This is part 2 of a 6-part series that looks at the main steps in inner work exercises, explains why each is important and provides some tips for increasing one’s skills with each step.

I have noticed that people often have trouble focusing on a single issue to use as a platform for their inner work experience.  When asked about a specific problem or question, you might think of 2 or 3 questions or concerns that are on your mind and then find it difficult to choose just one.  Or something completely new or newly formed might spring to mind.  How do you choose which concern to use?

A problem or question is simply a starting point.

I will start by saying something that may surprise you: the problem or issue you choose is not that important. By that I mean it is not defining in the way you might imagine.  Your experience will have its own logic or cohesion. Whatever comes to mind is exactly the right thing. Trust it!

Here are some ways to approach this step if you get stumped.

  1. Choose the first thing that comes to mind. Take an experimental state of mind. 
  2. Bigger is not better. Select a simple or small problem you have been bothered by or has been on your mind lately. Go with a less charged issue.
  3. If you are having trouble choosing one issue, you can make a short list of the 3 or 4 questions or issues that come to mind. Sit quietly with this list for a moment and notice which one pulls on you or catches your attention. Use that regardless of other considerations you may have.
  4. Follow the Tao. If you are choosing between two questions, flip a coin. 

Your everyday problem is just one manifestation of something deeper in you that is already occurring.  Like springs that bubble up from an underground river, your everyday concerns and problems are often connected by a deeper unseen process.  You may start from any point. Choose something that resonates with you a little.