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Lions Roar : November 2014
Can’t Stand It!” a counseling client exclaimed. “every night i come home from a long, exhausting day at work, and there’s my partner lying on the couch, expecting me to make dinner for him. if i do it, i feel angry and resentful. if i don’t, he gets angry and i feel guilty and sad. i feel stuck.” transforming habitual patterns is hard enough when a person is just working on their own issues. it is even harder when the patterns arise in the context of a relationship—whether romantic, professional, family, or friendship. it can be so easy to fall into an automatic pattern of interaction with the other person, in which we do not like what is happening but we don’t know how to change it. We end up feeling frustration and despair. it is no accident that the older, closer, and more important a relationship is, the more entrenched the habits will be—in fact, they are some of the deepest ones in our conscious- ness. From Western psychology’s perspective, these habits were often formed early in childhood; Buddhism teaches that they have roots in both this lifetime and lifetimes past. From a Buddhist perspective the good news is that deep down those difficult feelings are noth- ing other than pure awareness, whose energy can help us “wake up” and transform our experience and our relationships. Since such patterns are so deep and have been there for so long, it is no surprise that changing How to Bridge the Gap Whether we’re relating as lovers, friends, family, or colleagues, habitual patterns separate us from each other and the present moment. Drawing on Buddhist and Western psychology, roSe taylor and ari GoldField show us how to cut through old patterns and truly connect. PHoto©CHRiStiaNRiCHteR/StoCKSyuNiteDGetOffthe W heelofHabit “I shambhala sun november 2014 53