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The Work Works If You Work It

It’s great to do The Work without attachment to an outcome but that doesn’t mean The Work has no outcome. Quite the opposite is true. The Work bears rich fruit.

The Work Works If You Work It

I love to write about The Work of Byron Katie, especially about the process of doing The Work. As a result, I write a lot about the value of questioning one’s motives for doing The Work. This is because the less attached I am to an outcome, the easier and more effective The Work is in my experience.

So question your motives for sure: “I need to fix this relationship by doing The Work. I want to be free of this worry. I want to be enlightened.” This can loosen your attachment to any outcomes from doing The Work and make it easier to do The Work. But don’t think that there are no outcomes.

I wouldn’t be doing The Work for all of these years if I didn’t get something significant out of the process. Let’s take a look at this side of the story today, just for balance.

What Is The Fruit Of Doing The Work?

In my experience, the fruit of doing The Work is an experience of freedom and internal balance. As I question my stressful thoughts, I usually find that my attachment to one point of view and to getting what I thought I wanted shifts. I become more open-minded. I feel more flexible inside.

For example, I did The Work recently on being interrupted during sleep (yes a puppy was involved). In my stressed state, I hated being interrupted. After doing The Work, my attitude shifted dramatically. I’m now willing to shift out of sleep and into action more seamlessly. 

There is less resistance to doing whatever may need to be done, even in the middle of the night. And there is less fear of being interrupted. In fact, I’m looking forward to testing it out. It feels like I’m a new person. I don’t even recognize myself, but it feels really good.

The Fruit of The Work Is An Experience

When I see things differently, I feel differently. And when I feel differently, I act differently. But it’s all based on how I see the situation. After doing The Work, I usually notice a shift in how I see it.

This opens my heart, allows me to breathe deeper, and relaxes my body. I am less impatient with others, more in touch with myself, and more compassionate. And all of this comes from seeing that my stressful story was not the whole picture. Once I see a bigger picture, my experience changes.

Things I Have Done The Work On

I’ve done The Work almost daily since 2007 and I’ve covered a lot of topics. I usually just let life bring up the next subject or stressful situation to work. Here are a few topics that have really shifted over the years.

Relationship with Partner – When I started The Work I felt stuck in my relationship. It was a big stress for me. There were many facets of the relationship that needed to be worked. I’ve done more work on this relationship than on anything else.

The result has been a gradual change from feeling like a victim and blaming my partner to knowing how to ask for what I want, stand up for myself, and appreciate the qualities that my partner brings. I find myself now where I want to be rather than hoping somehow to escape. This is a direct result of doing The Work. And for me, it feels like a miracle.

Money – I used to worry about money, especially about how to earn it without compromising my values (which are often about spiritual practice rather than making money). Through The Work, I no longer see a conflict between material and spiritual values. 

And through further work on the subject, I no longer worry about not having enough. In fact, my ability to earn has increased dramatically even when doing something that I love to do. But I’m also willing to change my job at any point if necessary. The Work has opened this space in me.

Success – Money is one way of measuring success, but I measure it on many levels. Another name for this is perfectionism. I’ve done a lot of work on this area and I don’t even see it as bad anymore. I love to do things well. I always will. But I’m way less stressed about doing them well when I can’t.

This has shown up in how I run my business, how I play pickleball, how I work out, how I sleep, how I eat, how I learn French, and how I train a dog. In each of these activities, I have done The Work many times on various situations that arise. The result is a healthy non-attachment without giving up.

I often now see a balanced way to achieve things. I pursue my desire to do things well, but also know that I’m fine in case nothing ever comes to completion. I wouldn’t enjoy this kind of freedom without The Work.

Grief – Dealing with my mom’s sudden death in a plane crash in 2010 was challenging, but doing The Work on my stressful thoughts each day sped me through the grieving process. After two months, I was free of grief and full of acceptance and love. And the grief never came back. That comes directly from doing The Work.

And I Could Go On And On

Whenever I bring another stressful situation, be it small or big, to The Work, I see new options. I find ways to balance desire with just being. 

I grow in patience, understanding, peace, and contentment. And my relationships become at the same time more meaningful and less of a big deal. I can only look forward to doing more work over the years to see what new layers of stress will be removed.

Seminars On Money – January and February

Last summer, my friend, Grace Bell, and I created a course called “Living with Money.” If you have any stress around money, or if you would like to prevent future stress, I highly recommend this course. It contains 12 hours of video.

And to increase the value of this course for you, Grace and I are offering six additional free one-hour seminars for anyone who has purchased the course. If you haven’t enrolled, sign up on the Living with Money webpage today. 

The additional seminars will be Jan 11, 18, 25, Feb 1, 8, 15. Don’t miss this one-time opportunity to join us and question your thoughts about money. Purchase the Living with Money course today and sign up for these seminars after you enroll.

Have a great week,

“When I say that the worst that can happen is a belief, I am being literal. The worst that can happen to you is your uninvestigated belief system.” Byron Katie, Loving What Is

Further reading: Living with Money

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.