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Think Small, Not Big

Imagine you’re in the water.
You’re not tired.
You don’t have a cramp.
You’re within 20 yards of shore.
The waves are not big.
You know how to swim.

And yet, if panic takes over, you could easily drown.

All you need to do is to slow down and put one arm in front of the other as you swim to shore, but the panicked mind doesn’t think that way. It’s desperate. And in that desperation, there is little hope.

The Same Can Happen When You’re Doing The Work

If you start trying to get out of “deep water” quickly you will probably start to panic, or be a little more desperate in the way you do your work, or become frustrated. 

You may start trying to “jump out of the big problem” as you see it. And not knowing exactly how to do that, it can easily become overwhelming. You may start thinking irrationally, just wanting the suffering to go away. 

This doesn’t help when you want to do The Work.

The Work Is Like Swimming

You have to break it down and take one stroke at a time. There is a certain method to it that is lost when desperation sets in.

So if, like a panicked swimmer, you focus on “how much you need The Work to accomplish” for you, you can lose sight of the small doable strokes you can take to move out of suffering. This is like focusing on how badly you need to get to shore when you’re drowning. It doesn’t help you get there.

If You Want To Learn To Swim, There Is A Way

It’s impossible to learn how to swim when you’re in the traumatic event itself. It’s only afterwards that you start to learn in the safety of the shallow end of a pool.

That’s where the learning takes place, in a calmer setting where the mind is more open to learning.

Like that, real progress in The Work doesn’t necessarily come when you feel you desperately need it (in the middle of trauma). It comes when you’re feeling calmer afterwards and are more open to exploring everything with The Work.

It comes when you break it down and start to deal with just a tiny aspect of the situation, and then a tiny thought within that situation.

Tiny Is The Key Word Here

Ignoring all the other issues in your life for a short time while you do The Work allows you to look clearly at just one thing—maybe just one tiny part of a bigger situation. It might just be a small matter but it is like learning to take one small stroke in the water.

A small stroke that actually propels the body forward.

You feel it when you do this in The Work. It’s satisfying. We’re not solving the big problems of the world, or of our lives. We’re solving the little problems. Trite, little problems, one after the other. And each of those little problems is very manageable when you break it down.

The longterm effect is you learn to swim.

Are you ready to start practicing? Join us for The Work 101 here.