When I talk about peace, I'm describing the internal opposite of stress, at peace within yourself. I believe that cultivating inner peace is the surest way to live in a peaceful world. What I'm discovering through self-inquiry is that the inner world is the only place where I have control. The mind gets busy cooking up other intriguing and seductive scenarios, and what remains is reality, what is. Imagine what deep and lasting peace could spread if each of us practiced staying in our own business. Staying in my own business is a practice, and as with following the north star I know that I'll grow as I head towards it though I won't ever arrive. Inner work moves in revolutions to create Revolutions!
In her book, Loving What Is, Byron Katie talks about this practice. She says, "I can only find three kinds of business in the universe: mine, yours and God's." She described her understanding of God, and your understanding of God will fit as well. Try this: Make a list of things that are bugging you right now (get petty and small-minded if you're willing, rich stuff there). Separate the items on the list into three categories; Mine, Theirs, and God's. Exercises in self-inquiry all have one aim, to allow space to grow between thoughts and reality. I watched Don Miguel Ruiz on Super Soul Sunday last night and he talked about how living in that space between thoughts is where we experience our truest being. Is the weather bothering you? What a relief to remember that's not your business! It will rain, snow, get hot, possibly all in the same day, and we get to be a spectator of God's business. If we accept this first , we can then react with peace. Instead of spinning in thoughts of what isn't mine to control, when I first accept reality so many possibilities open up: I can bring an umbrella, I can go get wet and splash in puddles, I can stay inside and listen to the rain. One of the trending headlines today is a photo of Jessica Simpson in a bikini while on vacation with her husband and daughter (what's his name again? Are they actually married, I know they weren't when she was pregnant. Did she ever get huge with that pregnancy! I wonder how much the baby weighed? Does she have just the one daughter? The daughter with a contrived, masculine name. What was it?) Jessica Simpson, that is completely your business! It takes a girl named Harper to know a contrived, masculine name for a daughter, ha! That small-minded stuff is full of beliefs worth questioning, that's my business. Anything there to act upon? Nope. What does it gain us to get clear about the boundaries between theirs, God's and our business? It's not possible to be fully present in my life when I am attending to the business of someone else or the entire natural world. Being present gains me the full attention needed to do my own work- of which, you may have noticed, there is plenty!
Boundaries develop when we are aware of what is our business and what isn't, which makes it so much easier to know when to act, and to do it with integrity. When someone cuts me off in traffic I have felt compelled to swerve around them and speed off but not before getting a good look at them with a glare that says, "I saw the stupid thing you did and you won't get away with it!" Being in my car actually really helps me with this practice of staying in my business- what happens in my car is my business. Being a responsible driver means that my job is to be present, accept and then react. My new habit in the car is to speak out loud, "it's not personal, it's not personal..." My kids help me remember when I forget, "they can't hear you, Mama." Thank goodness, I would never say those things to someone's face! More richness to question, you see?
What questions come up with you think this over? Any contradictions that don't seem to fit this concept? I look forward to hearing those thoughts, please share them! As Byron Katie says, "please, don't believe me."