Hello, dear, dear family of the world. I do hope that you benefit from this letter, and if those of you new to The Work hear something that seems a bit beyond (or way beyond) the ordinary perspective or usual way of thinking in regard to life, death, or anything else, that you feel the discomfort and continue to follow along as well as you can, as it is my hope that you may gain what I have gained through inquiry: peace beyond what can possibly be taught other than by one’s own self—self-realization and the freedom born out of stillness within inquiry. The only way out of suffering, in my experience (and I have a great deal of that), is to drop into one’s own self.
The Work is inquiry. It is a way to identify the thoughts, judgments, and assumptions we place on the past and future images running in our heads that cause suffering, all the way from mild irritation to terror, sadness, and grief. Once you have identified and listed these disrupting past/future internal events and write them down, they are ready for inquiry. For example, let’s say that my child is very ill, I am in the hospital room with my doctors, and they are informing me that they are unable to pin down the cause of the illness, and in the meantime my child’s condition is becoming worse by the hour. I am terrified. I am believing that he is going to die of this unknown disease.
So, in order to actually do The Work on that judgment in my head, which feels like it is terrifying me to death, I look at the situation clearly in my mind’s eye, eyes closed, and begin to question this judgment that I have written down.
“He is going to die” (of this disease). I quietly ask myself, “Is it true?”
“Can I absolutely know that he is going to die (of this disease)?” And it is like summoning up a genie that lives internally within me at all times. I trust this source completely to SHOW me in the stillness the answer to these two questions, and I wait until I see either “yes” (it’s true) or “no” (it’s not true), and remain open to what I am being shown, without prejudice to either one. This is a meditative practice, and to understand such truths being summoned up takes focus, silence, patience, and an open mind. The answers are there already, these simple “yeses” or “no’s,” if you really want to get in touch with the simple truths beyond rational understanding and the peace that comes with them.
Next, notice in that situation how you react, what happens, and how it feels, when you believe that. Be still and witness from that hospital room in your head. See the doctors’ faces, see yourself as you were in that situation, see that time and situation as closely as you possibly can by meditating on it as though it were happening now (because it is happening now in your mind). If you are still enough and are asking in earnest, you will be shown.
Now ask yourself, “Who would you be in that situation without the thought ‘My son is going to die of this disease?’” Meditating on this question as though you were still in that situation, that hospital room, etc. (even though it may have happened years ago), will show you peace, clearly, if your mind is open to all that you see without the thought “My son is going to die.”
Turn the thought around: “My son is not going to die.” Could that be as true or truer? Eyes closed, be still, witness, meditate on that situation in your mind’s eye. You will be shown, beyond fear, what is, was, and always will be already there.
“My son is going to live.” Could this be as true or truer?
“I am going to die” of this thinking disease about my son, while my son is actually still alive, doctors are on the case and doing their jobs, my son is in the hospital being cared for, and I’m worried in a way that keeps me disconnected with him and his potential fears, pain, life, etc. (and for all I know, he may be more settled than I am).
I invite you to go to thework.com, to “universal beliefs,” and find situations to apply to any one or two of them, and began to experience inquiry as a daily practice. Only you can actually shift your mind and life in a way that can give you another, better world that no one has the power to take from you. It is a kind world, it is the world we already live in, as opposed to a world we perceive. If I don’t live in a friendly universe, I have lost touch with reality. (When I make such statements to others, about their own work and world, I am quick to also say, “Please don’t believe me; test it for yourself.”) You are the one, and the power is within you, released through inquiry and silence, that can set you free.
Identify your thoughts. Write them down. Ask, wait, witness, and allow your world of suffering to shift.
These are interesting times we live in, with much turmoil, it seems. If you want to change the world for everyone, you can do it from within yourself. To change the world, question your internal world.
Loving what is, just now, now, now,