Sometimes I’m Just Not Willing
So, when it comes to turning around some statements on Line 6 of a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet, my inquiry sometimes comes to a grinding halt.
Or does it?
Just because I’m not willing does that mean I’m not doing my inquiry?
What Exactly Is Inquiry?
Inquiry means to inquire, to ask. And self-inquiry means to ask myself.
The Work of Byron Katie is a kind of self-inquiry, a way of asking myself what my truth is, and exploring all sides of my truth.
So when I come to a statement on Line 6 and try the turnarounds “I’m willing to…” and “I look forward to…” all I’m doing is asking myself what my truth is.
Just Because It’s a Turnaround, Doesn’t Mean That It’s True for Me
I’m just looking.
If I use this objective approach while doing my inquiry, then I will be open to discover my truth through inquiry. Maybe I’m just not willing to sit on a hot beach, and maybe I really don’t look forward to it.
Just because I find this truth about myself, doesn’t mean that I’m not doing inquiry. I am doing inquiry. And my answer is “I’m not willing.” That’s my truth. My integrity.
Integrity is Everything When Doing The Work
If I don’t see a genuine reason why, “I am willing to…” or “I look forward to…” then I stop there. I’ve found my truth. I’ve done my inquiry. The Work is not about going into denial.
But The Work is about exploring every side of my truth.
Sometimes, I see things from only one narrow perspective. When I do The Work, I look at lots of different angles. That’s what the turnarounds are for me: ways of looking at angles I might never consider otherwise. In the turnarounds, I consider whether the very opposite of what I believe might be true.
This Is What’s So Amazing About The Work
Unless I’m doing The Work, I might never seriously consider the possibility that I might be willing to sit on a hot beach in August. It would always be a closed door for me. But The Work invites me to consider the very opposite of what I think. Just to keep an open mind.
Not to force myself to step out of my integrity in any way. Only to explore all sides. And to see if any new perspective I find through inquiry might also be true for me. It’s about being open to seeing things differently, but not about overriding my integrity in order to give a “right” answer.
Here’s What It Would Look Like for Me
“I am willing to sit on a hot beach” could be true in that I know that I will survive. I have survived before. And if the right people were there, I might be willing to put up with the discomfort to be with them. I would be more willing to sit on a hot beach if I were able to stay under an umbrella, and if I had good sunscreen, and if the water was cool.
So as I explore this, I see that it’s not an absolute for me. Yes, my preference is not to sit on a hot beach ever again (it’s actually one of my definitions of hell). But as I start exploring with this turnaround, I’m starting to see some wiggle room. And the longer I sit with this turnaround, looking for examples, the more ways I start to see that it would be okay with me.
For example, I can put up with almost anything if I’m having a good conversation. I do like to play with kids, and would have fun in the water and building sand castles. I could take a break every hour and go inside and read a book or play a board game with other shade lovers. Yeah, who says I have to stay out all day, even though others do?!
So as I sit with it, more willingness comes. This is exploration. This is The Work. I’m still in my integrity, but my mind and heart are opening to the very thing I was certain I never wanted to do again.
This Openness Is the Point
Just because I do this work, doesn’t mean I’m going to start renting a beach house every year in August. No, my preference is still to spend time in a cabin in the woods by a lake. But by exploring this, I’m no longer so strongly avoiding the beach in my mind. I am less restricted. And the less restricted I am, the freer I feel inside. I’m more open to everything. And that feels like an open heart.
That’s the only reason why I do The Work. Because exploring these opposites opens something in me. But not always. Sometimes I explore and find that I’m still not willing. That’s okay too. All I am doing is looking when I do The Work.
If I ever think, “I should be willing…” or “I should be looking forward to…” when I do my work, then I question that. There is no should for me in The Work.
Have a great week,
“Q: ‘What do you mean by “Don’t be spiritual—be honest instead?’
A: ‘What I mean is that it’s very painful to pretend yourself beyond your own evolution, to live a lie, any lie. When you act like a teacher, it’s usually because you’re afraid to be the student. I don’t pretend to be fearless. I either am or I’m not. It’s no secret to me.’” Byron Katie, Loving What Is.
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