Undoubtedly the most important thing I learnt in my journey as a client was The Work of Byron Katie. I want to share one of her main principles, the concept of staying in your own business.
We generally think that anything that has anything to do with us is our business. That’s fine, if we are prepared to live in misery, but if we want to be truly happy and free, we have some work to do.
So, there are three kinds of business – your business, other people’s business, and God/the universe’s business.
Your business consists of anything YOU do, say, think or feel, anything you are.
Other people’s business is anything that THEY do, say, think, feel, are.
The future, the past, whether it rains today, and the fact that cats meow and dogs bark is all God’s business.
Pretty straightforward, right? They key is to ONLY concern yourself with your own business.
What someone else thinks of you is none of your business.
What someone else says about you is THEIR business.
What someone else does to you is none of your business.
I know, it seems wrong. I can hear you saying “But they’re doing it TO ME – so it is my business!”.
No. It’s not. What someone else is doing is out of your control and to try to control it is not only futile, but it’s also the greatest cause of unhappiness.
You see, anytime we suffer, we are in someone else’s business.
If you are completely in your own business, only worrying about what you are doing, saying, thinking, feeling and what kind of person you are, it is impossible to be unhappy. All suffering is born of trying to control things that are not our own business.
When we try to control what happens in the future we feel anxious. When we dwell on the past and wish things were different, we become depressed. When we want others to change we are engaging in a struggle that we can’t ever truly win.
So, let’s do an experiment. Do the first part, before reading part two.
Part One: Think about a person or situation that really bothers you, really get yourself into the issue. Find where this lives in your body (maybe a tightness in your chest, a sick feeling in your stomach, a headache, a weight on you etc). Really experience this sensation. Imagine that you’re experiencing this feeling because a piece of you has been ripped out and has gone over to that other person or situation to try to resolve it. It is unpleasant, right?
Part Two: Now imagine that this piece of you, that has gone out there, is attached to a tiny thread, which you can start to pull on, gently drawing it back to you. This piece of you floats back through time and space and comes home, fitting back in like a perfect jigsaw piece. Notice how you feel. More whole, right? Peaceful? This is what it feels like to be in your own business. This is what it feels like to choose to stop suffering.
Now, I know this is an uncomfortable concept. I’m certainly not claiming that other ways of being are wrong – they’re natural reactions. This is merely an alternative to feeling as though others are the cause of our suffering. Staying in your own business takes determination and practice. Luckily, life gives us plenty of opportunities to practice this.
So next time you’re stressed, annoyed, disappointed or upset ask yourself “Whose business am I in?” Come and see me to experience this work fully, in relation to your own struggles. It’s liberating.
I’ll include some links in the comments. I’d love to hear about your experience of this, good or bad, and if you have questions, ask them below!