How to Not Short Circuit The Work
There Is no Shortcut with The Work
The Work is an experiential process with several defined steps to go through. If you jump from the beginning of the process to the end of the process, you can miss the experience of transformation.
What looks like a shortcut, may turn out to be a short circuit.
Here Are Some Ways This Can Happen
Probably the most common way of doing this is to “flip” a stressful thought to its turnaround without asking the four questions.
Another way it can happen is to take Byron Katie’s words as true, without testing them.
For example, someone recently mentioned to me that Byron Katie often says, “That’s the way it should be because that’s reality.” This is a very valid point and, if I fully understand it, it can be very freeing. It is completely true from a place of surrender.
But It May Be Too Big of a Jump for Me
I may want to surrender to reality, but I may not be able to in one step.
That’s what The Work is for. It breaks it down into smaller steps so that I can slowly move myself from arguing with reality to accepting, or even loving what is.
The first step is to allow myself to fully express my argument with reality. I need to feel fully heard before I’m willing to question anything. That is why writing down the stressful thoughts on paper is so valuable. It allows me to get the rant out of me.
The Four Questions Allow Me to Go Further
Once I have written my stressful thoughts on paper, I do not jump to the turnarounds. Instead, I ask the part of me that just ranted what it thinks. Is it true? Can I absolutely know it’s true? No matter how I answer, my mind starts to open to the idea that there might be more than what I’m believing. This is my first move towards acceptance, but it may not be enough.
Questions 3 and 4 take it further. They help me look at how my belief affects me. Does it bring peace or stress? The question, “How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?” shows me how stressful it is to believe it. And the question, “Who would you be without the thought?” often shows me how peaceful I would be without it.
This simple comparison loosens my attachment to my stressful thought. It helps me see that the thought itself is what’s causing my stress. These are experiential questions, and they continue to lead me from anger to more awareness.
At this Point I’m More Open for the Turnarounds
But even when I find turnarounds, I don’t take them as facts, I hold them as simply new hypotheses. Could the turnaround be as true, or truer? I look for my examples. It is in finding concrete examples that my acceptance of reality starts to crystallize.
At the end of this process, I may be able to genuinely say that “this is the way it should be.” I may find my own acceptance and surrender to reality. But I have to go through this experiential process before arriving at this point.
The Work is a meditation. This is why reading or listening to the words of wise people is helpful, but not always enough. I have to find it for myself before it’s real for me. The Work is what helps me to do this step by step.
“When the answer comes from inside you, the realizations and shifts follow naturally.” Byron Katie, A Mind at Home with Itself
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