I can give someone a bouquet of flowers but I can’t give them The Work.
I think it happens to all of us.
I get drawn into wanting to help someone. Don’t get me wrong. Helping is a wonderful thing in the areas where I can help. But self-inquiry is one area where I cannot help anyone but myself.
I am literally powerless to help a client when facilitating The Work. All I can do is ask them the questions.
Only they can discover the truth in a turnaround. Only they can experience who they would be without a particular thought. Only they can do their work.
Which brings me to my point.
I tend to think that The Work of Byron Katie is the four questions and turnarounds that are so familiar to anyone doing The Work.
The Work is what the client does. The Work is the process of diving into oneself to see what truths can be found.
The Work is the discovery within yourself of some unexpected truth that shifts your perspective from victim to laughter.
That’s what The Work is. The real Work is the work you do internally (with the questions) and the realizations that come out of that.
Confused in the sense of thinking that The Work is something I have that I can give to my client. As soon as I think that, I am no longer an equal to my client. I am “superior,” trying to help, and completely powerless to do so.
I may even try to “help” by offering my answers to the questions. I may be sharing my precious insights with the client. But they are not my client’s insights. They are mine. Those insights are my work. They are not their work. And so they fall flat.
I wish I had a nickel for every time I offered an example for a turnaround and the client immediately said, “Yeah, but…”
So it wasn’t theirs. They could just as well have gone to any book and read the answer there. There is no self-inquiry going on. They are hearing my insight, and then matching it with what they already believe. If it’s a match, they accept it. If it’s not, then they reject it.
But in either case, I’ve accomplished nothing. They still are right where they were. Same as always.
The only thing that can take them to a new level of understanding is for them to sit with the questions and turnarounds and find their own insights. When they discover it for themselves, then it’s revolutionary for them.
Anything I do for them is superficial at best.
Because it can still be helpful to a client to hold them in their process of inquiry. And to remind them that they’ve left the process when the mind wanders or resists. That’s all.
And there’s often an added comfort value for the client in just being with another human being who is also diving inwardly. That camaraderie can facilitate the process.
Of course, there can be some natural cross-pollination that occurs as two minds meet. But ultimately the facilitator has at most a side role to play. Because only the client can do his or her own work.
If you want to do some in-depth training on how to do The Work with a partner, take The Work 102 course.