Monday, February 25, 2008

It's None Of My Business.....

As you can imagine, my recovery from years and years of being a crusader is a challenging one.

(Another one of those things that makes quitting booze look rosy in comparison.)

Saturday night, I had a marathon phone conversation with someone very important in my life. We talked and the hours flowed. We are somewhat accustomed to these calls and there are very few stones left unturned in our discussion of the spiritual challenges in our lives. We share our experiences with each other and to the best of my knowledge, neither of us hang up unsatisfied.

It's like a wonderful, filling meal that's also healthy.

Offhandedly, I commented that I am still having some difficulty in letting go of my need to spout my opinions and be critical of cultural conditions that bother me. I need to find peace with here before I can go there.

He said, "I can give you peace about that right now."


"It's none of your business what they do over there. Leave them to their business. You tend to yours."

What a concept! I'd never thought about it with quite that level of clarity - and I've been chanting it like a mantra ever since.

When I find myself getting irritated with something, I silently repeat "It's none of my business...."

On my sidebar, I have put a statement that says "May all beings be free from the tyranny of my expectations." That's there to remind me, especially when posting here, not to get involved in the usual complaining about situations I can not control, nor should I. We all have our own and it's much healthier to let others learn their lessons their own way. My determination of their rightness or wrongness is inappropriate and mostly unwanted and unnecessary.

It is very freeing to take this approach. It frees our minds to concentrate on the things that really matter instead of spending so much energy trying to control other people or situations.

What do you think?

Addendum: Just to clarify, he was not suggesting that I renege on my personal responsibility to make the world a better place whenever and wherever I can. We are both socially conscious people and care a great deal about larger issues. What he meant is that I should stop allowing the cultural values and customs to rile me up so that all of my energy is consumed by that. If anything, that has caused me to have less energy for the big stuff. Hope that explains. :)



heartinsanfrancisco said...

"Loving What Is" is a book by Byron Katie in which she posits that there are only three kinds of business in the Universe: Mine, yours and God's, the latter of which she defines as reality - that which is out of control of the first two.

She says the only time we suffer is when we believe a thought that argues with what is. When the mind is perfectly clear, what is is what we want.

I also struggle with this issue, but I believe it's more than worth working on.

slouching mom said...

As someone who has tried to shy away from being judgmental (i.e., who takes the live and let live approach), I think this is a fine way to go.

Here's one exmaple. There are some mothers in my son's elem. school up in arms about the way math is being taught. One of them called me to try to enlist my support for their campaign.

I told her that in certain ways I agreed that the new program could be better, but that I felt two things:

a. It's not always going to be perfect for my son, and I wouldn't want it to be. He's going to learn the math he needs -- one way or another.

b. If I am not happy with how he is being taught a particular thing, it is my responsibility as his mother to teach him differently. it what you will. Inaction? Laziness? I call it being moderate -- not trying to control every little aspect of my kid's environment so that later, he'll be utterly incapable of handling less than ideal circumstances. I think it's important.

liv said...

i think it's good to let go, and be accepting of your friends' ways of life as they encourage you in your journey.

Janet said...

I think it's a good way to live. It's the approach I try to take and it works for me.

Anonymous said...

I agree with this. Giving up responsibility over things that are not our responsibility is freeing.

However, I can see where the line gets blurry between what's definitely our business and what we feel is a moral obligation. And while the point that Hearts in SF makes is great, some of the stuff that falls under "what is," is "what should never be" (to quote a favorite Led Zeppelin song).

crazymumma said...

yeah. its an excellent philosophy, but hard to live by. i love sticking my nose in at times. But usually I control my baser urges.

Anvilcloud said...

Sometimes it's hard to fight the disappointment of others not being their best. Although it's their business, it disappoints as another member of the human race. In some way I feel as though their behaviour affects me.

blooming desertpea said...

You'll never get rid of your opinions which is important but you can make them stop bothering you by not letting them interfere in your life. If telling yourself that it's none of your business does help you with it, then it's the right way to go.

Julie Pippert said...

"May all beings be free from the tyranny of my expectations."

I like that; it's good. I think it is a good foundation.

Plus, I know you'll temper it with your other stand-by of "Don't be so open-minded that your brain falls out."

I think there's a time and place for standing up and also for sitting down, for moving forward, and also for walking away.

We have this lifetime to figure out the wisdom of when those time are.

Amy Y said...

I think it's an excellent idea :)

flutter said...

I think you will spend a great deal of time being less angry. That is never a bad thing

Blog Antagonist said...

I think "It's none of my business" is why the Holocaust happened.

Olivia said...

I agree totally, Chani. Totally.

BTW, I think that when we let go of what other's do or think, then paradoxically we can be freer to change what we can change in the world---in ways that truly make a difference.

Another. Great. Post.

Blessings, O

ewe are here said...

I've actually found this to work... remind myself that whatever it is doesn't affect me and it's none of my business...

Bec said...

I beleive in the "picking the right battle" school of interferring. Hard to define what that is but it is a purely individual thing & based on your own moral compass so if you truely beleive in the cause then butt in & have conviction doing it but if you are just getting involved for the sake of it, then that's when you need to step back & ask yourself why.

ah ha 7 years living in thialand & another 4 living with a thai abroad has fine tuned my ability to be ambiguous :D

Thailand Musings said...

Maybe a better way to look at is is that what is right for you is not necessarily right for others. You can have no idea what events and experiences shaped that persons view of the world, nor is it possible to think that your opinions and actions are the only correct reactions.

Trying to walk a mile in another's shoes can be a difficult, but rewarding experience.

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

I like what Thailand Musings has had to say... ;-)

Journey Through Life said...

I do agree with him on a cultural basis. I think many of our horrendous wars and shameful periods of history come from not respecting other peoples cultures. The aboriginals and native American Indians come to mind. And it is still happening right now in modern society.

I for one, though, was so honored to have you speak up on behalf of loneliness, which is a part of yours and my own culture and needs voices for change. You touched me in a warm and fuzzy way, a way that makes positive and loving change with an individual and a society. Keep that up!! You rock!


Wayfarer Scientista said...

Excellent advice. I do think that sometimes we have to let it be, to know that what is right for us may not be right for other people, to leave things alone if they bother us. If we are the one who is bothered we can not participate but we can't make other people do anything.

jen said...

i think this sort of detachment is something that serves all of us. Doing for the sake of doing, less concerned with the outcome but reveling in the joy of the doing, whether for self or others, doesn't mean we are turning are back but rather allowing the space for breath.

Mariposa said...

I have to remind myself this too a number of times...And sometimes, it's such a thinline that divides that and social/ friendly involvement...the challenge is to know when to mind my own and when to start intervening or help.

SUEB0B said...

Have courage for the great sorrows of life
And patience for the small ones;
And when you have worked hard and accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace -
God is awake.
Victor Hugo

anne said...

I try to remeber that I have the handicap of only being able to see the world through my eyes. Even when I think I am able to look at something from another point of view, it's merely another point of view that I already have somewhere in my mind. I will never, truly be able to see things through someone else's eyes.

Because of that, I think the only control I have over anything in this world is how I choose to let it affect me. Sometimes I allow things to keep me up at night or push me into action. Sometimes I allow things to just register somewhere in my brain and continue on.

I don't know if that makes any sense at all.

Rebecca said...

Makes me think of the Serenity Prayer..."Give me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and courage to know the difference."

Great post.

painted maypole said...

i think it's great, and, as always, am so impressed by your constant work to better yourself, your situation, and your world. you are brave and strong, Chani. Thank you.

Catherine said...

I think you said it all in your final, italicized paragraph...

MsLittlePea said...

It's a healthy way to go and I agree with you, very freeing. I find it difficult to understand any person's lack of care for the truth or the right thing to do, something I also struggle with myself so this makes a good lesson. It also gives a person a way to embrace a more peaceful energy when you just don't understand where someone else is coming from in their way of thinking. I imagine it's something I'll have to keep reminding myself for the rest of my own life :O)

This is a coincidence to be reading this as I was just having a conversation with my sister about another family member where we agreed that we can only change our own attitudes not the person who we were discussing.

Angela said...

Each time I visit you Chani, I feel pulled back to center. I honestly do. I love it here.

Anonymous said...

Yes, good practice.
it's not mine, it's theirs (soul dance)
"how" is none of my business
I release the need to be General Manager of the Universe.

It's all good.

Love the simple two letter key to inner peace: no.

Always good to be re-minded, eh?

Stephanie said...

My husband and I were in business with several of our close friends for six years. You can imagine what it's like to work with your best friends - their marital issues, their personal issues, their work ethic, all directly relate to your income. It's very very difficult to set healthy boundaries in that scenario.

We finally adopted a phrase that helped tremendously, and continued to help in the years that followed: "That's not my area." It helped us to focus our energy in the areas we could control - like our own work ethic - and let go of whatever fell outside of it.

Great post.

Anonymous said...

And, ala Heartsy,

the only time we suffer is when we believe a thought that argues with what is.

I appreciate Byron Katie and for me their is greater resonance in the only time we suffer is when our wants/expectations/wishes/hopes/perceived needs is not in alignment with wha is.

Anatta, one of this life's lessons: bridging the gap between the way I want things to be and they way they are.

Same difference.

/bowing to the god within you

Anonymous said...

Please forgive the grammatical and typing errors. Been a hellishly long day sans break.

Thank you.

Robert said...

Your comment reminds me of one my father made to my English teacher in high school. He was chaperoning a class trip we made as a group to Boston, and on the flight up, he noticed she had a white-knuckle grip on her armrests. He said, "Are you feeling tense?" She said, "I always feel tense when I'm not in control!" in an irritated tone (spoke volumes about how she ran her classroom, by the way). He replied, "But you're never in control." She shot him a dagger stare that let him know she did not appreciate the comment, but I gather she did not converse with him further. I wanted to hug him for that (and probably did) because she was so condescending to me as a student, but that's another story. You just reminded me about "You're never in control."

le35 said...

I love the "It's none of my business" thing. I guess I'm always in other people's business and want to fix things. Oh the freedom!

niobe said...

I think you're probably right, though it's a little hard for me to grasp, because I tend to be overly uninvolved with others rather than the opposite.

Angela said...

What do I think?

I think you've found a wonderful friend! :)

And if I could express it any more eloquently than our dear SF Heart, I would. Since I can't I'll second what she says. You are both wise women, and I feel blessed to know you.

Molly said...

Wouldn't it be great if our government could adopt that attitude?

storyteller said...

As one who once believed I was responsible for everyone and everything … I remember finding a t-shirt with the message “Never try to teach a pig to sing” on the front and “it wastes your time and annoys the pig” on the back. Wearing (and thinking about) that message allowed me gradually to give up the need to ‘win others over’ to my point of view.
Hugs and blessings,

Mel said...

Follow that path, it will give you peace of mind and you will save energy to spend in things that really matter and can be changed in a good way.
Smile :)