Category Archives for Deepening The Work

Vulnerability Is One of the Keys in Doing The Work

water

If you dip your toe in the water or go completely under water, you will get wet either way.

How Far Are you Willing to Venture In?

The Work of Byron Katie will meet you wherever you are. You don’t have to go deep. Just a dipping a toe into The Work will take you a step closer to yourself. It is a perfectly self-regulating process.

Pushing yourself faster than you are willing to go is not helpful, just as trying to swim in the deep end too quickly can be dangerous. But continuing to venture deeper as confidence and skills increase is also wonderful.

How else can you see the beautiful coral reefs and fish? One toe in the water is great, but when you’re ready, a deep dive is too.

My Suggestion Is to Keep Inching Deeper

For me this means bringing the stuff that’s really bothering you to The Work. There are small issues which are great to work, and there are big issues that are also great to work. I tend to alternate between small and big depending on how I’m feeling. (Of course, there is no such thing as small or big—every issue is small and every issue is big!)

But I do notice that there are certain subjects that I consistently avoid doing The Work on. These are the areas where I’m not so sure I’ll be able to do a neat, clean piece of inquiry wrapped up with a bow.

These are the areas where I’m totally confused, embarrassed, and ashamed.

I Have to Gauge my Readiness to Expose This Stuff

If I’m just not ready, that’s okay. It will wait patiently, though probably it will eventually explode again and again until I decide to work it. But those explosive moments are also perfect starting points for doing The Work.

In any case, if I decide to work these scary, uncontrollable areas that I try to keep sealed up in Pandora’s box, I have to understand that all hell may actually break loose. I have to be willing for it to happen. Otherwise, I’m just being mean to myself to push myself there.

Confidence in The Work comes when I start with my small issues and find some peace with them. As I trust the process more and more, and as my ability to not beat myself up or go into defense while doing The Work improves, I can take on my deepest fears, my biggest angers, my saddest stories.

And When I Do, I Step Out of the World of Control

I am in pure darkness, feeling my way along using the four questions and turnarounds as my guide out of darkness and pain. Each step of The Work allows me to choose between more pain and less pain like a game of warmer/colder allowing me to feel my way home.

As your experience in doing The Work increases, I encourage you to go there. The more you bring to The Work, the more you get out of it. So bring your worst side when you’re ready. That’s the side that needs the most loving attention. And that’s the side that will be most grateful when it’s done.

It takes courage to show up as you really are. But it’s the only way I know to transform the shame into clarity.

If you want support being held as you do this work, that’s what private sessions are for.

Have a great week,
Todd

“We’re so secretive about what makes us feel ashamed that we even try to keep it from ourselves, clinging to our pretense of self-respect while our thoughts run on about how terrible we are and how unforgivable the things we’ve done. Secrets cry out for inquiry. You can’t be free if you’re hiding. And in the end, the things we’re ashamed of turn out to be the greatest gifts we have to give.” Byron Katie, I Need Your Love, Is It True?

Diving Deeper Through a Portal

azalea blossom close up

Once I enter the world of the flower, new worlds open up within that world. I’m diving deeper through a portal to find even more portals within it.

How to Find the Deepest Corners

The Work of Byron Katie is way of bringing the light of awareness to the deepest areas of the mind, where the light may still be dim. This process of self-inquiry allows me to make peace with anything, no matter how hidden and persistent it may be.

But how do I work these deep issues?

Surprisingly, the deep issues are not actually so hidden. They may have deep roots, but they also have branches, flowers and fruit above ground that are easily accessible.

How Do I Find These Flowers and Fruit

I find them by simply living my life day to day. As I do, I inevitably trip over something. I was going along fine and suddenly I’m triggered. That stress I feel lets me know that I just touched on a part of my confusion.

I don’t have to dig deep to do deep work.

All I have to do is look at my stressful reaction and look for who or what I am blaming in that moment. I write a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet on that person, and question what I wrote using the four questions and turnarounds of The Work.

This is how everyday events become portals into self-inquiry. When you deal with what is coming up now, you also deal with the underworld that supports it. By cutting the branches above ground, you also weaken the roots below.

But You May Find More When You Enter the Portal

Maybe someone triggered you today by dismissing you. So you write a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet on the person who was dismissive. And you work through it slowly meditating on each question and turnaround.

In addition to getting clearer about how to stay peaceful in this situation, you may also start to see images from old situations. There may be older stressful moments and memories contained within this one.

These Old Situations Can Be Worked Too

You may start by writing a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet about someone dismissing you today, but you may end up writing other worksheets on a pivotal times in the past where someone dismissed you. Maybe it was an old friend, or a parent, or a teacher that hurt you, and you still hold that hurt today.

Each of these old hurts could be its own separate Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet.

The combination of working recent situations, and older related situations means that the confusion has little chance to survive. The branches and the roots are be being cut away from both sides.

Sometimes I spend months working through the related worksheets that come up from one small incident that triggered me. That’s how I’m diving deeper through a portal.

Have a great week,
Todd

“I often use the word story to talk about thoughts, or sequences of thoughts, that we convince ourselves are real. A story may be about the past, the present, or the future; it may be about what things should be, what they could be, or why they are. Stories appear in our minds hundreds of times a day—when someone gets up without a word and walks out of the room, when someone doesn’t smile or doesn’t return a phone call, or when a stranger does smile; before you open an important letter, or after you feel an unfamiliar sensation in your chest; when your boss invites you to come to his office, or when your partner talks to you in a certain tone of voice. Stories are the untested, uninvestigated theories that tell us what all these things mean. We don’t even realize that they’re just theories.” Byron Katie, Loving What Is

How to do The Work with the Heart

the lotus is like the heart

Like a lotus flower, the heart is a sensitive gauge. It opens and closes depending on how much truth it senses. This is a clue for how to do The Work with the heart.

How to Drop into The Work?

It is easy to say that The Work is meditation, and that it is done with the heart more than the intellect. But what if your heart is not engaging when you’re doing The Work? What can you do to use more of the heart when doing The Work?

The Heart Loves Tangible Things

Anything real is what the heart loves. That’s why the heart loves the senses. You can touch it, you can taste it, you can see it. The heart gets these kind of things. There’s no need for inference or understanding, just plain, simple, direct experience.

That’s how to do The Work with the heart: keep things real when doing The Work. That’s how to do The Work with the heart, keeping the heart interested. Unless you’re a super intellectual person, the heart loses interest when things get more abstract, logic based, and general. The intellect loves theories, but the heart loves direct experience.

Here’s How to Engage the Heart more when Doing The Work

1. Start with something real. Use a real situation, something you can touch and see and remember. Something that actually happened. The more real and specific and concrete it is, the more the heart can relate to it.

2. Pick subjects that are really up for you. This takes courage. It means stepping past denial and looking at what’s really bothering you. Are you doing The Work on a distraction issue, or is this the one that’s really bothering you? The heart only cares about what’s really up for it. If there’s a burr in your trousers, you may need to take off your trousers to look at it.

3. Don’t try to force your mind to change. If you do The Work with the motive of manipulating yourself or making yourself wrong, you will quickly lose heart. Do The Work for the sole purpose of exploring the truth, looking at all the angles and options. The heart loves the truth when it sees it. It loves the truth even more than being right.

4. Don’t belabor The Work. Ask the four questions, give as clear answers as you can, find turnarounds, and as many examples as you can, and then keep moving. If nothing comes, that’s okay to. The Work is just exploration.

5. Give yourself time to listen to the answers coming from your heart. The heart loves being asked what it thinks. Asking the heart is the essence of doing The Work.

6. Do The Work with other people. The heart often loves connecting with others when doing The Work. In fact, that’s why I created Inquiry Circle. It’s my favorite way how to do The Work with the heart.

Have a great week,
Todd

“I used to call it the voice of the heart. I didn’t have a teacher to tell me, “This is spiritual and this isn’t,” so I just kept following the voice…” Byron Katie, A Mind at Home with Itself

How to Not Short Circuit The Work

wires

A short circuit happens when you bypass the regular circuit.

There Is no Shortcut with The Work

The Work is an experiential process with several defined steps to go through. If you jump from the beginning of the process to the end of the process, you can miss the experience of transformation.

What looks like a shortcut, may turn out to be a short circuit.

Here Are Some Ways This Can Happen

Probably the most common way of doing this is to “flip” a stressful thought to its turnaround without asking the four questions.

Another way it can happen is to take Byron Katie’s words as true, without testing them.

For example, someone recently mentioned to me that Byron Katie often says, “That’s the way it should be because that’s reality.” This is a very valid point and, if I fully understand it, it can be very freeing. It is completely true from a place of surrender.

But It May Be Too Big of a Jump for Me

I may want to surrender to reality, but I may not be able to in one step.

That’s what The Work is for. It breaks it down into smaller steps so that I can slowly move myself from arguing with reality to accepting, or even loving what is.

The first step is to allow myself to fully express my argument with reality. I need to feel fully heard before I’m willing to question anything. That is why writing down the stressful thoughts on paper is so valuable. It allows me to get the rant out of me.

The Four Questions Allow Me to Go Further

Once I have written my stressful thoughts on paper, I do not jump to the turnarounds. Instead, I ask the part of me that just ranted what it thinks. Is it true? Can I absolutely know it’s true? No matter how I answer, my mind starts to open to the idea that there might be more than what I’m believing. This is my first move towards acceptance, but it may not be enough.

Questions 3 and 4 take it further. They help me look at how my belief affects me. Does it bring peace or stress? The question, “How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?” shows me how stressful it is to believe it. And the question, “Who would you be without the thought?” often shows me how peaceful I would be without it.

This simple comparison loosens my attachment to my stressful thought. It helps me see that the thought itself is what’s causing my stress. These are experiential questions, and they continue to lead me from anger to more awareness.

At this Point I’m More Open for the Turnarounds

But even when I find turnarounds, I don’t take them as facts, I hold them as simply new hypotheses. Could the turnaround be as true, or truer? I look for my examples. It is in finding concrete examples that my acceptance of reality starts to crystallize.

At the end of this process, I may be able to genuinely say that “this is the way it should be.” I may find my own acceptance and surrender to reality. But I have to go through this experiential process before arriving at this point.

The Work is a meditation. This is why reading or listening to the words of wise people is helpful, but not always enough. I have to find it for myself before it’s real for me. The Work is what helps me to do this step by step.

Merry Christmas,
Todd

“When the answer comes from inside you, the realizations and shifts follow naturally.” Byron Katie, A Mind at Home with Itself

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Stressful Thoughts vs. Stressful Situations

traffic

Stressful situations show me which stressful thoughts are still in me.

The Work Is About Questioning Stressful Thoughts

When I first started The Work, I would just find a stressful thought and then question it. Then find another stressful thought and question it.

I still do The Work that way today. But my approach has also shifted a bit.

Now I Look for Stressful Situations First

Because I know that whenever I find a stressful situation, I will find all of my stressful thoughts within it.

The difference in this approach is subtle, but powerful, for me.

When I pick a stressful thought without reference to a situation, it can be more challenging to work. It is often less grounded, more general, more abstract, more intellectual.

When I pick a situation first, and then choose stressful thoughts to work from within that situation, it feels very grounded. I know exactly what I’m talking about. It feels more tangible as I work it. And the concrete details of the situation often give rise to unexpected findings as I do my work.

But Sometimes I Find an Unconnected Stressful Thought

Thoughts just pop in sometimes, and I still work them. But even these random stressful thoughts usually come from some specific trigger.

If I look back and ask myself, “When did this thought pop into my mind?” I often find that I was thinking about a specific situation that happened in the past, or that will happen in the future.

So I simply go into that remembered or imagined situation and write my stressful thoughts from there.

Babies Aren’t Born without a Mother

And stressful thoughts aren’t born without a stressful situation. If you want to get full access to the babies, it’s worth getting to know the mother.

Have a great week,
Todd

“The first step in The Work is to write down your judgments about any stressful situation in your life, past, present, or future—about a person you dislike or worry about, a situation with someone who angers or frightens or saddens you, or someone you’re ambivalent or confused about.” Byron Katie, Loving What Is

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Why Write a Worksheet from within One Stressful Moment?

cars on the road

Each moment on the road is a completely different situation.

What Is the Moment?

The stressful moment is the time right after the offense occurred. That’s when it hits you. And that’s when the stress begins. So, whenever possible before writing a worksheet, I like to identify what they did to hurt me (the offense) and the specific moment when they did it.

Identifying one moment may take some meditation. It is usually easier to find a specific moment with certain “slap” kinds of situations, but most situations have a moment, or a time zone, right after the offense occurred.

For me, part of writing a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet is finding the offense and the moment right after it, and holding these as I write.

Let’s Say Someone Literally Slapped Me

The offense is “they slapped me.” So line 1 of the Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet is “I am shocked by them because they slapped me.”

The stressful moment is the moment right after they slapped me when my mind started taking it in. This is the moment I like to hold as I fill in lines 2-6 of a worksheet. I stand in that moment and look back at the offense that just happened. And I let my emotions speak from there.

Line 2: I want them to see what they did.
I want them to own it.
Line 3: They should see that it was done out of reaction.
They should consider what they were defending so strongly.
They should admit what they find to me.
Line 4: I need them to give me some space.
I need them to want to make it right.
I need them to apologize to me.
I need them to say they were wrong.
Line 5: They are out of control, violent.
Line 6: I don’t ever want them to slap me again.

Now Compare that to One Moment Earlier

Let’s say I was not writing from the moment right after the slap, but was writing from the moment before the slap. My thoughts would be quite different.

In fact, Line 1 would be different too: I am angry with them because they are not listening to me.

Line 2: I want them to listen to me.
Line 3: They should set aside their emotions.
They should not take it so personally.
They should give me space to talk.
Line 4: I need them respect me.
I need them to have an honest conversation with me.
Line 5: They are not listening, agitated, reactive.
Line 6: I don’t ever want them to not listen to me again.

Notice there is no mention of a slap here because the slap hasn’t happened yet.

These Are Each Valuable Worksheets

One focuses on the moment building up to the slap. And working through it allows me to find options when someone is not listening.

The other worksheet focuses on the moment after the slap. This is a very different moment, and a very different worksheet. Questioning the stressful thoughts in this moment allows me to find peace after a slap.

Each One Is a Different Surgery

Both are valuable.

I personally like to choose just one moment at a time and go deep with it.

Have a great weekend,
Todd

“Did you stay in the situation described in statement 1?” Byron Katie, A Mind at Home with Itself

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The Work Is 100% Not Needed

mountain road

As wonderful as a highway is, it is not actually a necessity.

Loving The Work vs. Being Dependent on It

I love The Work, and it comes through in my enthusiasm.

If you read some of my articles about The Work, you might think that you have to do The Work in order to be free. But I don’t actually believe that.

I’ve done The Work on The Work, and I’ve done The Work on Byron Katie, and I’m clear that I don’t actually need them at all. And ironically, when there’s no need for The Work, that’s when I able to slip into second gear with The Work. That’s when I’m free to get into it with full enthusiasm.

Because It’s Not Something Other Than Me

The Work always brings me back to me.

The four questions are nothing but questions. The turnarounds are nothing but opposites. There is nothing to The Work at all. The secret sauce is what I find when I look to me.

So if The Work disappeared overnight, and there were no more questions, and no more turnarounds, would there be any problem? No. There are a million ways back home to me.

I’ve Often Noticed How We All “Do The Work”

The Work is just about noticing what hurts and what doesn’t hurt. We all do that anyway.

I think it’s a part of human nature. When we notice something hurts, we question our assumptions, our positions, everything. We often shift our points of view and consider “turnarounds” out of pure instinct.

The Work is nothing new. It is a part of human nature to inquire. Even if the formal practice were forgotten, the natural tendency to inquire would continue, as it has since ancient times.

What I Love About The Work Is that It Speeds up the Process

The same natural tendency to question everything, especially when faced with any kind of suffering, is formalized in The Work.

Byron Katie has boiled it down to four questions and turnarounds. She has made it so simple, so accessible. And in creating a formal practice of inquiry, she has literally created a highway through the mountains.

Personally, I Love the Highway

It’s here, so I use it.

I love zipping through the mountains on the smooth surface of the road. I love seeing how fast I cut through my suffering with The Work.

But I’m also clear that if the highway disappeared, I’d have just as much fun getting out of the car and trekking through the woods, eating the berries, and getting my exercise.

With or without The Work, I am on the same path of coming home to me.

This Adds Another Layer of Freedom to the Practice

With this perspective, I do The Work because why wouldn’t I? There’s no “have to” in it. There’s no “should” in it. There is no element of desperation in it.

And there’s no fanaticism about it—no judging of myself or others over who’s doing The Work or not.

It just becomes an option. Shall I go for a drive or a hike today? I often drive. And I often walk.

Have a great week,
Todd

“The Work is merely four questions; it’s not even a thing. It has no motive, no strings. It’s nothing without your answers.” Byron Katie, Loving What Is

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You Don’t Have to Wait until you’re Angry or Disappointed to Do The Work

beach waterfall

You could be in paradise and still do The Work.

You Might Think The Work Is About Being Happy

But it’s not.

It’s about being peaceful.

And even that is not true.

If anything, The Work is about not being anything.

It’s about being free instead.

How Much Freedom Do You Want?

Some people use The Work just to take the edge off of the pain. And they stop as soon as the pain decreases. With this approach, The Work is like an aspirin that sits in the medicine cabinet and is only brought out when there is a headache.

Others use The Work as an ongoing meditation. A way to step closer to themselves. With this approach, pain is often still the starting point for inquiry, but they keep going even after the pain has subsided because they are interested in deeper balance.

This is like getting some sleep to cure a headache, but then continuing to get extra sleep going forward to prevent further headaches.

This Is Why I Like the Slow, Steady Approach

I’m not looking for quick fixes when I do The Work. I prefer the slow approach of questioning all of the thoughts that originally caused of my suffering. For me, it doesn’t matter if the pain goes away after working Line 1 of a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet. I could quit at that point. I’m no longer in pain. But I don’t.

I tend to work almost all of the statements on my worksheet, even if they don’t stress me anymore. The reason is that the seeds of pain are still lying there in the other thoughts I wrote down.

Even if the thoughts I wrote are no longer active for me, they are still there, sitting unquestioned, waiting for the next opportunity to sprout. When I question them, it makes it that much harder for me to fall for them again.

I Actually Make the Most Progress After The Pain Has Lifted

Instead of stopping a worksheet once the pain has subsided, that’s exactly when I start setting my teeth into the worksheet. Now, there is no resistance as I do my work. And there is no distracting motive to “feel better.” Now, I’m just doing The Work for the sake of truth.

This is the sweetest, most unbiased place for me to do The Work. And I would miss it if I stopped working my worksheet once the pain had stopped.

The Same Is True for New Worksheets

The more I do The Work, the less crises there seem to be in my life. I tend to have a more even keel as I believe my thoughts less. That means that extreme suffering is less and less the motive for doing The Work. And I don’t have to wait for it to start.

Instead, I tend to write a new worksheet, or write a new one-liner to question, just because I’m in the habit of doing The Work. This means that my worksheets are sometimes very minor. Ironically, when I work these kind of worksheets, I tend to have even more insights than I do with the painful worksheets. They are such low pressure worksheets that my mind is much freer to explore as I work.

Sometimes I Work Situations that Are Not Painful at All

Instead of pain, I may notice just some attachment to something that I don’t want to lose. It’s not pain, but it’s the slightest rub of discomfort that prompts me to do The Work.

I don’t need to wait until I lose it, I can set myself free of that attachment even while I still have it. It’s just a matter of questioning what I think I want.

Have a great week,
Todd

“When you attach to any identity, you suffer. Only the unidentified mind is free.” Byron Katie, A Mind at Home with Itself

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Peaceful Coexistence with Addictions

balancing rock

Every addiction has a balance point.

Active Addiction Is an Internal War

One one side you have the attraction of the senses towards the object. And on the other hand you have the internal resistance to indulging. That’s the essence of the battle.

Sometimes the senses dominate, leading to indulgence. Sometimes resistance dominates, leading to abstinence. And round and round it goes: temptation, resistance, weakening of resistance, indulgence, remorse, resolve to resist more strongly next time, temptation, extra resistance, weakening of resistance, indulgence, extra remorse, extra resolve to resist more strongly, etc.

The cycle of addiction is a vicious cycle with ever increasing intensity of resistance and sensory experience. It is exhausting, and wears down the mind, the self-esteem, and even the senses.

Where Is the Balance Point in this War?

Many of us focus on trying to get rid of the addiction, often even doing The Work with this purpose in mind. But this doesn’t usually get too far. Because it is biased. And The Work doesn’t work so well when you’re doing it with a bias.

It’s like taking sides in a war—selling weapons to the side of resistance to addiction while trying to destroy the side of indulgence.

But true peace doesn’t come from victory of one side over the other. If resistance to addiction wins, there may be temporary, external peace. But true peace comes only when resistance and indulgence come into balance with each other.

This Can Mean Doing The Work on the Motives for doing The Work

If the motive for doing The Work is to get rid of addiction, then this motive needs to be questioned. You can literally question, “I need The Work to help me with my addiction.”

This is radical work.

It means literally stepping out into no man’s land. Who would I be without the thought, “I need The Work to help me with my addiction”? I would not be trying to get rid of the addiction. I would see it as the teacher that it is. I would not be pushing addiction away. I would not be using The Work as a weapon against addiction. I would be open to it, unafraid of it, meeting it, listening to it.

As Soon as I Push, I Engage the War

Pushing against the senses is war. And pushing towards the senses is war. For me the balance point lies in neither pushing towards sensory gratification nor pushing against sensory gratification.

At first, this seems like permission to indulge, but it is a really subtle balance point. Neither pursuing pleasure, not fighting against it—that is the neutral place. And in the beginning, the mind cannot land there. It is constantly slipping off to one side or the other. But with practice, in my experience, it can be held.

It feels like the balance between surrender (that the senses are more powerful than me—so resistance is futile) and awareness (that sensory pleasure is not really what I’m interested in). That’s where I can float between not stepping onto the slippery slope of temptation yet not trying to destroy temptation either.

It is a peaceful coexistence (non-interest and non-resistance living side by side). Then I am free. There is nothing I need to avoid. And nothing I want to pursue. I am in a state of balance that is no longer a fragile balance, but rather a balance that can roll with anything that comes—even full indulgence if it comes again, or full resistance if it comes again.

Here Are Some of the Ways I Have Done The Work on This

I like to question thoughts on both sides of addiction:

On the indulgence side
I want to indulge.
I deserve to have fun.
I want to feel good.
It feels so good.
I’m not really addicted.
It’s too hard to resist.
The cravings are too strong.

On the resistance side
I need to stop this.
It’s out of control.
It’s shameful to be addicted.
I shouldn’t be addicted.
Addiction is bad.
I’m a bad person.
I need to be stronger.
I need to resist more strongly.

It Takes a Gentle Approach to Question Both Sides

The mind can start to spin if you go too fast.

I like to take each stressful thought when it comes up naturally in my life. Instead of making a list as I did above, I just wait for the next stressful thought about addiction to arise, and question it. That keeps it real. And ensures that I’m only balancing the part that needs to be balanced in any given moment.

The list above is just a reference for the kinds of thoughts that can come up on both sides of balance. In my experience, it’s okay to question even resistance thoughts. That was the missing piece for me to find my balance point.

Have a great weekend,
Todd

“But here’s addiction: A concept arises that says that I should or I shouldn’t smoke, I believe it, and I move from the reality of the present. Without inquiry, we believe thoughts that aren’t true for us, and these thoughts are the reasons that we smoke or drink. Who would you be without your ‘should’ or ‘shouldn’t’?” Byron Katie, Loving What Is

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Dropping into Question One

two flowers

I miss smelling both flowers if I don’t land on one.

The Ego Loves Noncommitment

It loves to hover. The ego loves generalizations, theory and intellectual analysis. But what the ego doesn’t like is direct testing. Because when you test something, the ego’s theories can be debunked. When you test something, the ego is no longer in control.

For that reason, the ego has many strategies for not dropping into question one of The Work. One of those strategies is trying to answer the question with the intellect.

Question 1 Is “Is it true?”

You could take any statement and analyze it forever and you would never get to a 100% yes or no for this question. You could hire teams of researchers and spend millions of dollars trying to come to a conclusive answer to this simple question. Even in the world of scientific research, there is no such thing as 100% certainty.

All this means just one thing: the intellect is useless when it comes to finding absolute truth. So the question is asking the impossible. “Is it true?” It’s a real hummer of a question.

And it goes nowhere until you stop trying to use the intellect to answer it, and ask the heart instead.

The Heart Doesn’t Care about Reason

The heart doesn’t need proof. And the heart, when asked, can find a decisive opinion about anything. It is only the intellect that discounts, overrides, judges, or suppresses the honest opinions of the heart.

And the ego loves this, because it postpones getting caught in another lie. It’s business as usual for the ego. As long as the intellect is ruling, the answers of the heart get censored in this way.

The Work, on the Other Hand, Is Only Interested in the Heart

If you want to stay on the surface—stay safe—when doing The Work, keep the analysis going. You’ll be able to talk up and down both sides of the issue and land nowhere. In fact, you’ll probably come up with things like, “It’s kind of true?” or “I’m not sure,” or “I can see both sides.”

That’s not it.

When you do that, the ego wins. You have successfully avoided answering question 1.

Here’s Another Favorite Way of Doing This

Say “yes” to question 1 while already planning to say “no” to question 2, “Can you absolutely know it’s true?”

My ego loves this one. It’s so subtle. I can look like I’m being decisive (after all I’m giving a clear yes to question 1 and a clear no to question 2). But really I’m using this trick to not really land.

I sail through questions 1 and 2 untouched, with full ego intact. Why bother even asking these questions if I’m not really going to answer them?

Dropping in Means Dropping in

It’s not convenient. I can’t crank out The Work fast when I truly drop into questions 1 and 2. These questions stop me dead in my tracks if I really take them seriously. Answers don’t come quickly. I get stumped easily if I really try to answer them.

And that’s what The Work is about. The Work is meditation. It is not the answering from the “I know” mind that sets me free. Otherwise, I’d already be free. It’s the dropping in beneath all reason, touching the unknown knowing of the heart that transforms my mind.

Question 1 and question 2 are simply opportunities to drop in deeply. That is the power of these questions. Letting the heart speak for once no matter what it looks like.

It Might Take an Hour to Listen to the Heart

It might take all day. Or just a minute. But everything else can wait. This is the skill that does not get practiced much for me. This is the muscle that needs strengthening. If I could drop into my heart and speak from there at all times, I would never need The Work.

Question 1 is simply a chance to ask myself without agenda as I look at the situation I am working.

Have a great week,
Todd

“Now, the answer to the first two questions has one syllable only: it’s either yes or no. So watch how your mind is going to say, “Well, not really, but, well, yeah, she really did.” That’s not it. You need to get still until a clear answer of yes or no appears.” Byron Katie, A Mind at Home with Itself

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