If you don’t do your work you become work for other people

Lama Rod teaching in Seattle.

“If you don’t do your work you become work for other people,” Lama Rod Owens shared earlier this month in his Seattle visit.  

As soon as he said it I was aware how true it felt in my body. It landed with clarity, discomfort, a resounding yes in my chest with some fear in my belly. When I avoid my struggles they do not go away. They not only increase for myself but also for those around me. 

Lama Rod later asked, “Who are the people being oppressed by my bullshit?”

What is your work? Today? Yesterday? Last year? Who are the people who you become work for if you don’t do it? Who are the people that help you do your work? What are the things that support you continue your work? 

I am currently being challenged to dismantle the way self-will shows up within me. I am being encouraged to “surrender.” Several years ago I would have said I was pretty good at surrendering. I was good at going with the flow. I tended to not get too upset about much of anything. Looking back I realize this was not truly surrendering. I was dissociating from my actual feelings because dissociation felt better and easier than feeling. Now I am a feeling more than I ever have, and it is uncomfortable. The discomfort also comes with liberation because it feels like I am coming home to myself.

Through bypassing my feelings they became work for others. People could not connect to me as easily. I was unwilling to have conflict. I avoided discomfort in myself, my relationships and the world. I sheltered myself with ignorance. 

Through feeling more I awakened a sense of powerlessness that I did not like. Bypassing became less of an option, but powerlessness felt a step too far. So I went to work. I went to work fixing and doing and controlling. In many ways my working, doing and controlling are other forms of dissociation. I am bypassing my powerlessness to feel like I have some control.

My self-will also becomes work for others. My will has increased my judgment and harshness of myself, others and the world. Simply being with others can be a challenge because there is “so much to do.” My state of urgency can create disconnection.

Lama Rod spoke of the apocalypse. He called the apocalypse an “unveiling” and a “revealing.” He shared when this unveiling happens we have a choice to be adaptive or not, and when we “choose to fight truth we enact more violence.” 

Surrendering self-will into the truth of powerlessness is my current apocalypse, and the more I do my work the more is revealed to me. Sometimes work can look like doing, and other times that work can look like being. This is an opportunity to be adaptive, to allow the truth to be unveiled and to do my work so I don’t become work for others.