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The Work Is Only Exploration

Exploration is all openness. You never know what you’ll find around the corner.

Are you Trying to Persuade Yourself?

Sometimes people get stuck in doing The Work. They feel like they are trying to persuade themselves of something that is not true for them. And naturally they start to resist and resent The Work because of it.

But Trying to Persuade Yourself to Feel Differently than You Do Is Not The Work

The Work is pure exploration. I just want to find my truth.

If I have a preconceived idea of what my truth should be, then I miss finding what my truth really is.

Maybe my experience is that “This dog bites.” To pretend that this dog does not bite would be to go into denial.

This Is Not The Work

The Work is just a way to look at all sides of it. Maybe it is true that this dog doesn’t bite – maybe not all the time, and maybe not as badly as I think. Just going through the questions and turnarounds of The Work will help me explore this.

And maybe it’s also truer that “I bite myself” or “I bite the dog.” These are turnarounds worth exploring. They help me look for my part in my own suffering. For example, am I the one who keeps hanging out with a dog that bites?

But just because I explore it, doesn’t mean it’s true for me.

There Are No Right Answers in Inquiry

Just because I ask myself, “Is it true?” doesn’t mean that it’s not true. And just because something is a turnaround, doesn’t mean that it’s automatically true. It’s my job to look and see for me.

If the dog really does bite, then I can also use the turnaround, “This dog bites! Yay! How is that a good thing?”

This is what I mean by exploration. I’m looking for my truth. I’m not looking for “right answers.” The more I hold this attitude, the more enjoyable The Work becomes. And the more surprises I discover. I just never know where The Work will lead.

My Job in Inquiry Is to Find My Truth

The four questions and turnarounds can help me explore, but ultimately only my truth can set me free.

If I’m still not free after doing inquiry, it just means that I haven’t fully seen my truth yet. My stress level lets me know. If I’m still stressed, I’m still missing something.

That’s why The Work is an ongoing process. Over time, through lots of exploration, I often find my deepest truths—the truths that truly bring me peace. But this is very different than trying to persuade myself to be peaceful, or trying to not believe something that I believe.

I encourage you to explore with a completely open mind when you do inquiry, and see what you naturally find.

Have a great week,

“It’s your truth, not ours, that will set you free.” 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.