Forgive My Blog

Three Businesses

Byron Katie puts it like this:

Staying in Your Own Business

I can find only three kinds of business in the universe: mine, yours, and God’s. (For me, the word God means “reality.” Reality is God, because it rules. Anything that’s out of my control, your control, and everyone else’s control – I call that God’s business.)

Much of our stress comes from mentally living out of our own business. When I think, “You need to get a job, I want you to be happy, you should be on time, you need to take better care of yourself,” I am in your business. When I’m worried about earthquakes, floods, war, or when I will die, I am in God’s business. If I am mentally in your business or in God’s business, the effect is separation. I noticed this early in 1986. When I mentally went into my mother’s business, for example, with a thought like “My mother should understand me,” I immediately experienced a feeling of loneliness. And I realized that every time in my life that I had felt hurt or lonely, I had been in someone else’s business.

If you are living your life and I am mentally living your life, who is here living mine? We’re both over there. Being mentally in your business keeps me from being present in my own. I am separate from myself, wondering why my life doesn’t work.

To think that I know what’s best for anyone else is to be out of my business. Even in the name of love, it is pure arrogance, and the result is tension, anxiety, and fear. Do I know what’s right for myself? That is my only business. Let me work with that before I try to solve your problems for you.

If you understand the three kinds of business enough to stay in your own business, it could free your life in a way that you can’t even imagine. The next time you’re feeling stress or discomfort, ask yourself whose business you’re in mentally, and you may burst out laughing! That question can bring you back to yourself. And you may come to see that you’ve never really been present, that you’ve been mentally living in other people’s business all your life. Just to notice that you’re in someone else’s business can bring you back to your own wonderful self.

And if you practise it for a while, you may come to see that you don’t have any business either and that your life runs perfectly well on its own.1

Thanks Katie.

That last paragraph is where I’m coming from. I have been a busybody, needlessly interfering in my own life.


I have my own terms for the three businesses:

Katie’s terms Freyr’s terms
mine self
yours person
God’s object/situation2

And my own understanding of what sets them apart. In truth they are all the same, but our minds treat them differently and these differences must be understood if we are to apply forgiveness to them effectively.

Person

The activities of bodies other than our own are perceived as outside of our direct control, but we use social means to manipulate other bodies (sometimes successfully) into doing what we want. And a large part of the neurotypical mind is devoted to this endevour.

Object/situation

A rock cannot be moved by social means. We don’t disapprove of a rock, because we know the rock won’t care, much less change to avoid our disapproval. Yet a rock can sometimes be moved by physical means, and won’t yell at us or fight back.
A ‘situation’ has similar properties. It is not something that can be changed by social means, but may be changed by action.

Self

All the activities of our body flow inexorably from our purpose. The opinions our mind has about what our body should do, are no more effective than the opinions our mind has about what other bodies should do. Sometimes our body acts on our opinions and sometimes it doesn’t.
Believing that our bodies (or even our conscious thoughts) should behave differently than they do, is just as stressful as it would be about another person, object or situation. We have no business on this level at all.


The only business – the only place where we have any real power, is the decision making mind. The only power we have is the power to choose a different advisor.

And even on that level there is no need for our opinions. All we need do is notice.

  1. page 3 of Loving What Is by Byron Katie 

  2. any occurrence is a past situation