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Ask a Facilitator: Turnarounds on Universal Beliefs

Posted Oct 22 2008 6:28pm

Question, Carol...when I am trying to stick to the straight process of The Work on a universal belief, I tend to think I am not 'supposed to' take a sentence like 'People should not cheat on their spouses' and turn it around to 'I should not cheat on my spouse.' Can you comment?


There's no "supposed to" operating in The Work, and turning a universal belief around to oneself is a great way to examine your thoughts. The Work is about getting to konw yourself. The turnaround to "I" is a great mirror on your inner life.

I like to begin with a good, clean turnaround to the opposite. "People should not cheat on their spouses" turned around becomes "People should cheat on their spouses." Could that be as true or truer than your original statement? Give at least three genuine reasons why your new turnaround might be at least equally true. Examples:

1. They do cheat; that's reality. So they should, unless I know more than God.
2. I can't know another's perfect path in life; if the universe is friendly, this could be the best thing for the cheated-on spouse, who might eventually be spared the company of their cheating spouse, and therefore freed up to meet someone who will be better for them.
3. The "cheaters" are doing the best they can with their unhappiness or dissatisfaction. Someone who thinks they need something, whether it's another slice of cake or sex outside of their "committed" relationship, is looking for happiness in "stuff" and is confused. "When you know better, you do better." —Maya Angelou.

The natural progress for me would be the turnaround to the other: "I should not cheat on my spouse." Look for genuine reasons, not something like "Because society dictates this." Don't let yourself get away with pat or Pollyanna examples, go in for your own truth.

What if I don't cheat on my spouse with a physical act of being with another person? Have I ever fantasized about it? How else do I cheat? Where do I not tell him the whole truth...about money, perhaps, or about what's on my mind? What if I don't even have a spouse? How else, then, do I cheat on people? Do I lie, steal, exaggerate? Do I not let them know I'm thinking about ending the friendship or business relationship, that I've found someone or something else I prefer, and then do I simply disappear? And do I like myself when I cheat? That's reason, for me, that I shouldn't do it; not if I want to live in peace with others.

Now turn it around to "I." "People shouldn't cheat on their spouses" becomes "I shouldn't cheat on myself." How do I do that, particularly with regards to the issue of cheating? Maybe staying with someone under false pretenses is cheating on myself too. Do I make excuses to myself for withdrawing from my partner? Do I justify my actions to myself even though I feel so uncomfortable that I can't be honest and simply say to him, "I'm seeing someone else and I'm not ready to leave our relationship"? What am I afraid of losing if I admit to myself that I'm dishonest?

I wouldn't take it to "I should cheat on my spouse." That's spinning the turnaround, getting too far away from the original belief, possibly with a motive. Nor would I turn it around to "My spouse shouldn't cheat on me." That's spinning also...and it's getting into the territory of your spouse's business.

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