This week I dove fully into the Martha Beck coursework and was introduced to “The Work” by Byron Katie. Coincidentally I had seen her book at the library a few times and listened to her doing “The Work” with clients, but I had not connected to it before as a potential tool for life coaching. It involves deeply investigating your thoughts to understand how the stories in your mind project into the everyday reality you observe.
Now that I have read more than half the book, I have come to understand that “The Work” is more than deepening your understanding that your thoughts create your experience. That said, you can’t necessarily change your thoughts, they come through your head like heart beats do through your heart, but upon realizations of the truth and “what reality is” your thoughts will flow to you differently than they did before–>creating new personal realities.
Katie’s process of Inquiry is a journey into self-discovery, which enables you to investigate why you continue to hold onto certain thoughts and beliefs—it helps you to intuitively understand the payoffs you are receiving from the thought as well as the costs.
In her book Loving What Is, Katie takes the reader through a series of examples to illustrate how this process works. What I want to share in this week’s blog post is an example of my own judgment about myself and how I am using “The Work” to help me find clarity and in turn let go of what is not working for me.
My current judgment: I am lazy because I am not working and have a long way to go in creating a thriving coaching business.
Questions from “The Work” to address:
- Can I absolutely know that it’s true?
No, there have been many times in the past that I haven’t been lazy.
- What the reality of it? All of my life I have been busy working or going to school, now I’m not working or going to school in the classic sense and it’s an uncomfortable feeling. From a societal perspective, jobs equal productivity.
- What’s “The should?” I should always be productive and making consistent money to validate my existence.
- How do I react when I think that thought?
Hopeless, worthless, confused and stuck.
- Can you see a reason to drop that thought? Yes, if I did, I would feel less pressure, more at peace and trusting of what will show up.
- Is there a stress-free reason to keep the thought? If I continue to think it, maybe I will kick my butt into gear…but it will continue to bring me stress as I think it….so No—not a stress free thought.
- Who would I be without the thought?
Someone who is on a unique path that isn’t all the way paved, but is taking the time to understand what it takes to pave it.
- And then turn it around:
I am not lazy because I don’t have a job and am currently working to create a thriving coaching business.
The reality is that society connects productivity with having a job. There is nothing I can do to change that, but I can realize that what I am doing is not unproductive just because it is not a full time job at this moment.
Going through “The Work” on this belief has helped me find greater peace and acceptance of myself. That said, those are just words to describe how my mind is working differently. The actual experience looks like: sleeping better, not being defensive when someone questions what I am doing and internally feeling just as worthy as others when I’m in a social setting.
The belief can still pop its negative outcomes into my projected experience and when that happens I go back to “The Work,” knowing that I have not fully extracted this belief. It’s an internal job that has huge external consequences for what I see each day. As Katie metaphorically shares, “you can’t stop the ocean from flowing.” The thoughts will come to you, yet if you do “the Work” on them the waves start to change and the picture you perceive becomes increasingly more beautiful.
What part of your reality would you like to change? Can you find a belief that may be perpetuating it? If so, use “The Work” realization process and see what happens or connect with me to facilitate it with you!