Keeping The Spirit of The Work

Starting on July 5, 2010, the day my mom, step-brother, and sister-in-law died in a plane crash, I spent the next couple of months trying to make sense of it.

Here’s what I knew. My mom was a pilot with over 1000 hours of flight time. The day they crashed was extremely hot. The propeller hit the runway when they were attempting to land and was damaged. They crashed about a half mile from the airport.

I visited the crash site. I calculated the time they must have been aware of their impending doom (about 30 seconds). I tried to figure out the physics of the crash. And I looked for all the details of the crash that I could find, in the hopes of understanding it. In the hopes of going back in time and avoiding the inevitable. In the hopes of fixing it.

I was obsessed. I played the imagined crash scenario over and over in my mind that summer in a vain attempt to make sense of it.

Until I Realized That It Would Never Bring Me Peace

I could have read every detail of the crash report. I could have studied every aspect of the accident. I could have interviewed the air traffic controllers who saw the crash. I could have watched the videos from the security cameras that captured the event.

I could have made it my life’s work to find out exactly what happened, to analyze every scrap of metal, but it would have never brought the peace that I so badly wanted.

That’s because figuring it out is not the same as finding peace. Peace comes from accepting reality. Making friends with that which you cannot change.

And That Is What The Work Is All About

The Work is about making friends with reality. It is not about figuring things out. The Work is about finding the truth. Finding reality and taking it in fully. And noticing that peace follows when the truth is accepted.

The Work is not analysis, or psychotherapy. It is not journaling. It is not diagnosis. The Work has one singe purpose: to help us love reality just the way it is. This is the spirit of The Work, which we will cover in detail in this chapter.

In the first section of this chapter, we’ll understand how The Work helps us to be genuinely happy with what is. In the second section, we’ll see how The Work helps us to take full responsibility for our own happiness. And in the last section, we’ll look at three common mistakes when doing The Work that can easily take us away from the spirit of The Work.

If you haven’t subscribed to The Work As Meditation newsletter already, subscribe by clicking the big red button below, and start getting articles like this every week. Or continue browsing more articles by clicking on one of these links:
What is The Work?
Relationship and Family Issues
Money and Job Issues
Body Issues
Deepening Inquiry
My Process Exposed