It is the time of year when we make resolutions. The impetus behind all resolutions is to improve our lives in some way. We wish to be happier, healthier, wealthier, smarter, freer, or whatever.
We usually look to the external world; our circumstances, our bodies, our religion, our culture, our government, our education or legal systems to find a way to make these improvements in our personal lives.
Rare is the person who realises or accepts that true happiness, the solution to all their inner problems is not to be found in the external world, but within themselves. This turning around of interest, from external to internal resolution is the spiritual path.
The word “resolution” has several meanings, each with its own connotations. As used in mediation between two parties it means finding a solution, resolution of a conflict of interests. As used in music it means going from dissonance to consonance, or from chaos to order. In optics it is used to mean the separation of light into its different wavelengths. As used in medicine, to draw out the infection or poison, not using surgery, in other words to use a poultice.
All these meanings have relevance to those in search of resolution to their inner being.
Of course, the word resolute is used to mean; firm of purpose, not vacillating, determined, decided.
The spiritual goal is to bring inner chaos, experienced as inner conflict, to order and integration; to remove what is poisonous to the system; to disentangle the entanglements that keep us in bondage, to find resolutions of our inner conflicts.
This journey takes determination and firm purpose.
What is generating inner conflict is experienced as anxiety, worry, stress, anger, jealousy, fear, need for excitement, insecurity and so on. Contrary to what many think, these emotions are not intrinsic to the human being. They result from a mistaken understanding of who or what you are. They are an indication that something is wrong and instead of accepting them as inevitable everyone has the choice of dealing with them in themselves. The fact that you know something is amiss means that you also have some idea of what is not amiss. You may not be able to identify or articulate what it is that is wholesome or full but this does not mean that you should ignore it. Something in you is drawing you towards integrity, meaning “without inner conflict”.
Each of us is responsible for the state of our own being and do not understand how we are creating such conflicts in ourselves. Happiness, contentment and peace are available to you, as they are your natural being, but you have to find them for yourself. You are responsible for your own integrity.
Happiness has to be earned, as the Dali Lama said. The question is, do you consider yourself worth the effort and determination to bring your suffering to an end? Since this is something that nobody else can do for you, it is in your own hands to make this resolution and to carry it out, with determination and perseverance.
Nobody else has the right to demand of you anything that prevents you from alleviating your inner conflict and suffering. They will try to. Equally, nobody else need know that you are following this resolution for yourself. The spiritual journey is an inner trip, and nobody can control what you think or how you feel, unless you let them.
I sometimes refer to this step of the journey as learning to mind your own business, what is primary to you, your search for happiness; and not letting others interfere in it. It also means that you learn to not interfere in other people’s business.
There are other articles on this site where I give ideas about how to make this discrimination for yourself.
No matter where you are on your inner journey to resolution of your inner conflicts, making the decision to “Mind your own business” is a valuable tool in all your relationships. With practise it will yield more and more subtle understandings of this.