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Lions Roar : November 2014
How to Bridge the Gap continued from page 55 dissatisfied with his love life. He really wanted a long-term rela- tionship but repeatedly experienced boredom with his partners after several months of being together. at last, he realized that he was looking for partners to care for him in maternal ways that his mother did not. He uncon- sciously suppressed his erotic needs to insure that they would not threaten his longing for a caregiver. When he realized this, he became inspired to meditate on love and compassion for himself and others. He stopped leaning so intensely on his cur- rent partner for soothing and care, and his romantic attraction to her returned. anna and David’s experiences demonstrate how important it can be to thoroughly explore our habitual patterns until we uncover their root causes. For as long as these causes remain unconscious, they will produce behavior and emotions that are painful and difficult to alter through meditation alone. inquiry into the underlying causes of our patterns is a way we can develop the illuminating wisdom (prajna) that helps us transform our patterns in a profound and lasting way. Combin- ing this self-inquiry with meditation creates a method that is nuanced and integrated enough to handle the complexity of bringing about authentic and stable transformation. the importance of communication When dealing with habitual patterns in relationships, genu- ine transformation often requires that the patterns be worked through in relationship itself. this makes sense from the per- spective of the Buddha’s teachings on interdependence, cause, and result: since the problems manifest in relationships, the solutions require relational change as well as personal medi- tation and self-inquiry. and relational change requires good communication. Non-Violent Communication, by marshall Rosenberg, is an excellent guide to developing communication skills that embody compassion, honesty, and courage. Rosenberg describes a style of communication that refrains from blam- ing and arguing about who is right and who is wrong. instead, good communication in relationship focuses on expressing one’s own feelings and experience and on being curious about and sympathetic to the experience of others. When we communicate in this way, our relationships work a lot better. this is not to say that every relationship problem is fix- able, nor that every relationship should continue—sometimes it is very clear that the best thing would be for the relationship to end. However, when we communicate honestly about our own feelings and experience, and are genuinely interested in the feelings and experiences of others, we step out of habitual ways of engaging and become present with each other in the moment. this creates the best chance for our relationships to work themselves out in a way that feels appropriate and true to ourselves. ♦ SHAMBHALA SUN NoveMBer 2014 68