Friday, March 23, 2012

Divorce and Enlightenment

Many people think of divorce as "failure" and use that as an excuse to feel bad.

Failing means that something didn't work.

That means you tried something.

The trick, and the deep trick, is to get excited about
1. having tried
2. what you set out to do
3. how you undermined, or didn't understand, how to achieve what you set out to do

Notice this doesn't say: figure our how your partner made it impossible for you to achieve what you set out to do.

And notice we are begging the question of most people not really knowing what they are setting out to do when they enter a relationship or a marriage.

So, having a vague idea of "happiness and a family," or "true love," or at best "mutual support," things get ragged at times, and since we have parents who usually didn't have fine and kind and awakened ways of dealing with issues, we fall back on bad models of behavior.

And get bad results.

And still : we tried for something.

Admit it. You tried.
If the aim wasn't clear ( and a negative formulation: not so much fighting, someone who doesn't put me down), let's get excited: what could our aim have been.

Here's some gold in divorce: what did we really want and were afraid to say aloud
( and gads, admit this, too, that we were too lazy to search for a non negative formulation of what we wanted).

What did you want?
What did you wish you'd said you'd wanted?

And here's more gold: what were you wanting from the other that you were not yet willing to give to yourself.

Say you don't appreciate yourself. And yet you were waiting around for your partner to appreciate you.

Or, you aren't particularly happy. And you are annoyed with (yes and unhappy about) your partner being unhappy

All this has a quick, straightforward and more or less guaranteed "cure" via the Work of Byron Katie.

Was doing this work a part of how you set about to accomplish the goals of your relationship?

Will it be part of your next relationship?

And what has this got to do with enlightenment?

Enlightenment is being present. To the now.

It is letting go of stories about how reality should be different than it is. And one of the major places that we love to complain about and demand that reality be different is in our relationships.

So we can take divorce, and it's accompanying pain,  as a grand opportunity to realize who we could be when we let go of our "story" about this other person,
instead of doing the usual "my X was a jerk/ sociopath/ dope/ abuser/ creep" and discover how our judgments and demands and criticisms and inability to listen and withdrawing and attacking, how we piled fuel on the flames of unhappiness.

We can learn to have unconditional love for this person who we have separated from.

In a way that's easier, since their so called "annoying" traits we don't have to live with day to day.
But if we can't love everything about them, we don't know how to love yet.

And to be enlightened is to love reality. If this person isn't breaking laws and physically hurting people (in which case their are police person about, ready and willing to help them stop), then we should be able to love them from afar.

If we can't, the news is sad: we can't love ourselves.

Which means we aren't ready for a new relationship yet.

Which means we aren't ready for happiness yet.

Happiness is not necessarily the goal of life, but not being happy is always a sign that we are not in the present and not in love with life.

In other words, not enlightened.

Weird to give enlightenment the freight of taking us out of our misery, but guess what? That's what our misery is for: to wake us out of our trance and get us to work on the real work of letting go of our judgments about ourselves and others.

And the first step, according to the work of Byron Katie, is to be honest. To judge.

Judge yourself and your neighbors.
Write it down
Ask four questions.
Turn it around

Good. If you are divorcing or in a troubled relationship, do the work, or keep suffering, or hide from it in jogging or overeating or new sex or lots of movies or overworking.

Life is choices.

I think to wake up one is best, and you get to decide for you.

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Friday, March 16, 2012

the old days and the way to not get so old, or anti-aging and the joy of learning

Say you took a walk down a narrow path to a river each day, fetched some water and then carried it back up to your village.

Then you picked some fruit from a tree, perhaps climbing up the tree, and if the day got too hot you swam and splash in the river down below, so once again a walk of attention (the path is narrow and you could fall off) and back up: nice exercise.

You hunt or you make baskets or you cook food or you prepare weapons or you take a nap or you talk to the grandchildren or children or adults or grandfathers.

You move, you pick up things from the ground, you harvest roots, you skin any animals you have killed.

It sounds primitive and could have it's own charm and appeal or could be a horrifying life to us "moderns", what with food in grocery stories and cars to carry us to work to make money to drive home via the market and cook our food in convenient ways that require no bending down to light the fire or pick up the firewood.

We don't move much, and some go to a gym and push various machines and barbells and metal around, and that certain helps, but the overall picture is one of a lot of sitting. At desks. In front of computers.

And then, even on the part of the day we used to just walk to the car, we are on the cell phone, and now it's a smart phone, so our eyes are glued to the little one and a quarter by three inch screen.

We hunker around our little electronic communication network, not around the fire, not around the circle of family and friends telling stories.

Movies tell our stories, and less and less people even sit with others watching the mutual dream. We stay home, we get our Netflicks, and probably a big chunk of that time is also spend texting and gazing at the even smaller screen.

People are missing. Movement is missing. Nature is missing.

And so we age.

People in the tribes in the old paradigm aged too, but their bodies stayed relatively mobile and their minds, with real problems to solve, real pathways to negotiate with real sleep, stayed alert. The elders job was to pass on the lore and the skills to the young. The young are figgity and keeping up with their minds and bodies must have kept the elders way more on their toes, literally, than the shoved off in old folks homes, and dimming away to Alzheimers, and decaying into the cancer plague.

And does Feldenkrais and Anat Baniel have something to offer the modern woman and man, the modern desk ridden, car enslaved, smart phone addicted person.


It has a plethora of movements, that are slow enough to be engaging on their own.

Movements that vary, and so the brain has to pay attention, and even better new neural pathways are laid down. And this is learning.

We try things in a new way, with attention, and learning, real learning of new connections gets hooked up in our brains.

And the spine lengthens, almost always with either table or group lessons. All the moving this way and moving that reminds the vertebrae: hey, you guys aren't a rod, you are a chain of linked and separate units, and the more you can remember and move in all directions with some separation from how your neighbor is moving, the more the spine can lengthen out.

The hunching over of the old, as the spine gets more and more trapped in the patterns of a life time of slouching, this can begin to "un-do" with the lessons of this work.  In the old days, people picked up things from the ground, reached up to climb and pick fruit, rotated right and left to follow prey and avoid danger and get through various openings. We can create, in gobs of fun and different ways, bends and arches and twists and sidebends in our spine.

We can recapture the joy of having a body that is excited to learn something just a little new each day.

So it isn't really "anti-aging," we don't have anything against aging. It's "anti letting ourselves stop learning, and anti falling into deeper and deeper immobility, and anti thinking we have reached the know it all stage of existence.

It's anti fear of the new, but excitement, and this can spill over.

What new will life bring today?

It's so exciting. Let's find out!

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