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By Steve Wells

Recently I’ve revisited the work of Byron Katie as outlined in her brilliant book, Loving What Is, and her most recent work, Who Would You be Without Your Story? I think Katie’s approach has much to offer for helping us to get beyond our suffering over the so-called “global financial meltdown” which is focusing so much of our attention lately.

In her process, called The Work, Katie outlines some powerful questions which you can ask whenever you are upset. The core of her process rests upon the question Is it true? which is followed up with, Can you absolutely know that it’s true? This and two further questions, How do you react when you believe that thought? And Who would you be without the thought? Are applied to whatever is disturbing you at the moment. These 4 questions, followed by consideration of several opposites to the problem thought, which Katie calls the turnaround, can lead you to the realisation that the only thing you can really know is real is what is happening right here right now. And that is all you have to deal with. What a relief to find that what you have really been upset about is just a “story” about what is happening, or a concept or judgment that you have attached to.

The process of questioning your thoughts and focusing on only what you can really know as true can be liberating. As I said to one of my clients recently, you only have to deal with what you have to deal with … and you won’t know what that is until you get there! Everything else is a story…

Katie’s simple proposition is that the only way you can really suffer is when you believe a thought (which argues with reality). The way I would put it is you suffer when you emotionally attach to an idea or concept about reality. Reality is much kinder than we think. My other favourite author of the moment William Hablitzel (author of Dying Was the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me) puts it this way: Nothing in this world can be as bad as that which we can imagine.

How relevant is this to our time?

All over the world right now, people are being “inducted” into fear-based thinking and feeling through fear-based marketing and politicking. We are daily being encouraged to associate to thoughts and images of doom and gloom. As my wife Louise pointed out on the weekend, the worst of this is all those sections in newspapers and magazines offering us suggestions for “making do with less”. How to budget. How to survive in tough times. This is supposed to help us? Actually, no, it is designed to sell more magazines and newspapers, because fear sells. These articles purporting to help tend actually reinforce a perception that (for most of us) things are worse than they really are… And so they feed the fear and stir up more panic…

If this is you, don’t worry, it’s perfectly normal… and there is a way out…

Many scientists now believe that it is normal for our minds to think “negatively”, that our minds have developed in an evolutionary capacity to project images and ideas of possible future danger in order that we can avoid it, or work out how to deal with it. All of which is good when that’s all that happens. Any number of options and possibilities can be considered, and even dealt with, as long as we continue to ground ourselves in what is real and true and live our lives based on that.But how tempting to go into the possible future scenario and start to experience it “as if” it is real. And then you suffer it, like a movie that you believe is real just because the camera presents it to you from the perspective of being inside it…

The challenge is to realise it is not real.

So in your mind you may be eating gruel when in reality your fridge is full of food…

Or even worse, by buying into the BS* about the “global crisis” you become distracted from focusing your energies around what is most important in our life…

  • Belief Systems

Maybe you miss out on the joy of following your bliss because you are “holding back”, believing its too dangerous right now to take a step towards your dream…

Or you sit,panic-stricken with worry about losing your house while your kids stand right in front of you smiling, wanting to play…

Is there any hope?

At the time of writing, Barack Obama has just been inaugurated as the 44th president of the United States. How many people are looking to this young man to inspire hope, to come up with solutions to stimulate confidence in the financial markets of the world? In our local newspaper the cartoon of the day shows a massive crowd around a figure on a podium and they are all shouting to him, “Show us a miracle, show us a miracle…” What a massive expectation and assumption that our problems can really be solved by someone else… Perhaps the best that can be hoped for is that Barack continues to encourage us to focus on our own power and reminds us we only ever have to deal with what is right in front of us now.

Back in 1933, in his own inaugural speech made right in the thick of the great depression, Franklin D. Roosevelt asserted, “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Yes, our fear of (feeling) fear is something we will do almost anything to avoid. But do we really need to fear fear? Do we really even need to fear fear-based thinking? Do we need to accept any of it as real?

Wouldn’t we be better off to understand that our biggest problem is that we have bought into a negative belief system? That the only problem we can really have is in the story we attach to the current world situation and the feelings this provokes in us?

To free yourself from emotional suffering we need to free ourselves from attachment to this story. Katie’s work helps brilliantly with this. And tapping does too.

So if you find yourself experiencing fear over the current financial “story”, or any personal story that has been provoked by this, start tapping. Allow your feelings and even your worrying thoughts to be there, without trying to oppose them. Katie would say, meet them with understanding. It isn’t the thoughts that are the problem; it’s the emotional attachment to them which is causing you to suffer.

If you are aware of your thinking, and can identify the story you are telling yourself about the world financial situation or any current problem you have (perhaps something along the lines of “We’re all going to die…”) then let those thoughts and that story just be there as you continue to tap. Run the movie through. As you look at the self-projected scenarios of gloom and doom and continue to tap, you will almost certainly find that you start to relax, that your focus moves to the now, that the images become less compelling or even harder to focus on. If you have a difficult situation to deal with, practical things you can do right now to improve things may start to come into focus, and you may start to realise and get in touch with your strengths. Maybe you will also become, as I have, even more focused on and determined to centre your life around what is really important to you. (Note: If this doesn’t happen, even after persistent tapping, might I suggest consulting a therapist and getting some help?)

A lot of people are trying to avoid reading and watching the news, but I think that is a great thing to do; read or watch and tap as you do. At the end of this process you will be able to look at the statements in the newspaper and see them for what they are. As the words of someone trying to sell newspapers. Then as you continue to tap further on your reaction to that story you may even get to the point where you see them as simply words on a page. Then as merely ink on paper. And then that even that is a concept…

Here’s how Katie describes the process in her Work (which also applies to tapping):

“You’re walking through the desert and it’s a beautiful day and you look down and see a big fat rattlesnake and you’re terrified of rattlesnakes. You jump back, your heart is racing, your pulse is beating, you’re paralysed with fear… Then the sun goes behind a cloud and you look again, and it isn’t a snake after all – it’s a rope.

Now I invite you to stand over the rope for a thousand years and make yourself afraid of it again. You can’t. This is self-realization. You have realized for yourself what is true. And you can never be afraid of that rope again…”

If you find yourself reacting to negative stories, I highly recommend the work of Byron Katie. And tapping. Tap on the emotional attachments which are driving your suffering, until you end up back in the here and now where everything that’s real is happening. Tap to remind yourself what is really important, and move forward with that firmly in focus… And if it’s right for you, consider joining us at one of the upcoming Values Intensive Workshops and spend two full days focused on releasing the BS and getting in touch with what is most important to you in your life!

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Leave A Reply

10 Replies to “Are We Really Having a Global Financial Meltdown?”

I think this article is a fabulous read. Love the idea and the whole concept.
Especially the bit about words on a page.
thank you


Great article. I took a look at Dr Hablitzel’s website. You can download Chapter 1 of the book you mentioned.
It moved me to tears.
Thanks for sharing such a wonderful gift.

I have been saying these things to retail bosses and friends,why is it so hard for people to not realize we do only need to live in the moment.I can see the negative energy caused by talking down the economy.Come on world,wake up!

Reading this artikel was a verry good start this morning!
Thank you.

There was a bloke who once asked Margaret and I what money is. After looking at him dimly for a few moments he fortunately went to describe it as millions of tiny electrical signals that fly across the globe on the internet. We shift lots of them with transactions big and small every day between people, communities, governments and nations but for the most part money is not real. We then go ahead and attach our emotions to this stuff as though it was real and use it to measure our worth against. Talk about a snake turned to rope! By the way that bloke was David Lake.

Hi Steve. How nice to hear you reflect my sentiments exactly. I have found Byron Katie’s work is great used along with continuous tapping.
Re the global crisis story I agree absolutely. It is just a story. A shared story which only the collective belief gives it substance. One view I find myself taking… because I like it! … is thinking of it as that this could be the beginning of a very positive transformation of how we do things financially in this world. I have no idea of how or what (I’m not an economist) but maybe this is going to lead us to a better way. Sometimes systems experience a certain amount of breakdown in order for them to change. We do it too sometimes. But it doesn’t have to be painful. Its mainly the fear that causes the pain. Insecurity can feel a bit disturbing but when systems become less firmly formed, it opens the way for new form to develop. Instead of fear we could have some excitement about where we are going. That feels a much better feeling thought to me!
Here’s a quote from Eckhart Tolle (The New Earth) that I love…
‘When you become comfortable with uncertainty, infinite possibilities open up in your life… fear no longer prevents you from taking action’
love from Ruth


Many people are afraid and many others are in denial. Ruth says she’s not an economist (she also had some useful things to say). Well maybe it would be good if we all tried to understand the economics of the global financial crisis – AND we are having a crisis. To say it isn’t so is a form of Denial (which is also very common.) We need to aviod panic by using understanding. Both panic & denial are two poles of the same problem. We DO need to learn how to do more with less. The West has been self-indulgent (record levels of debt). If we want to have more we have to become more productive, not put extra on the credit card. Thank goodness the Howard govt. is gone, as they were a big part of the problem. They were happy to benefit from the real estate ‘explosion’ (prices), yet cut funding to universities drastically. They also neglected to invest in infrastucture which would have helped Aust. & which we will have to spend on later & at higher prices.
So let us all cut back on unnecessary spending, become more productive, give better service to our customers, be innovative & creative – and things will get better – but it will probably get worse before it gets better – and it will takes a little time.

Hi Steve,
Thanks for your paper. i totally agree. I went to ” A school of you” with Byron Katie last summer and it was stunning. I had not read a book. I loved when she said “stop fighting with reality”. “Fall in love with reality”. We keep fighting with it by wanting others/things to be like we want. Her thoughts combine magnificently with tapping. Being with her for 9 days was mind blowing, even for a convinced and professionnal tapper.
Love from Belgium.

Rachel G.

Fantastic article, great ideas. It gives a lot of courage to people to say that money should be seen as a part of bartering. That G-d gave EVERYONE different resources, and as we swap, each person gets what they need. BUT they need to a) not be too attached to the resources that they have, that they can’t swap them for the resources that they need, and they must also b) believe that they need, or can have, what is good for them, so that they think of swapping, and c) not be too attached to the idea that money is the only resource which causes people to be either proud based on having it, or despairing if they don’t!
Thanks for giving me the opportunity to GET pleasure by giving advice!

From a Public Accountant’s perspective – very good timely advice!



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