Not Even in My Own Business

Byron Katie talks about three kinds of business: Yours, mine and God’s. If I am in yours business (what you do with your life) or God’s business (war, health, etc.), I experience stress. Or as BK says, I am insane, because I cannot control it and believing I can only creates suffering for myself.

She also says that she saw how much her family appreciated her not being in their business, so she decided to give herself the same favor – by not being in her own business.

Realizing selflessness

In the context or realizing selflessness, what staying out of my own business means is pretty clear (and simple). Awakening to selflessness, this human self arises as everything else – within the seamless field of phenomena. It is just part of the landscape of what is happening in the present. It operates on its own. Whatever it does just happens, as everything else. There is doing, as much as before (and much as before), yet no doer anywhere. Watching the human self do things on its own, live its own life, is similar to watching someone doing things in a movie. It all just happens, and there is no “I” there appearing to do it. (And there is no subject or object either, so that is where the movie analogy is not so accurate.)

When this happened last fall, for a few weeks, there were two things that stood out. One was how completely unremarkable it is, and how obvious it seems. The other was the amusing quality of watching this human self go about life as before, and seeing that everything this human self does is just happening. It is living its own life. There really is no “I” anywhere there. Clouds live their own life. Sounds live their own life. Everything lives its own life, absent of any I, including this human self.

So this is one way of staying out of one’s own business: awakening to selflessness, and seeing that there never was “my own business”. It was just the temporary appearance of it, coming from an identification with this human self. Or rather from the belief in the thought “I” placed on something, usually this human self.

While still believing in thoughts

But how do we stay out of our own business if we are still believing in thoughts? (Any thought, to any extent.)

One way is to talk about this human self as “it” or by its name, at least in our internal talk. This gives a sense of distance, and of our human self living its own life. It does anyway, so why not have a taste of it this way.

Or, it can be so simple as telling myself “that is his business”, and notice the release and relief that comes with seeing this.

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