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How Does The Work Fit in with Wanting to Help Change the World?

Last updated on December 8, 2021

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The world is a big place with lots of room for improvement.

Do You Feel Called to Change the World?

One person just emailed me, “Our world is suffering. People are suffering. There are those of us who are called to be alchemists of these intense collective energies as the world is becoming something new. There is a birthing going on. Women feel it in their beings and gather in circles to share and co-create new states of being to help mitigate the intense electromagnetic energies that are present. Can you please tell me how to work with The Work and at the same time be true to my calling as an alchemist? Do you have clients who are doing this kind of work and find balance and benefit with The Work too?”

What I Hear in This Is a Perceived Conflict

A conflict that if you do The Work, then you will lose interest in changing the world. After all, the turnarounds always point back to the self.

It’s easy for the mind to interpret this as: “I should just stop serving the greater good.” But is that true? Is it true that The Work points me away from service to the world?

The Work Only Points Me Away from Suffering

If I believe that the world is suffering, I suffer. When I see that I’m causing my own suffering, the need to change the world goes away.

But just because the need to change the world is gone, doesn’t mean that I have to stop doing things to change the world. It’s totally ironic.

The only thing that changes as I do my work is that my neediness drops away. I don’t need the world to be a certain way in order to be happy. That is freedom.

The same actions that I would have done before for the world can be done now simply out of service, out of kindness, out of love. There’s no desperation for results. There’s no anger when anyone gets in the way. There’s no anxiety that things are out of place. There is only humble, quiet service with a full heart.

And That’s Where True Alchemy Begins

Alchemy can’t happen when I’m angry. It can’t happen when I feel desperate for the world to change. Or when I feel overwhelmed with fear and sadness about the world. When I’m believing my stressful thoughts, I become paralyzed.

When I question my stressful thoughts, I become free to act boldly for change.

In this way, The Work is a direct help for activism in the world. It takes care of my internal world, and when there is peace inside me, I have the much needed space for alchemy. In fact, there is no greater service to the world in my opinion than a truly open heart. Miracles happen in that space.

It’s funny that not caring about the world ends up allowing me to better serve the world.

The Work and Service Can Be Done Together

I don’t have to be free first before I can be of service. I can do both The Work and service as I grow. The two feed off of each other beautifully. When I get stressed by my service, it shows me what to work on next. And when I do my work, it allows my service to become more peaceful and more effective.

Together, service and inquiry are like two legs carrying me forward on my own path of growing peace—which happens to be the same path for growing peace in the world.

Have a great weekend,
Todd

“When you believe that such apparent horrors shouldn’t happen, even though they do happen, you suffer. So you’re adding one more person’s suffering to the world’s suffering, and for what purpose? Does your suffering help anyone who is being harmed? No. Does it motivate you to act for the common good? If you pay close attention, you’ll see that this too isn’t so. By questioning the belief that these things shouldn’t happen, you can end your own suffering about the suffering of others. And once you do, you’ll be able to notice that this makes you a kinder human being, someone who is motivated by love rather than outrage or sadness. The end of suffering in the world begins with the end of suffering in you.” Byron Katie, A Mind at Home with Itself

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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