04 Apr 5. Don’t bother about Other’s Business
This is number 5 in my series about my 10 commandments. To view the full list click here.
I am brought up in a home with two influential parents. By influential I mean that the way you are and what you do influences others. I guess that I up to this point have been more influential than the average Joe, and I know that I have been arguing, persuading and debating a lot in my life. Being skillful at this is generally something we value high in society, it is almost synonymous with being successful. And here I am writing to you through this blog… Oops! I hope you don’t feel I am pushing and forcing you to buy something that feels wrong in your core. My aim is to inspire you to seek your truth.
Lately I have learnt that being influential does not always have to be positive. Some rare people are influential by just being who they are, they don’t seek to affect the mind of others but simply inspire us by the way they live. This is how I want to live. However most people seem to be influential by purposely pushing their opinion, ideology or product. There are so many layers of this installed in us since we were small, therefore it is not strange that many people suffer from not knowing what they want to do with their own lives. Parents and society have taught us how to behave, what to study in school and what is considered success and failure. Because we are so influenced by others many of us have lost contact with our own inner compass.
I strongly believe that if a human being is left to discover her own life, she will naturally find her own path and that path will be meaningful for her. Perhaps it is because so many of us are uncertain about our own choices in life, that we have to persuade others we are right and try to influence them to join our cause. Why would a man who is genuinely satisfied with what he is doing have the need to persuade anyone else to join? He is fulfilled in himself.
Byron Katie is a spiritual teacher who is often emphasizing the importance of understanding the difference between My business and Others business. It is a great and simple framework to get a grip on this, to see how much time and energy we are spending on what is actually the life of others. I remember I was surprised how big proportion of my thoughts that were not my business:
- Now he is scratching his ass again, how annoying!
- She should not talk that loud, it sounds stupid!
- He should be more generous, what is the point in having that much money if you don’t spend it and share?
- People should think more about global warming, children in Africa and cancer
- Why is there so many people in this cafe, don’t they have anything better to do?
- You should try hot-yoga instead of the yoga you are doing, it is better work-out
- You should quote me when you tell this story instead of making it your own
- You had better remember that I have helped you changing apartment three times
- Don’t believe I am jealous, it is not true
- You are a brat with no respect for the us elders
I think the last three are interesting. Maybe I have helped you moving three times and that surely is quite an effort. But that was my choice to do so, my business. Whether you would do the same for me is your business. What gives me the right to expect that from you? Perhaps you are an egoistic asshole in not helping me, but that is again your business – your problem. And maybe you have an opinion about me being jealous that is not true, at least not true according to me. But why do I have to care what you think of me, in what way is that my business? Unless you start spreading rumors about me that are not true, but even that could be argued to be your loss. You are the one lying. The last example happened recently where a man in his 60s blasted out at one of my friends who is 30, telling him he should look up to the elders. Why would he, if he truly was a respectable elder, need that respect from someone else? Maybe it is just a projection, the old man surely did not seem to respect my friend that much… I strongly believe Life will treat us according to our virtues, there is no need for me or anyone else to play the judge.
It may not seem like it on the surface, but when we are thinking about others business we are simultaneously creating and defending an identity of our own. Before I was just being here present, now I am a person who has an opinion about your clothes, your political ideology or what you eat. So this is serving the ego, creating more layers of ideas around the original lie of me as a separated identity. Generally ideas about others are in line with “me being right somehow and others being wrong”. Just look at all experts in social media for instance.
This is actually a commandment where I can see a great difference in me. Before I was thinking a lot about what others should and should not do, I commented on their behavior and tried to influence them in all kinds of ways. I am not saying I am totally free of this today, but generally I don’t want to interfere like I did. I am simply not that interested in correcting anymore, and since I want to live in my own way I also must give that freedom to others. How can I be free if I don’t let others be free too? I will have them in my mind, constantly thinking about how wrong they are – what they should and should not do. Now, what kind of freedom is that? Maybe you have a wife or a husband, think about it…