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My syllabus for doing "the work"

Marlon Rodrigues
Marlon Rodrigues
2 min read
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If the shoe fits

It is said that people are only able to meet you at the depth they’ve met themselves.

Another way - they are only going to the depth to which they are doing "the work". But “the work” is such a broad term that probably leaves many confused.

To me, the work is about making the investment to see the distortions in the lens that filters my worldview. I aim to see myself more clearly to learn how I can best show up for my community and my values.

I’m sure there are many ways to do this work but I don’t recall anyone guiding me on the process.

My journey has been guided by chasing curiosities and fortunate conversations with people who have shared notes from their journeys.

The challenge with these conversations is that they are expensive - they require a huge amount of trust, space, time and emotional resilience to properly delve into the nuance of our individual programming.

Few want to be an ongoing guide in this way, though some are called and become spiritual teachers, guides and maybe even gurus.

Still, the work is personal and nobody can do it for you. It takes practice and self-study, so it is more useful to build personal commitment before becoming reliant on the advice of another.

Here are some resources that have guided me so far:

  1. Learning the nature of Self

History echoes with different versions of "know they Self" and there is good reason. I've found a better understanding of what I am contending with through the tools of psychedelics, meditation and timeless wisdom.

Doors of Perception - Aldous Huxley wrote one of the most lucid recollections of the experience and value of the psychedelic experience

Vipassana meditation - the Buddha's own meditation technique is taught over 10 days through a free, application-only silent retreat held around the world

Bhagavad Gita - Gandhi's much-referenced holy book holds 20 verses of poetry that delve into the nature of the mind and the eternal battle we must all struggle with

2. Communication models

Non Violent Communication - this book claims that we are able to solve any interpersonal problem within 20 minutes once we can clearly articulate each party's needs. This relies on each party's ability to know and articulate their needs

Ethical Slut - if you can communicate clearly about sexual desire in your intimate relationships with all its emotional weight and societal pressure, I'm convinced you can communicate about any emotional topic

3. Improving the feedback loop

Having a regular therapist who acts as an objective mirror in my life has been invaluable. It's given me a chance to uncover blindspots and work out my patterns with professional help.

4. Practicing

Taking responsibility and applying this accummulated knowledge in daily life takes a lot of stamina. We are bound to get things wrong, but the courage to try, reflect and supplement with new knowledge is paramount.

The work is also never done, but that does not mean that it should never be started.