One of my favorite things about The Work is that you are your own guru, teacher and educator. You answer the four questions known as The Work or self-inquiry (or Inquiry Based Stress Reduction IBSR if you want to get fancy). You find your own turnarounds.
You’re working intimately with your mind on situations that have actually happened in your life–and you’ve got your sometimes vivid, sometimes foggy, painful memories of that situation.
The thing is….when I first started out in The Work….I kind of had mixed feelings about the whole ME being the teacher thing.
What??! I’m the teacher? I’m the guru? DANG IT. That can’t be right. This? (pointing to self). Seriously? Are you talkin’ to me?
Byron Katie suggests: “Anything you want to ask a teacher, ask yourself. And wait for the answer in silence.”
But. (Let’s be honest).
That’s actually the problem here!
My ways don’t seem to work so well. I’ve done it wrong. I have huge flaws. It seems like something’s missing! There must be some mistake.
Can’t you see? I am NOT the teacher. I’m a dork!
(And I know the Voice in the head to some of us is pretty mean. It calls you names far worse than “dork”).
The thing is, this orientation towards ourselves can be so loud, so rude, so dismissive, and so fretful….
….you don’t feel like you can answer these questions about reality and the world and your life, with any kind of confidence or clarity. The despair has already set in. Maybe you worry that if you DID answer the questions, they’d be the WRONG answers.
At least, that’s how I felt about my own answers. Tentative. Nervous. Very lacking in trust.
I was totally convinced I was LOOKING for answers, not that I HAD answers already. Stop telling me I have answers! I don’t!
Here’s the good news: all these ideas about you missing something, about you not being the teacher? They are only more thoughts, upon thoughts, upon thoughts. And very worthy of inquiry.
The energy of attack you have towards yourself, you’ve also had about other people, or life encounters that were scary. It’s a fairly natural human reaction to loss, surprise, shock, or believing you lack love to Go To War with something. Anything. The self is usually the best target of all (it seems). We don’t really want to hurt other people. So we turn it on us.
I keep noticing, everyone is truly a real softie inside for the most part (OK, always). We really don’t want anyone to suffer. We wish we ourselves didn’t suffer.
So what do we do with The Work if we feel like we can’t answer the questions, or trust our answers, or we feel super confused, and we’re just so dang sure we can’t be the One, or the teacher?
Start with….naturally….The Work.
Is it true you can’t answer the four questions and get anywhere, or be your own teacher? Are you sure your answers aren’t the complete package, the full monty, the best way?
It FEELS like there’s something missing here, but I can’t know it’s absolutely true.
How do you react when you think the thought that you can’t really be your own personal guru, or answer-giver?
I circle the globe looking for other teachers. Better teachers. Other people who know a lot more than me, or seem to. I get nervous about who I can or can’t trust. I’m full of longing. I think the answer is in Rishikesh. Not here. I listen to hours of talks on youtube.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Because there really isn’t. Amazing wisdom resides in this world. And some of it’s on the internet.
How do I react?
I DO NOT DO THE WORK. Not all by myself.
I keep saying “whatever’s here can’t be it”. I think it’s not enough. I’m not smart enough, good enough, wise enough, patient enough, slow enough, fit enough, relaxed enough.
But who would you be without your story that you aren’t the teacher you’ve been waiting for?
I’m not even sure who I’d be. OK though. I’ll try to answer.
Without the belief….I’d feel curious. Kind of weird. Unknown. I’d notice the space I’m in, the present moment. I’d notice the mind very busy with thought, and also a pulsing aliveness here. I’d find it funny that I have no answers, but feel like that’s also OK somehow. I’d notice I’m here.
Turning the thought around: I am my own teacher. I’m the One I’ve been waiting for.
How could this be just as true, or truer?
I’m the only one who has been here for every single moment of my life, in addition to some part of “reality” or “life” or “creation” which has also been here all of my life (call it God if you like).
I’m the only one who knows the in’s and out’s of the way I move through life.
I’m the one who remembers the situations the way I remember them, whether painful or joyful. They get locked in my mental files just THAT way, even if others were there to observe it differently.
Even when I’ve been the meanest to myself you can imagine, with really violent thinking, I haven’t eliminated myself. Something has stuck here even when thoughts were cray cray. I’m still here!
I’m the one who’s been drawn to all these amazing experiences and fascinating characters who are fellow travelers here on earth. All the wonderful teachers, the programs (like the school and other beautiful retreats and gatherings). I said Yes. Even without getting why.
Except for my thoughts, life is pretty astonishing, unusual, full of magnificent variety, and totally weird.
I am that.
Someone wrote a book with that title….and it could be entirely and completely just as true or truer that you are.
If you’re not so sure about doing The Work or if questioning your thoughts can bring freedom, and a joy you never expected….
….join me for a really powerful webinar coming soon where I go into depth about what it is that keeps self-inquiry from working.
When you register, you’ll get a list of ten barriers I’ve found that all point to the very same Big Kahuna barrier of Not Believing I’m The One I’ve Been Waiting For.
Perhaps all these ten barriers are just ways we remain ignorant, or entrenched in our idea that This Can’t Be It.
I find it’s been helpful to see all these little ways the mind will sabotage, sneak around, trick, or try to stay in a fearful place about life and What Is.
And although I’ve taught the webinar before, every single time I show up and share the slides, the barriers, the exercises, something changes and is new. It’s never the same, based on the questions that come and who attends.
Join me Friday, July 7th for a live webinar: Ten Barriers That Make The Work Difficult, Meh, or Unconvincing….And How To Deepen Your Self-Inquiry Instead.
I’ll also answer questions at the end about the upcoming Year of Inquiry, a small group immersion in The Work from September 2017 through June 2018 with Summer Camp for The Mind for July and August 2018 also….a full and entire year with a small group of devoted inquirers, all doing The Work together.
Everyone who completes the Full Year of Inquiry Program can receive credit for a 9 day School for The Work plus 80 additional credits in training towards Certification in The Work.
Many (maybe most) people join are not pursuing accreditation. Because it’s simply about being in The Work, remembering to question what you’re thinking that hurts.
This program is about YOU. You being your own teacher. Your Year of Inquiry, your school of yourself. You really are the guru or teacher of your own life, and sharing it with us all is a gift.
If you’d like to learn more, besides the Big Kahuna barrier of believing you are not enough and NOT your own teacher, then sign up for the upcoming 90 minute free webinar I on this topic of barriers that prevent us from questioning our thinking, and loving what is.
When you register, I’ll be including a summary handout of the ten barriers.
Sign up for the Webinar: Ten Barriers to Doing The Work right HERE. https://workwithgrace.lpages.co/webinarswithgrace/
We meet online Friday, July 7th Noon – 1:30 pm. At the end of the webinar, I’ll include information on Year of Inquiry plus Q & A, so bring your questions!
“You are the one you’ve been looking for.” ~ Byron Katie