The day begins at 7 a.m. The group gathers for a breakfast, and morning meditation, which is followed by an opportunity to share your insights. The schedule for the rest of the day is morning session, lunch, afternoon session, dinner, and evening session (for those who want more).
I often say, if you really want to be free, have The Work for breakfast. Have it for lunch. Have it for dinner. The more you do inquiry, the more it undoes you. Some people prefer to do The Work as part of an organized program, so I offer the School for The Work, an intense and life-changing journey through your own mind, with aftercare and an extraordinary support system.
If you answer the questions superficially with the thinking mind, the process will leave you feeling disconnected. Try asking the question and going deeper. You may have to ask the question a few times to stay focused, but as you practice this, an answer will slowly rise. When the answer comes from inside you, the realizations (and shifts) follow naturally.
To simply turn thoughts around keeps the process intellectual and is of little value. The invitation is to go beyond the intellect. The questions are like probes that dive into the mind, bringing deeper knowledge to the surface. Ask the questions first, and then wait. Once the answers have arisen, then do the turnarounds. The surface mind and the deeper mind (I call it the heart) meet, and the turnarounds feel like true discoveries.
Turn the statement around to the opposite, to the self, and to the other. Sometimes you'll find more turnarounds, sometimes fewer. When you're dealing with an object, such as the physical body, turn it around to the opposite and also to ‘my thoughts’ or ‘my thinking’—for example, ‘My body is unhealthy’ can be turned around to ‘My thinking is unhealthy.’ And with all turnarounds, find examples (a minimum of three when possible) where the turnaround is as true or truer.
The moment you shift away from genuinely answering the questions and begin to justify or defend the statement you are investigating, The Work doesn't work. In that moment you are using the hopeless method that people have been using from the beginning of time. When you begin to justify or defend your position or go into a story, simply notice what you are doing, then return to the inquiry again. The mind's war with itself is the old way. If you can't end the war within, you can't end the war outside. Welcome to the new way. Welcome to peace.
If you want to know yourself, write about someone else. Point The Work outward in the beginning, and you may come to see that everything outside of you is a direct reflection of your thinking. It is only about you. Most of us have been pointing our criticism and judgments at ourselves for years, and it hasn't solved anything yet. When you judge someone else, inquire, and turn it around (the concept you are questioning). This is the fast path to understanding and self-realization.
It is extremely difficult to judge yourself. Some of us are very invested in our identifications; our ideas about ourselves, how we should look, how we should feel, what we should or shouldn't be doing, are so strong that we may not be able to answer the four questions and do the turnarounds honestly. If you are new to The Work and feel that you must judge yourself, please call the Do The Work Helpline and ask an experienced facilitator to walk you through your Worksheet.
Please go to thework.com, click on Certified Facilitators, and look for a Certified Facilitator near you. Some facilitators are therapists, psychiatrists, psychologists, and other health professionals, and all are excellent facilitators for The Work. These professionals are available by phone, email, Skype, and private “one-on-one” sessions as well. We at BKI are at your service. Should you retain one of these facilitators, please send your recommendations, complaints and/or experience to firstname.lastname@example.org. Your freedom, health, and happiness are important to us.
Mind's job is to be right, and it can justify itself faster than the speed of light. Stop the portion of your thinking that is the source of your fear, anger, sadness, or resentment by transferring it to paper. Once the mind is stopped on paper, it's much easier to investigate. Eventually The Work begins to undo you automatically without writing.
Yes. Do The Work on any subject that is stressful. As you become familiar with the four questions and turnarounds, you may choose subjects such as the body, disease, career, or even God. Then simply use the term “my thinking” in place of the subject when you do the turnarounds.
Example: “My body should be strong, healthy, and flexible" becomes "My thinking should be strong, healthy, and flexible.”
Isn't that what you really want? A balanced, healthy mind? Has a sick body ever been a problem, or is it your thinking about the body that causes the problem? Investigate. Let your doctor take care of your body as you take care of your thinking. I have a friend who can't move his body, and he is loving life. Freedom does not require a healthy body. Free your mind.
Quite the opposite. I notice that if I believe it shouldn't exist when it does exist, I suffer. Can I just end the war in me? Can I stop raping myself and others with my abusive thoughts and actions? Otherwise I'm continuing through me the very thing I want to end in the world. I start with ending my own suffering, my own war. This is a life's work.
The Work doesn't say what anyone should or shouldn't do. We simply ask: What is the effect of arguing with reality? How does it feel? This Work explores the cause and effect of attaching to painful thoughts, and in that investigation we find our freedom. To simply say that we shouldn't argue with reality is just to add another story, another philosophy or religion. It hasn't ever worked.
Yes. Atheist, agnostic, Christian, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, pagan—we all have one thing in common: We want happiness and peace. If you are tired of suffering, I invite you to The Work.