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Enjoying the Fruits of Inquiry

apples on the treee
An orchardist works all year for the fruit that comes at harvest time.

Enjoying the Fruits of Inquiry

During the month of August, I didn’t do any work (job-related work, or The Work). Instead, I just relaxed. I slept a lot and I played a lot of pickleball. It’s amazing how hard it is to stop working at first, but I soon found the groove of doing pretty much nothing. 

But the insights and perspectives gained while doing the formal work before my vacation were not lost when I stopped my work. This is one of my favorite things about The Work: once you see things differently, those insights tend to stick and resolution often happens pretty much by itself. 

I Worked a Tough Situation in June and July

I spent a couple of months working through a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet on someone with whom I got in an argument last winter. It was a complex situation and I felt both justified and guilty in how I had acted at the time. Basically, we stopped talking after that phone call.

In fact, I didn’t have any hope that we would ever speak again. I just did my worksheet because I knew I needed to work it out for myself. (By the way, that is my favorite way to do The Work.)

I Finished My Worksheet Just Before Vacation

Ironically, just at that time, I started bumping into this person from time to time. At first, I was surprised when I said “Hi” to him. I noticed that I was no longer wanting to avoid him. In my work, I had seen how the situation last winter was hard for me to navigate. I saw what I could have done better, and I stopped demonizing him.

As a result, when I saw him, it felt okay underneath, only a little awkward on the surface. As life would have it, I soon started bumping into him more, and it continued to be easy. I could sense the growing trust between us.

At One Point I Knew I Had to Say Something

The heart of the issue was gone. I knew it and felt it, but that little bit of awkwardness remained on the surface. I knew I had to apologize for my part. So one day when I was alone with him, I told him I owed him an apology for what happened. 

It felt so good to apologize. I no longer needed to hide anything after doing my work so thoroughly the months before. I truly did see where I had not acted optimally in the situation, and how it had hurt him. Now it was easy to own up to it with him.

He appreciated my apology very much and he also apologized to me. In a minute, it was done: the final piece of a two-month inquiry. The last bit of awkwardness between us melted away then.

Since Then, I Feel Happy to See Him

The difference is like night and day. Now I see someone I respect and appreciate. I see all the ways we are mutually beneficial to each other. I feel a connection. And I enjoy hanging out with him.

It seems normal now, but I know that this beautiful endpoint was the result of my inquiry. It’s hard to believe that a situation so stuck could turn around to be something so comfortable now. 

The key was admitting, first to myself, that I was a big part of what went wrong on that phone call six months ago. That’s why I’m so grateful for this simple process of self-inquiry known as The Work of Byron Katie (4 Questions and Turnarounds). Again and again, it gets me to look where I’d least want to look in order to find the peace I wish to experience.

Ready to Do Some Work This Fall?

A new class of The Work 101 starts on Sep 13 and goes to Nov 14. This course is designed to give you the maximum experience of doing The Work in the most supportive environment.

You will find detailed documents and videos explaining how to do The Work, including many nuances of the practice, and you’ll be doing The Work almost every day. Members of Inquiry Circle and I will be reading all of the work you do and will be leaving comments. If you want to begin or deepen your practice of The Work, this is a great way to start. It is also the prerequisite to becoming a member of Inquiry Circle afterwards.

Learn more about this course and sign up for The Work 101 starting Sep 13 here. Registration closes on Sep 8.

Have a great month,

“Are you letting the realizations you experience through inquiry live in you? Live the turnarounds, report your part to others (so that you can hear it again), and make amends, for the sake of your own freedom. This will certainly speed up the process and bring freedom into existence as your own life, now.” Byron Katie, Loving What Is

Further reading: Making Amends Is an Internal Process

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.