There is an old Cherokee Medicine Way called The Principle of Noninterference. It is very difficult to master, and all but forgotten in today’s world.
Noninterference means respecting and allowing choice. It is the opposite of distance, absence, or disinterest. To love another is to not interfere with their self-determination and to allow a respectful silence, a connection without words that permits choice and change.
Sounds easy, but try doing this when you care, when you really really care about someone and you think they’re making a mistake. In order to truly understand how hard it is to not interfere, we have to accept the role of our ego, and the separation and isolation we experience as a result of it. Silencing our ego, another’s choice is simply their choice.
Let’s try something. Go back and remember a time when someone pressured you – when you felt controlled, manipulated, criticized for your choices. Do you remember one, what did it feel like?
Not so good, huh?
Although I write about this topic, study it, I still find myself in situations where it sneaks up on me. With the best of intentions, I have interfered with and disrespected others. With children and siblings, I see danger and want to keep them safe. With parents, I see flaws and wish for change. With intimate relationships, I have an expectation of the way things should be. All of this can be summed up as the World According to Kelleen. And it just ain’t so.
In Latin, the word expect means to “look out” – how appropriate, we are looking outside of ourselves when we choose to focus on our expectations, a pretty good recipe for pain and disappointment.
So give this some thought – stop wanting to change how things are, and start changing what you expect. Change your lens, shift your perspective, or shift the form of your relationship. Then look again at the situation.
The Prinicple of Noninterference is a vast teaching. This barely brushes the surface. Suffice to say, if you’re expecting something from someone today, pause. Look again at the situation and the person, with deference, admiration, and interest. Be patient with the process and open to the possibilities.
You’ll see – it just may make all the difference in how your day turns out today.