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When I’m Embarrassed About My Worksheet I Know I’ve Hit Gold

Sometimes seeing the truth makes you want to lie down and die.

This Is One of the Mind’s Biggest Tricks For Not Doing The Work

This is how it works. You start by following the directions for doing The Work. You identify a stressful moment, a time when you had some sort of stress reaction, even minor.

Then you start writing a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet about the person or thing that stressed you in that moment. And on the worksheet you start uncovering embarrassing thoughts. Thoughts you’re ashamed to admit you have.

And then the mind starts going, “Yeah, but that was just a little thing. That’s not really the way I feel.” And you miss the opportunity for inquiry. The door closes, and you move on. And once again the power of denial wins.

But The More You Do The Work, The More You Treasure These Opportunities

When a stress reaction happens to me, I know I’ve hit something real. Even if 99% of me sees the pettiness of it, and doesn’t buy in, 1% of me did buy in. That’s why I had the stress reaction.

The Work is for the 1% that’s left. And the mind will try use the 99% to deny the fact that 1% still sits there. But stress doesn’t lie. That’s why I trust it.

If I get triggered, no matter how small it is, no matter how embarrassing it is to admit that I still think that way, I stop and do inquiry. Otherwise, it just sits there, ready to trip me up again. Through inquiry, I deal with it so that I can be 100% free, not just 99%.

You’ve Got To Suck In Your Pride To Do This Work

I recently had an email exchange with someone that I don’t know that well. I gave her some feedback on something she had written. And she appreciated it and asked me to explain my thinking.

Well, that’s always dangerous with me. I went deep and, in addition to giving practical explanations for my feedback, I also tripped over some egotistical reasons why I had given that feedback. So I shared that too.

I was jealous of her, and was looking for an opportunity to cut her down. And I discovered that it was not the first time I had picked on her in my mind.

Now Granted, This Was Pretty Minor Stuff

Like I said, I hardly knew her. And a little jealousy (probably only a 1 on a scale of 1 to 10) doesn’t make much difference in my life, or in our infrequent interactions.

My mind could easily say, “Don’t bother.” And I almost let it slide. But I’m in the habit of writing worksheets, so I wrote one. It turned out to be one of my most potent worksheets of the year.

And the result is that an invisible space between me and this person I hardly know closed. I now see myself as on the same team as her. Jealousy gone. And the potential, if I ever choose to pursue it, to have a good relationship with her.

All That From Paying Attention To My Subtle Trigger

And from not stopping when I saw it was getting embarrassing. The more I do The Work, the more I tend to dive faster into inquiry when it gets embarrassing.

That’s when I know I’ve hit gold. Time to start digging.

Join us tomorrow for the Two-Hour Taste of The Work webinar with Tania Fierro, 9:30-11:30 AM Pacific Time.

Have a great week,

“People who have been in The Work for a while get pettier and pettier on their Worksheets, as they try to find the sticking-points that are left. Beliefs just get more subtle, more invisible, as problems dissolve. They’re just the last little children calling out, “Yoo-hoo! Here I am! Come and find me!” The more you do The Work, the more uncensored you become and the pettier you like to get, because it becomes hard to find something that will upset you. Eventually, you can’t find a problem. That’s an experience I hear from thousands of people.” Byron Katie, Loving What Is

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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.