In November 2015, I seemed to have marked this book as being on my shelf, and having read it, and I gave it three stars. But the truth is that I think I read about a third of it and felt I’d read enough. I got it, and was reading it, because a friend told me how influential the book was for his partner, and I seemed to recall a few other friends who had read it and recommended it.
More than 6 years later, I pick it up with the thought: why didn’t I finish this? And I decided to read it again. I can see, right away, why I didn’t finish it. Katie provides a simple set of questions to apply to all of life’s painful circumstances. The book basically uses those questions in many different circumstances, over and over again. So, it can feel slightly repetitive.
But is it necessary? It’s not necessarily easy to apply these questions in each circumstance, so to read how they are applied to simple and complex and very complex situations is useful, I found. The repetition helps to reinforce an understanding of using the questions. Still, I didn’t find it engrossing and it took me quite a while to read it, which is not a bad thing. The method is called ‘The Work’, after all.
And I have found myself reevaluating situations in my life, and her advice, not one of the questions, to ‘stay in your business’ has been staying in my mind. I can be judgemental, I always have had that fault, and The Work reminds me if I see someone doing something I don’t like, I can ask: Does it matter? It is my business? Is it true that the action is wrong? With the answer to all these questions ‘No’, it does feel freeing, which is another one of Katie’s repeated advice: Enquire. Love reality. Love the truth. I also love how down to earth she is, compared to some other teachers whose work I’ve read. When asked if she sees the world moving towards enlightenment, she replies ‘I don’t know anything about that. All I know is that if it hurts, investigate … Who cares about enlightenment, when you’re happy right now?’