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Is it Safe to Do The Work?

Last updated on December 16, 2020

amusement park ride
An amusement park ride is scary because it feels like it’s out of control. But it is actually a very controlled situation.

Will The Work Throw me Out of Control?

This is a really important question if you’re thinking about doing The Work. The last thing many of us want is to let our wild side gain the upper hand again.

Have you done that in the past? And found that it brought bad results? Maybe you exposed yourself too much to someone. Or maybe you looked a little too directly at a scary issue in yourself. And it left you feeling more depressed and hopeless.

The fear is that The Work might open up the same can of worms.

My Experience Is The Opposite

Inquiry is different than just opening up. When you bring the four questions and turnarounds into any area that is stressful, you have a built-in way to find the positive side.

That’s why doing The Work comes with a lot of laughter for me. The four questions and the turnarounds help shed a different light on what I thought was a scary area. It’s funny to find out that what I thought was a snake is only a rope.

My experience with The Work is that I laugh with relief at seeing the truth. What I thought was scary is actually not scary at all. I often find that I was almost hypnotized into seeing only the scary part. Through The Work I break my own illusions. And then they can no longer scare me.

But People Are Crying on the Videos

This can be a scary fact if you’re afraid to let your emotions surface. You may see those videos of people doing The Work with Byron Katie and want to run. This is because you may imagine they are feeling upset, out of control, etc. when they cry, and that the same might happen to you.

But everyone I know who does The Work describes it as a release. There may be tears. But there is freedom there as well. Many many people report that it feels more like coming home. The tears are just a natural part of letting go for some people.

In my case, I don’t think I’ve ever cried when I did The Work. It’s not required. I’m more apt to laugh, or just open up my heart. That’s just my way.

But will The Work Break Down Too Many Barriers at Once?

It’s funny how we often give “The Work” power, as if it were some external force. It is nothing but a bunch of questions. We are completely in control.

Yes, those questions invite us to break down our own barriers. But my experience is that they are so gentle. They always point me towards a kinder way of seeing things. And I can go as slow or fast as I would like.

In all the years that I’ve been doing The Work, I’ve never felt that I went in too deep. Each layer of inquiry has revealed a truth that I was capable of handling. And this confidence has increased with experience.

If you are not so sure, I encourage you to work with a facilitator to hold you in this gentle, kind process.

Have a great week,
Todd

“There’s no suffering in the world; there’s only an uninvestigated story that leads you to believe it. There’s no suffering in the world that’s real. Isn’t that amazing! Do The Work and come to know it for yourself.” Byron Katie, Question Your Thinking, Change The World

About the author

Todd Smith has been doing The Work of Byron Katie on an almost daily basis since 2007. He is just as excited about this simple process of self-inquiry today as he was when he first came across it. He also enjoys writing about The Work, and training others in the subtleties of this meditative process. Join Todd for The Work 101 online course, private sessions, virtual retreats, and his ongoing Inquiry Circle group.

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