Mind your own business

February 26, 2006

One of the first things to learn if you want to be a contemplative is how to mind your own business.

Nothing is more suspicious, in a man who seems holy, than an impatient desire to reform other men.

A serious obstacle to recollection is the mania for directing those you have not been appointed to direct, reforming those you have not been asked to reform, correcting those over whom you have no jurisdiction.  How can you do these things and keep your mind at rest?  Renounce this futile concern with other men’s affairs!

Pay as little attention as you can to the faults of other people.  And none at all to their natural defects and eccentricities.

“Seeds”, Thomas Merton, selected and edited by Robert Inchausti, Shambhala, 2002 Part Three, Antidotes to


5 Responses to “Mind your own business”

  1. darla Says:

    wow – NICE!! this is what i’ve been thinking for the last couple of weeks – very timely for me. love God and love your neighbor…. when you’re busy loving, there’s no time for worrying about “other men’s affairs.” thanks for posting this gaston.

  2. gaston Says:

    And let’s not forget another quote by another man:

    “Judge not, and you will not be judged.”


  3. Goteeman Says:

    Excellent post. I got almost the same exact message from another source this week. If I get a chance, I will post it later as well.

    Hope you are doing well.


  4. kingsjoy Says:

    MIND MY OWN BUSINESS??!!! Then that would mean I would have to check my own heart motivations, instead of spending my time thinking about others’ imperfections. I might even change for the better! This is insanity! 😉

  5. christine Says:

    “Nothing is more suspicious, in a man who seems holy, than an impatient desire to reform other men.”
    That’s the quote from Merton that keeps playing in my head. I’ve had to fight that inclination since my ChurchGirl days, growing up in the Southern Baptist religion.

    Thanks for bringing it up, again. That Merton, whatta doll! 🙂

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