Change of focus

Not that there are many people to whom this might apply, but if you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you’ll notice a couple of changes. Namely, the title and subtitle of this blog have changed. I’ve replaced the word “betrayed” with “reconciling,” and then rewritten the subtitle to reference the future.

Why have I done this? Well, I think that holding a vision of where we want to be is very helpful in actually getting there. Thoughts can create our reality, and it’s actually a pretty simple process. Thoughts aren’t really anything substantial, yet we take them as real — very real — and give them a tremendous amount of weight and presence. Think about it: when was the last time someone insulted you, and how did you respond? When was the last time someone cut you off while you were driving, and how did you react? Chances are you went into an elaborate self-justification process, creating a narrative that supported your actions and reactions. This is normal, that’s pretty much human nature. It is also more or less the basis of suffering.

I was drinking my morning coffee when I realized that I actually should make these seemingly superficial changes to this blog. I began to realize that by keeping the headers at the top of the blog as they were, I was committing myself to stay in a sort of permanent funk about my marital situation, rather than moving it forward toward its eventual and inevitable destination. This destination has two components: 1) my wife’s affair ending, and 2) our reconciliation. I have no doubt about either of these things happening. It’s simply a matter of time at this point.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a journey, and that journey often seems like a roller coaster ride, with lots of emotional ups and downs and unexpected twists and turns. Another way to describe it is the way my counselor described it to me three months ago on our first session. “Your running a marathon,” he said, “and you’ll need to have endurance.” I guess I was pretty naive at that time, and thought the marathon would be something like a 5K run, and that the crisis would be over pretty quickly and then I’d be on to reconciling. But, the race continued on for a while, and my pace started to slow. It became more like a 10K, then a half marathon. Right now, I just know that I’ve been running this course for quite a while, and although there is an eventual end to it, I just don’t know how far down the road that is and how much longer I’m going to have to keep running. I do know, however, that there is an end — I can see it, even if I can’t locate its exact point in time — and that I am well conditioned and have the endurance and stamina to make it there.

I wrote the other day about the movie The Secret, and how, despite my objections to the faux-spirituality movies like this can engender, it got me thinking about how I’m leading my life and how my thoughts and actions were influencing the course of affairs, and perhaps for all my positivity I was still holding on to things that were nudging things in a negative direction. I also began to think about visualization, which the movie (and, I take it, its accompanying book, which I have not read) encourages. There is enough science behind the idea of visualization leading to positive outcomes that it is certainly something that should be considered.

Then I thought about my own spiritual practice, and how visualization figures in with that. Actually, visualization is a substantial part of Buddhist meditative practices, and the tantric Vajrayana practices elevate this to a very high form. I don’t do those practices, as they require preparation and initiation that I don’t have, but one practice that I do on a weekly basis, Green Tara, does include visualizations, and these can be quite complex. The goal of the practice is to visualize the yidam (meditation deity), and through the visualization to take on the qualities of that deity. Now, the term “deity” here is not exactly what you think: there is no actual belief in God or gods in a theistic sense, but rather the recognition of these deities as manifestations of enlightened mind that are present within our being at this very moment. One visualizes the deity in various ways: in front of you providing initiation, in front of you bestowing blessings, or above your head enabling your transformation into the deity. And it is this latter which is truly transformative: the self-visualization can lead you to suddenly realize that there is a shift in your being for a time, and you take on the qualities of that deity: compassion, wisdom, and so forth. I have experienced this many times, and it is both possible and real.

So, I have simply decided to incorporate visualizations into my reconciliation efforts. I don’t dwell on the past, or at least try not to, nor do I obsess about negative things going on and how they might continue into the future. Instead, I hold a vision of the future that is one of reconciliation: I see what that would look like, I experience it in detail, and I let that be the reality of my relationship with my wife. There is an energetic shift that occurs when you do this. It’s not as if you are living out of an altered state that is in avoidance of reality, but rather that you are changing your reality to alter your course toward the future. This does make sense: if my vision is one of complete reconciliation and a marriage that is beyond my wildest dreams, then my behavior in the present will change to make that possible. This is where belief comes in: you have to let go of doubt. If you doubt that this will happen, then you begin to push the seeds of that fruition deeper into the soil and make it harder for them to sprout. In a way, belief isn’t even the right term: a better word would be trust. You simply have to trust in the process, and trust that it will lead you to your goal.

That’s where I’m at, and that’s why this blog looks a tiny bit different. I just don’t want to come here and remind myself of how I have felt in the past and feel as though I am struggling with the present in trying to get into the future. Instead, I want to cast that positive vision of the future openly and live from within that space.