me to bring all of your CDs and lots of blank worksheets!!

She is also loving Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now and A New Earth. She has done all the workbook assignments and sent them to me. She is just so ready and eager to begin again. She choose to go into the drug program as opposed to Fire Camp, where she was also accepted, because she realized even though it was a really “cool” thing to do and she got out of prison to train, be at camp, and then would be released 4 months early from her sentence–that after all of that it would have left her in the same space-dealing with her addiction and being out again-without having addressed her issues. So she opted for drug treatment, full sentence, and requested an additional 5 month residential treatment program after her release date of July 2 09, -so she will be complete Dec 2, 09. She stays at CIW until March 09 and then goes to one of the Drug Treatment Facilities until July 2. Then to another location for the residential program. She wants to come to your School and the Turnaround House, too!

My daughter just keeps teaching me. She is my greatest teacher. I really feel moved to enter your Facilitator Training program. I am completing an intensive horticulture training right now, ending in November, I am hoping to work with other Master Gardeners here in Nevada with the prison landscape training programs and establish gardens for the inmates. Then, hopefully after being accepted and completing my Facilitator Training with BKI, I would love to be able to take The Work to the jails and prisons here as well.

I am doing The Work and doing my best to look at all my stuff around this whole situation. I feel I am pretty clear that whatever she does when she gets out is her business. (0K—-I do have a wish list!! I want her to come home and have another chance at the life she says she wants). I am just so grateful to have my daughter back for whatever period of time that may be. Since she asked for my help and support and since she is so loving The Work, I of course want her to have all the support possible in understanding how to do The Work and discovering what she was believing that kept her going back to the meth use and this lifestyle. She has told me that she wants to start a new beautiful life free of this addiction.

Much Love and Gratitude,

P.S. My daughter is now reading A 1000 Names for Joy and I am sending her Stephen’s Tao Te Ching and the book A Million Little Pieces.

The Work in Spanish

Laura Saavedra (a Certified Facilitator of The Work) reports from Puerto Rico about moving The Work in Latin America >>


Yolanda Zumaeta offered workshops in Cali, Colombia last month, also in Lima, Peru after the quake. She is now back to Peru for more conferences/presentations at two Universities! She also went to Spain (Madrid) and Venezuela. I went to Madrid in 2006 and in 2007 to Madrid and Vitoria. Liliana Delgado had a workshop in Bogota, Colombia. In Spain Brianda Domecq is very active with workshops–she lives there. And a new member of our MSN The Work group, psychologist Lidia Gamboa already invited Mariana den Hollander for some more workshops in Spain! I am training Lidia via our MSN Internet group to facilitate in our group. We have 763 Spanish speaking members. Spain seems to be the most active now.

The book “Amar Lo Que Es” (Loving What Is) in Spanish is rarely available in Latin America, not even on Amazon! It is available in Spain.


Bestseller in the Bay Area and the Rockies

Dearest Family,

Your love for passing on The Work has made A Thousand Names for Joy a bestseller in the Bay Area and the Rocky Mountains.

Thousand Names for Joy: Living in Harmony with the Way Things Are

It’s now on the bestseller lists of the San Francisco Chronicle, The Denver Post, and the Marin Independent Journal. Please keep us updated as you continue to talk about this revolutionary new book in your community.

There is nothing more exciting than watching peace as it moves in the world. Thank you, dear ones.

Loving you,


Taking Action in a Perfect World

The world is perfect. As you question your mind, this becomes more and more obvious. Mind changes, and as a result, the world changes. A clear mind heals everything that needs to be healed. It can never be fooled into believing that there is one speck out of order.

But some people take the insight that the world is perfect and make it into a concept, and then they conclude that there’s no need to get involved in politics or social action. That’s separation. If someone came to you and said, “I’m suffering. Please help me,” would you answer, “You’re perfect just the way you are,” and turn away? Our heart naturally responds to people and animals in need.

Realization has no value until it’s lived. I would travel to the ends of the earth for the sake of one person who is suffering. The desperate, the hopeless, are unenlightened cells of my own body. It’s my own body I’m talking about—the body of the world is my body. Would I let myself drown in water that doesn’t exist? Would I let myself die in an imagined torture chamber? My God, I think, there’s someone out there who really believes there’s a problem. I remember when I used to think there was a problem. How can I say no when that person asks for help? That would be saying no to myself. So I say yes and I go, if I can. It’s a privilege. It’s more than that: it’s self-love.

People are perfect just the way they are, however deeply they’re suffering, but they don’t realize that yet. So when I meet someone who’s suffering, I don’t say, “Oh, there’s no problem, everything is perfect.” Though I can see that there’s never a problem, and I’m available to help him see that, telling him what I see would be unkind. That part of my body is suffering, everything is not perfect for him, because he believes it’s not. I, too, have been trapped in the torture chamber of the mind. I hear what he thinks he needs, I hear his sadness or despair, and I’m available. That’s full-blown activism. In the presence of someone who doesn’t see a problem, the problem falls away—which shows you that there isn’t a problem.

People ask me, “How can you listen to all these problems, day after day, year after year? Doesn’t it drain your energy?” Well, it doesn’t. I’ve questioned my stressful thoughts, and I’ve seen that every single one of them is untrue. Every thought that used to look like a poisonous snake is actually a rope. I could stand over that rope for a thousand years, and never be frightened of it again. I see clearly what some people don’t yet see for themselves. Everyone in the world might come upon that rope and run screaming the other way, and I wouldn’t be afraid for them, feel sorry for them, or worry about them at all, because I realize that they’re not in danger, they’re absolutely not in harm’s way. As they cry snake, I see only rope.

If you have a problem with people or with the state of the world, I invite you to put your stressful thoughts on paper and question them, and to do it for the love of truth, not in order to save the world. Turn it around: save your own world. Isn’t that why you want to save the world in the first place? So that you can be happy? Well, skip the middleman, and be happy from here! You’re it. You’re the one. In this turnaround you remain active, but there’s no fear in it, no internal war. So it ceases to be war trying to teach peace. War can’t teach peace. Only peace can.

From A Thousand Names for Joy: Living in Harmony with the Way Things Are

The Work 101

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.

If you want reality to be different than it is, you might as well try to teach a cat to bark. You can try and try, and in the end the cat will look up at you and say, “Meow.” Wanting reality to be different than it is is hopeless. You can spend the rest of your life trying to teach a cat to bark.

And yet, if you pay attention, you’ll notice that you think thoughts like this dozens of times a day. “People should be kinder.” “Children should be well-behaved.” “My neighbors should take better care of their lawn.” “The line at the grocery store should move faster.” “My husband (or wife) should agree with me.” “I should be thinner (or prettier or more successful).” These thoughts are ways of wanting reality to be different than it is. If you think that this sounds depressing, you’re right. All the stress that we feel is caused by arguing with what is.

People new to The Work often say to me, “But it would be disempowering to stop my argument with reality. If I simply accept reality, I’ll become passive. I may even lose the desire to act.” I answer them with a question: “Can you really know that that’s true?” Which is more empowering? — “I wish I hadn’t lost my job” or “I lost my job; what can I do now?”

The Work reveals that what you think shouldn’t have happened should have happened. It should have happened because it did, and no thinking in the world can change it. This doesn’t mean  that you condone it or approve of it. It just means that you can see things without resistance and without the confusion of your inner struggle. No one wants their children to get sick, no one wants to be in a car accident; but when these things happen, how can it be helpful to mentally argue with them? We know better than to do that, yet we do it, because we don’t know how to stop.

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.

To learn more about the Work and how to live a fearless life, visit: The Work