How Big of a Mirror Do You Need to See Yourself?

For you, this might look like a close up of a saxophone but, for me, it’s a mirror. I see my fingers holding my camera there.

What Stops People From Doing The Work?

If there is one thing that seems to stop people from doing The Work more anything else, it is this: trying to solve big problems.

Because big problems are big! And important. And daunting.

Big problems make me think, “My whole life is at stake.” This kind of thought adds pressure when I want to do The Work. And it makes me put it off.

Fortunately, The Work Is Much Simpler Than That

The Work is not about figuring things out. It’s not about “getting to the bottom of things.” The Work is not about learning more about myself so that I can control myself. It is not about fixing my life.

It is not even about dealing with issues.

The Work is just a way of exploring. Exploring the possibility that there are no issues, even when I think there are.

The Problem with Trying to Solve Big Issues

If you’re trying to solve big issues by doing The Work, you’ll probably feel the need to look for big situations to bring to The Work. And you set the stage for intimidation and disappointment. You’ll be looking to go deep, to find the mother of all situations. And you’ll be easily dissatisfied. Or you may not even start The Work because of this.

It’s like trying to find a mirror big enough, perfect enough, to reflect your whole life in it! Very difficult indeed. That’s the problem with problem solving.

But When I Just Do The Work on What Came Up Today, It’s Easy

That’s how I like to do The Work. I let life show me what to work on next. I don’t have a plan. I don’t have a strategy. I just wait for the next tripwire that I happen to stumble over. And I do my work on that.

It’s that easy.

I don’t need a mirror the size of a city to see my life. I can see it perfectly well reflected in the tiny, and big, events of daily living.

My Partner and I Laughed About It Last Night

There was a mosquito in the house that was zooming around. My partner said that the mosquito was not sure what it wanted to do.

We both laughed because my partner was feeling exactly that way in that moment. He had been trying to read a book that he didn’t like. And he was getting up and down trying to decide whether to keep reading or find something else to do.

The mosquito was literally his mirror in that moment! His off the cuff judgment about the mosquito described his own mind perfectly in that particular situation.

That’s How The Work Works

The Work takes any situation, invites me to write my thoughts about it, and unfailingly shows me who I am in that moment. That’s why I trust it.

No need to unearth the past. Yet, if some big past situation comes up for me, great; I’m open to work it when it comes up of its own accord. But there’s no need to find the perfect thought to question. There’s no pressure.

I know that I can see myself just as well in a tiny mirror as I can in a big mirror. And small mirrors have the distinct advantages of being both easier to hold and easier to find.

Have a great weekend,
Todd

“If you don’t know what to write about, wait. Life will give you a topic. Maybe a friend didn’t call you back when she said she would, and you’re disappointed. Maybe when you were five years old, your mother punished you for something you didn’t do. Maybe you’re upset or frightened when you read the newspaper or think about the suffering in the world.” 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.