Outer work and inner work
Many of the people I meet care deeply about the state of the world and the future of humanity. They go out of their way to make a difference through their work and also in their personal and family life. At the same time, it’s easy to feel somewhat powerless in the face of all the transformation that’s needed at this point in our evolution.
It’s also easy to believe you make the most difference by going out and doing as much as you possibly can. But what I’ve found is that if you do a lot “out there” without doing your inner work you often end up contributing to the very harm you were trying to correct. This is especially likely when you feel emotional or worried about the situation. From an energetic perspective, when you worry about something you make it more likely to happen.
This may be hard to hear. It so often feels ethical and right to be worried, afraid or angry about the world or a specific issue. It’s also natural to respond emotionally to extremely challenging situations, but it’s not a good place to stay for long. If you want things to change you need to access a high level of creativity which is sourced in love. This is a different inner position from worry or fear.
Once you realise this, your inner work becomes much more significant. Developing self mastery is essential if you want to become powerful in making a difference. It’s when you deal with the gunk inside yourself that you empower your outer expression.
The good news is that inner work is much more powerful than many people realise. It’s not just a private experience that makes you feel better but makes no difference to anyone else. Your inner work is your world work.
Patterns you experience within yourself are not only about your personal reality. Each of us is a part of the whole, a part of everything. At a simple level, each of us is a cell in the body of humanity, part of the human collective. When you work on yourself at a deep level, you’re working at a deep level for humanity as well.
For example, if your body is sick it’s full of cells that are sick. But if one of those cells starts to turn towards health, and then another one starts to turn, and then another one and another and another, the body will heal itself cell by cell. As a human being, when you turn towards a healthy, happy life, and someone else does, and then more people do the same, you’re contributing to the health and happiness of the whole of humanity, not only yourself.
The deep work you do on yourself is the way you turn humanity as a body, as a species. It’s how you contribute to changing the direction of the whole. That makes it world work.
If you consider this karmically and look at the specific patterns of your personal karmic challenges, when you clear a pattern, you’re helping to clear it for the whole of humanity. My belief is that each of us holds unique variations on the core karmic challenges. For example, if you take a common karmic issue such as the abuse of power, you find many subtly different variations, and it appears that every individual holds certain related strands of these karmic patterns.
When you release one of those patterns, it doesn’t show up any more. That particular strand no longer holds you, and because it was uniquely expressed through your life, it no longer holds the collective. So you’ve released it for all of us, not only for yourself. You’ve contributed to making humanity a little more free. You’ve given us one small but significant step towards liberation.
When many of us clear our different strands of karmic resonance, it’s like clearing the dust and mud out of a gorgeous tapestry so its true colors can shine through. Then you can see and experience the rich range of expression within yourself, and easily share it with the whole of humanity because you’re already one with it.
The deep work you do for yourself is work you do for everybody and consciousness is the key. The more conscious you become, the more you contribute to the shift in consciousness that we, as a species, are seeking.
Your world work
Your world work will unfold and shift. You’ll go through different phases at different times. In my case, for example, I’m always chewing on something, and for the last few months the topic has been particularly challenging: How to love the things or the people or the parts of myself that I don’t really love. That’s where I’m finding myself having to go deep, so I know it’s my world work.
To put it plainly, this is where I’m currently experiencing the most struggle and I have to keep bringing myself back to what I know at a deeper level. The small part of myself wants to be clever and prove herself right and make love impossible in certain situations. The higher part of myself knows that’s not the answer, and that love is always possible and always right. But It’s not enough to know it intellectually. I have to experience it for real. The challenge is to find love in my heart and my being when everything in me wants to say, “No, you can’t love that.”
And if you want to bring this into your personal context, ask yourself if you can love what’s happening with the climate, or your president/government, or technology, or your children, or your relationship, or your finances, or your banking system, or the person who misunderstood you today, or the person who mistreated you yesterday. That’s not easy. But that’s where world work happens. In the not easy.
But that’s my world work and it’s unique to me. If you want to identify your world work, I invite you to go deep inside to see what you’re truly wrestling with at the moment. What difficult patterns are coming up for you over and over again? Where do you struggle to take the high road? Where are you constantly tempted to become reactive instead of creative?
Can you sense that humanity is also wrestling with those same patterns? Can you also sense that if you resolve those patterns for yourself, you’re helping all of us?
This is the deeper inner work that will ultimately bring great power to your outer work. This is where you get to experience joy, peace and freedom, as a result of which your true creativity will open up. This is where you have the ability to create change and significant transformation with sincerity and integrity. This is where you unite your inner and your outer work.
Dealing with inner struggles brings your personal darkness into the light. That’s where your world work happens.