I have started a tutoring cycle as part of being certified in The Work, and it has already helped me do inquiry with more precision. For instance, if I work on a statement such as I will turn against myself, it’s helpful to identify what the I refers to and what myself refers to – and notice that it may change for each turnaround and example.
Statement: I will turn against myself.
Situation: In the future, if I don’t have much money.
Clarifying: I – my thinking, judgmental and critical thoughts taken as true. Myself – an image of me, the part trying to do its best. Also, the image that comes up for the judgmental and critical thoughts are of my mother criticizing others behind their backs, and school mates doing the same during elementary and middle school.
TA to self: My thinking will turn against my thinking.
(a) Thoughts (judging, criticizing) turns against an image of me.
(b) The part that’s judging, criticizing turns against the part trying to do its best.
(c) The voice of my mother, some school mates, criticizes an image of me, the one trying to do its best, the little child.
TA to opposite: I will not turn against myself.
(a) My thoughts will not turn against myself, my image of who I am.
(b) I, the one without the stories, will not turn against myself, my images of me.
TA to opposite: I will turn towards myself.
(a) I, my attention, will turn towards myself, the one without the stories.
TA to other: P. will turn against my thinking.
(a) Thoughts (judging, criticizing) turns against my thoughts (having little money).
A few notes:
Clarifying what I and myself refers to in this inquiry showed me one thing even more clearly: The struggle is a struggle within thought, and of one thought against another. It’s an imagined struggle of an imagined figure in an imagined world.
Since this is about a possible future situation, I can go back to a previous situation where I thought I had little money to find examples for the turnarounds.
As always, it can be helpful to find underlying thoughts and take these to inquiry. That’s perhaps especially helpful when the initial thought is about an imagined future. Some of these are thoughts related to the initial thought: I will turn against myself because…. I will turn against myself and that means….. And some may be additional thoughts about the situation: What I fear the most about having little money is….