You may ask “What is The Work?”
Whenever you are stuck in a problem, trying doing The Work.
By doing The Work, I list anything that I have bad feelings, annoyances, or grievances about and I write down what I want to do about them. I then turn the request around towards myself, and I realize I am the one who causes my suffering.
Try it yourself. You write down “I am annoyed that the driver cuts me off,” or “I am upset that such and such happened.” I got my husband to go through three scenarios, and he saw the value in writing down grievances.
Don’t do The Work in your mind, without writing it down though. When you write it down, you realize that the grievances you wrote down contradict reality and to contradict reality causes a lot of suffering and the whole point of The Work is to accept reality and end suffering.
The Work works for any grievance–from petty grievances to strong feelings you may feel.
Also, follow the directions very precisely. Here is the entire worksheet, should you want to do The Work: http://thework.com/downloads/worksheets/JudgeYourNeighbor_Worksheet.pdf.
Also, follow the directions very precisely. I missed some key things when I skipped over some questions.
I first heard about The Work, around 2005, and I wrote down three grievances I had. Now, I would like to do The Work for every annoyance I have ever thought about in my life. So far, I came up with at least 100 feelings, and I can’t wait to see how I created my suffering. To save paper, I typed those feelings into an electronic document.
Regarding my self-discovery on The Work, I find that some assumptions I have, I cannot verify as being correct. I really can see the choice I have before me. Do I want to be right or do I want to be happy?
In some cases, I chose to let go of my high standards of quality and instead be patient and tolerant. In other cases, I want to uphold my high standards of quality and decide to be correct now so I can be happy later, as demonstrated in Kenneth Cloke’s Mediating Dangerously: The Frontiers of Conflict Resolution when he praises the benefit of inflaming conflict.
Likewise, the discovery of the truth about yourself becomes crystal clear by doing The Work. According to the Byron Katie’s book Loving What Is, when you start doing The Work enough, living a life without suffering becomes automatic.
Emy Louie is the author of “Fast Trains: America’s High Speed Future.” She has a degree in Architecture from the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa. In 2007 and 2008, she hosted “The Emy Louie Show” interviewing the movers and shakers of Feng Shui, Sustainable Urban Design, and Green Building.