The Work has parallels to a wide range of (other) practices.
For instance, in a certain form of insight meditation, we label whatever arises according to its sense field: sensations, smell, taste, sound, sight, thoughts.
Whatever arises falls into one of these, and we gradually become more familiar with what is without the stories added to it. We notice the separation between what is and the stories put on top of them. And if a story gets going, as is their job, then we just see that as “thought”.
There is a great deal of liberation in just this simple practice. Especially as we get more familiar with it and it transfers to daily life. Instead of going into the stories, I simply recognize whatever happens as sensation, sight, thought and so on.
And the same seems to happen with The Work. I recognize stories as they happen, and what is without the stories.
There is a sensation, and a thought that this is a craving. As soon as I see that, the experience of and attachment to “craving” falls away.
There is another sensation, and a thought that this is “pain”. As soon as I see that, the experience of “pain” falls away. The sensation is still there, and the thought “pain” is there, but they are not attached to each other. Or rather – there is less or no attachment to the thought itself. It is just another thought, living its own life independent of the sensation.
Live its own life
Both of these practices allows whatever arises to live its own life. They do anyway, but now they can do it without interference from attachment to stories.
Thoughts live their own life, independent of whatever else arises. They may be taken as useful and temporary guidelines for explorations and actions in the world, but that is about it. They are no longer attached to, there is no longer any belief in them, they are not taken as any more than what they are – thoughts.
And everything else arising is also allowed to live its own life, independent of attachment to stories about them.
Everything is liberated.
Thoughts are liberated from a belief in them. Everything else is liberated from attachment to stories about them.
That is really all that is liberated.
There is no “I” to be liberated. Only sensations, taste, smell, sounds, sight liberated from attachment to stories about them. And thoughts themselves liberated from a belief in them.
The I is now revealed as just another attachment to a thought – placed upon a transient set of sensations, tastes, smells, sounds and sights.