Question: I have been in a marriage for 19 years and for the last 6 years it has not been good. What criteria is the best to use to decide if it's time to quit? We put up with each other and that's it. Is a successful relationship one that lasts for a certain amount of time?
Answer: Certainly nothing can be more difficult than knowing that something either has come to an end or must, especially when we have so much seemingly invested in it. A successful relationship is timeless in that it is a place of nourishment, growth, and developing wisdom. This criteria we all know is the True one. What we must do is learn to be true to ourselves.
Question: I've been divorced for a year and even though I believe I've dealt with our past issues, I cannot seem to put my ex-wife's current actions out of mind. I cannot manage to let them go and enjoy life. Is there a way to take my focus off her behavior?
Answer: If someone walked into your house uninvited and their very presence there was a pain to you, how long would you grant them permission to stay before you? Begin to see these recurring visitations of the images of your wife and her actions as unwanted guests who have no right to be in your house, meaning your mind and heart. Drop the thought. Leave it where it falls. Don't pick it up again. Over and over you must do this.
Question: When a relationship deteriorates, it seems that all we do is hurt each other and demand change from one another. What right action has the power to break this negative cycle?
Answer: Whenever someone hurts you, remember the following: He or she cannot do anything different toward you than what he or she understands to do at that moment. Simply put, that person who is hurting you is doing the best they know how to do. But here's what we say: "That's not good enough!" Our response is to try to drag the other person through a change, which means we resist their negative behavior. And what do we do when someone resists our own negative behavior? We just hunker down all the more. So our resistance to someone else's state not only keeps their state alive, but we become convinced that we're different than them… when really it's one secretive relationship, perpetuating itself.
Here I am in a space where I'm really upset with you because of what you just did to me. This space wouldn't exist if I weren't standing as a secret opposite to you. What I'm really looking at and feeling is me! Yes, you may have done something, but who is on fire? I am! Therefore, it is mandatory to realize that I must abandon this space that I'm in – meaning my sense of self and all of the relationships that are producing this sense of self. This is what we can do. Instead of focusing my attention on the person that I say has set me on fire, I can intentionally place my attention and my wish on Love. I place it on my understanding that even though I can't see it at the moment, Love exists right there within me and above me, and it is the Truth that would free me from this moment.
Remember the Bible passage, "What greater love hath a man than he that lays down his life for his brother"? In the moment I understand that this human being could not do better than what he or she is doing right now, and even though I'm sure they're wrong, that doesn't help me. That doesn't take me to the next level, and I can't make them go there… that's impossible. Therefore, I must quit the relationship that seems to be the only one at that moment, and join myself to the relationship that I know in my heart stands there even if I can't see it, and I intend to the Truth. I intend to be in relationship with what I know.
This is the problem: I know the Truth is above me, but right now I'm angry and upset, and I don't feel any love at all. By the same token, I know that what I am feeling is not only conducive to keeping this conflict going, but it's not letting me rise above myself. So what we must understand is this: Above me sits this Truth, this Love, this Goodness, and here is where I am. There exists a relationship between the place I'm at and the place that I know I long to be and that waits for me. Consciously, as best you can, wish for that. You can intend to be a loving human being. You can intend to be a wise human being. You won't be feeling these things, but the relationship exists, and if you intend it, if you wish it, you take yourself out of the destructive relationship and place yourself in the vine in which it's possible to be given all that you long for.