For my birthday this year my sister in-law offered to buy me and my wife tickets to a number of shows. The offer came with a a free night of baby-sitting, so last night my wife and I kissed the kids goodnight and hoped on a train into the city to see the Indigo Girls and their opening act Kaki King, a freakishly gifted guitar player who appears destined to make endless Oscars creating sound tracks for movies. I chose the Indigo Girls because they have been teachers and role models for me and my wife for the last twenty years. Their music has reflected the joys and sorrows of my adult life. Here are five reasons I love the Indigo Girls:
1) They are unambivalently committed to being good at what they do. 2) They wear their hearts on their sleeves 3) They are able to both challenge us to wake up and hold us in their hearts with great love at the same time. 4) They have stood the test of time. Despite all of the ups and downs of the last couple of decades they have continued to show up and burn brightly. 5) They are able to give voice to the sadness and fear in the human heart and in so doing make clear that it is in our connection to our darkness, not repression or denial, that our capacity for light is realized. The night was full of tears, singing and laughter. Amy and Emily played without a band behind them. Two women on a stage playing their guitars and singing the songs they wrote to express how they feel.
“You are here to create the world around you that you choose, while you allow the world-as others choose it to be- to exist also. And while their choices in no way hinder your own choices, your attention to what they are choosing does affect your vibration, and therefore your point of attraction.” The Teacher Abraham
Growing up I often encountered a scolding suggestion “to mind my own business.” Sometimes it was directed at me and other times it was directed elsewhere. Either way it did not sound like a good thing. The “business” I was minding was interesting to me and I was being told that I should not want to be interested. This just did not add up. As I grew up and developed more autonomy, it became possible for me to mind as much “business” as I wanted. I could gossip, I could read newspapers, I could watch 24 hour news broadcasts, I could even fill up the spare moments at work going on-line to read about the mostly unfortunate “business” of others. Now that I am all grown up I am free to mind other people’s business as much as I want. In fact I am free to place my attention anywhere I please.
This freedom however is being encroached upon by the effects of my Yoga practice. Over the years I have begun to feel and to take note of how and what I feel, which is to say I am becoming one who notices. For example if I am embellishing a story to be funny or make myself look good I am now noticing that I am lying. If I silently judge someone I am now noticing that I have the sinking feeling that I am probably just accusing someone of behaving the way I do. If I leave trash on a train or in a cab I am aware that I am doing harm. Similarly I have started to notice that there is a profound difference between the way I feel when I put my attention on what I want as opposed to placing my attention on what I don’t want.
I am coming to believe that there is in fact my business and not my business. For example every time I reflect on the 200 million dollars Paul Newman’s company has donated to charities I feel so proud of him, and happy for him, and inspired by him. The same goes for Jimmy Carter whose organization is preventing 10 million people a year from going blind from disease. Just writing this makes me happy and excited. I feel genuinely connected to the beauty of life and the innate dignity of humanity. This is my business. When I think about gun lobbies and tobacco lobbies I feel sad, frustrated, alone, powerless; I feel like a victim. This is none of my business.
Having established what is and is not my business has not prevented me from falling into the pitfall of believing that others’ choices had the capacity to hinder my own. I have spent what feels like many lifetimes in this lifetime worrying about how others choices effected me only to discover that it was the vibration of worry that was the problem. What I am learning is that I cannot be against something and for something at the same time. What I am learning is that when I take my attention away from what I am for I lose touch with the vision that lights my way. What I am learning is that it is my business to make my dreams come true.