“The first step in “The Work” is to write down your judgments about any stressful situation in your life, past, present, or future—about a person you dislike or worry about, a situation with someone who angers or frightens or saddens you, or someone you’re ambivalent or confused about.
Write your judgments down, just the way you think them. Write in short,simple sentences. (Go to thework.com where you’ll find a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet to download and print.)
For thousands of years, we have been taught not to judge—but let’s face it, we still do it all the time. The truth is that we all have judgments running in our heads. Through The Work, we finally have permission to let those judgments speak out, or even scream out, on paper. We may find that even the most
unpleasant thoughts can be met with unconditional love.
I encourage you to write about someone whom you haven’t yet totally forgiven, someone you still resent. This is the most powerful place to begin. Even if you’ve forgiven that person 99 percent, you aren’t free until your forgiveness is complete. The 1 percent you haven’t forgiven them is the very place where you’re stuck in all your other relationships (including your relationship with yourself).
If you begin by pointing the finger of blame outward, then the focus isn’t on you. You can just let loose and be uncensored. We’re often quite sure about what other people need to do, how they should live, whom they should be with. We have 20/20 vision about other people, but not about ourselves.
When you do “The Work,” you see who you are by seeing who you think other people are. Eventually you come to see that everything outside you is a reflection of your own thinking. You are the storyteller, the projector of all stories, and the
world is the projected image of your thoughts. Since the beginning of time, people have been trying to change the world so that they can be happy. This hasn’t ever worked, because it approaches the problem backward. What The Work gives us is a way to change the projector—mind—rather than the projected.
It’s like when there’s a piece of lint on a projector’s lens. We think there’s a flaw on the screen, and we try to change this person and that person, whomever the flaw appears to be on next. But it’s futile to try to change the projected images. Once we realize where the lint is, we can clear the lens itself. This is the end of suffering, and the beginning of a little joy in paradise.”