Stretching vs. Forcing

These redwood trees have stretched far beyond the comfort of their original seeds. But each step of growth has been gentle, rather than forceful.

There Is a Balanced Way to Grow

A way to stretch without using force. A way to remain peaceful even when moving out of your comfort zone. A way to grow without burnout. This is the way nature grows.

And it can be helpful to emulate nature in this way when making The Work of Byron Katie a daily practice.

This Comes up in Inquiry Circle

In Inquiry Circle, we do The Work more or less on a daily basis. Everyone works at their own pace, but the idea is to keep practicing on an ongoing basis.

Making The Work an ongoing practice is a balancing act. It’s a balance between listening to the part of me that wants to stretch and grow and to the part of me that wants to take it easy. If I listen only to one side, I go towards one extreme.

Either I don’t engage enough to get the momentum going (even though I want to do The Work), or I engage more than I want to engage, pushing myself towards burnout.

In both cases, the result is the same: I eventually quit the practice.

Opposites Must Coexist for there to be Balance

To maintain an ongoing practice of The Work, I have to be willing to push out of my comfort zone, but I also must be willing to pull back sometimes too.

It’s like driving a car. If I only push on the brake, I will go nowhere. But if I never use the brake, and only use the accelerator, I will surely crash the car. Effective driving comes when there is an ongoing conversation between the break and the accelerator. The driver is constantly adjusting the break and the accelerator based on the conditions of the road. Then she can drive anywhere with ease.

Likewise, engaging in doing The Work—maybe even pushing myself a little to do so—may be necessary if I’m stuck in inertia. It does takes some effort to do The Work. But once I get going, slowing down with The Work can also be important. It’s a constant conversation between these two opposites.

Are You Finding Your Balance?

How are you doing in finding your balance point with making inquiry a steady practice? Are you pushing yourself too hard? Or are you letting it slip? What thoughts are making you push too hard or let go too easily?

I suggest writing down the thoughts that keep you from practicing The Work in a balanced way. And, yes, you guessed it: question them!

Join me for The Work 101 if you want to go a little deeper in The Work. The Work 101 is the prerequisite for joining our ongoing practice group, Inquiry Circle.

Have a great week,

“The practice of inquiry requires a careful listening, a witnessing of what meets the questions.” Byron Katie, A Mind at Home with Itself