July 9, 2010

"Dangerous" Turnarounds and the Power of "Sometimes"

Here are some dangerous thoughts; dangerous for us who believe them, because we may stake our very lives on them and create unnecessary stress, suffering and separation.

-I am right.

-My way is the right way.

-I know what's best for you.

When we do The Work on these thoughts we may come upon these turnarounds (among others):

-You are right. (Or) I am wrong.

-My way is the wrong way.

-You know what's best for me.

Notice if you are swapping one funky thought for another! These thoughts, while they could be as true or truer than the original statements, are equally dangerous if we make them into our new religion.

The purpose of inquiry is not to make yourself wrong and another right. It's not to make another into an all-knowing Messiah. Turnarounds need not be sticks with which we beat ourselves, and they're not meant to cancel out our beliefs.

It's important to keep a sense of balance when doing The Work, to remember that the purpose of inquiry is clarity, and the result of turnarounds is balance. One way to do that is to incorporate the word "sometimes" in your turnarounds.

Examine how things can be as true or truer "sometimes."

-(Sometimes) you are right. (Also) I am wrong, sometimes.
-My way is the wrong way, sometimes.
-(Sometimes) you know what's best for me.

When you add "sometimes" to your turnarounds, it may be easier to find specific, genuine (not automatic, not spiritual) examples. For example, "sometimes" you know what's best for me when you have more information than I do. (My chiropractor knows it's not good for me to do certain exercises because he knows the condition of my spine. You know what's best for me, sometimes, when you give me unasked for advice that I don't take because I'm standing on ceremony. Sometimes you know what's best for me when you tell me something I don't want to hear; it brings up all my stuff about you that I haven't brought to inquiry.)

Another way to work with tricky turnarounds:  add phrases like "when you do." "If you do." "When I do." "When it is.) "If I do." "In this moment." Examples:

"My way is the wrong way (in this moment when I see myself as knowing what's best for you)."

"You know what's best for me (when you do, such as in when you defy me and I need that "medicine")."

©2010 by Carol L. Skolnick. All rights reserved.

1 comment:

Paul Spencer said...

Some good points Carol. I think it is important to remind ourselves that Inquiry is not about imperatives and just blindly following some kind of formula: it is about engaging the heart and finding out what is true for you. When we do the turnarounds, we need to remember to only go with what is as true or truer than the original statement. If a turnaround does not seem to quite fit, it should not be used. It's a great idea, as you pointed out, to experiment with words like "sometimes" and "if you do".