Byron Katie said this. When I read this again this week it resonated. Then I was inspired to write. That’s usually how writing works for me. Unlike when I was told that I could sit down for a few days and write 52 articles and then send them out sporadically thought out the rest of the year. It doesn’t work like that for me. I write my article, post it, and then go on faith that sometime in the next week the inspiration to write again will hit me. Thankfully it always does. This is a reality that is easy to live with.
Some realities are a little harder to live with… Why did I get sick? Why did my child get sick? Why did I lose my job? Why did I get divorced? Why do we have natural disasters? Why doesn’t my mother understand me?
I’ve posed all these examples as ‘why’ questions, but actually, when the conversation happens in your head, they are usually done as ‘should’ statements… My child should have had better care at the hospital. My wife should have worked harder to preserve our marriage. My employers shouldn’t be restructuring and laying so many people off. The Government should be better prepared for a natural disaster like this. My neighbour shouldn’t be so disrespectful. My mother-in-law shouldn’t tell me how to raise my children…
The only time we suffer is when we believe a thought that argues with what is.
Wanting reality to be different than it is is hopeless, like trying to teach a cat to bark.
This doesn’t mean that you condone it or approve of it. It just means that you can see things without resistance and without the confusion of your inner struggle.
It’s the inner struggle that is the issue. Hanging out mentally in the “should” space will rob you of your two greatest assets; time and energy.
Again, let me be clear, I understand that sometimes things happen which suck (and this would be an understatement in some cases) and this is not about condoning or approving. But which is more empowering, “I wish I hadn’t lost my job” or “I lost my job; what can I do about it?”
I’ve written before about accepting that life is difficult. Byron Katie presents another way of looking at difficulties and provides deceptively simple strategies. One of her strategies that I love is about understanding whose business you are in…
Whose business are you in?
There are three kinds of business in the universe: mine, yours and God’s (Note: In this context, God means “reality”. Everything that is out of my control, your control, and everyone else’s control is referred to as God’s business.)
Much of my stress comes from mentally living out of my own business. When I think “You need to get a job, I want you to be happy, you should be on time, you need to take better care of yourself,” I am in your business.
“To think that I know what’s best for anyone else is to be out of my own business. Even in the name of love, it is pure arrogance, and the result is tension, anxiety, and fear.”
When I am worried about earthquakes, floods, war, or when I will die, I am in God’s business.
The next time you are feeling stress or discomfort, ask yourself whose business you’re in mentally. Just noticing that you’re in someone else’s business can bring you back to your own business. Don’t worry if thoughts unexpectedly go to business that is not yours. That will happen – even more so if you’re not practiced at this. Just notice. In the moment of noticing you have a choice. It’s the choice that you make in that moment that makes all the difference.
If you make the choice to mentally go back to your own business and give your time and energy to that then MAKE SURE YOU ALLOW YOURSELF TO FEEL GOOD ABOUT THAT. It is all too easy to underestimate what you’ve just done. Most often, rather than examine and understand the original cause of their frustration (which is their thinking), people tend to try and change their stressful feelings by looking outside of themselves. Trying to change someone else, or reaching for sex, food, alcohol, drugs, or money is common in the effort to find temporary comfort and the illusion of control.
So when you choose to go back to your own business and work on that, know that this is not a skill to be taken for granted and you are awesome, amazing and [insert your favourite positive adjective here]. Seriously!
By the way, Byron Katie’s book that I’ve taken these wonderful concepts from is called Loving What Is. I recommend it.
Give so much time to the improvement of yourself, that you don’t have time to criticise others.
– Jim Rohn