As I sat in stillness with awareness and continued to come back to the breath as my anchor, the thought that kept presenting itself over and over was a picture of a bowl of mashed potatoes with butter. Byron Katie often says that food, alcohol, drugs, sex - thoughts like this often come in order to take us away from being present. Because being present means looking at thoughts we do not want to look at.
What's behind my bowl of mashed potatoes?
As I continued to meditate with that intention in mind, the thought that came up from a conversation I'd had with a friend earlier in the week. He was questioning my commitment to The Work and the principles behind it. I wasn't irritated by his questioning. Inquiry and questioning is a good thing. But I was irritated by the fact that, even though I have seen time and time again how helpful The Work has been, and even though I am committed to it as a lifestyle practice, I still found myself questioning it.
But in The Work we are always supposed to question our troubling thoughts. So the thought "The Work is an effective tool to help myself and others" is not troubling to me. The troubling thought was "I should be sure enough that it works that I don't ever question it." Is that true?
No, of course not. There is always the possibility that I am using The Work incorrectly or that I am expecting something from it that is not valid. How about questioning the thought "I should not be irritated with myself." Is it true?
Yes, it's true. In fact, the turnaround for that statement, "I SHOULD be irritated with myself" irritates me more than the original question. So it's the turnaround that turns out not to be true.
There's no need to ever be irritated with myself. No one is ever wrong. Questioning is always good, and trusting The Work is also good. Respecting my friend's perspective is good. It's all good.
And in the end, I had my bowl of mashed potatoes.
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