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Lions Roar : July 2015
ADVICE FOR DIFFICULT TIMES She Wants Children, I Don’t Whatever choice you make, there will be some suffering. Meet it lovingly and wisely, advises TRUDY GOODMAN. Question: When my wife and I got married, neither of us wanted children. Now, four years later, she’s changed her mind, but I haven’t. We’re both Buddhist, and usually the practice helps us navi- gate disagreements. With this situation, though, we can’t find a compromise that makes sense, and the tension between us is growing. I want to save my marriage. What should we do? Answer: The Buddha emphasized com- patibility of attitudes and behavior in establishing a marriage, which you and your wife shared when you wed. It’s pain- ful—but not unusual—for one partner to change their mind about an important issue as they mature. You don’t mention circumstances that would prevent your caring responsibly for a child, such as having no way to make a living or being in an unhealthy relation- ship. It sounds like you love your marriage and whatever decision you make is all about love—for yourself and for your wife. In times of change and growth, we often look outside ourselves for answers. ©WARRENGOLDSWAIN/STOCKSYUNITED Send your question to firstname.lastname@example.org. 1. Bring a conflict into your awareness with the intention of working creatively with it. 2. View any discomfort in your body or mind as the tug and pull of the creative process, and allow it just to be there. 3. Play with the situation in your imagination. Move the players in your scenario around. Give them outfits, environments, different scripts to recite. You can create anything you want in this scene. Just start to imagine, but be sure that your scenario is giving you a positive feeling state. Asking for advice is the first step to open- ing your heart to receive guidance. Yet you must ultimately rely on your own intui- tive wisdom. What is it that scares you about becoming a parent? Often people are afraid that when they have children, they won’t be free to do spiritual practice. Raising a child consciously, mindfully, is itself a power- ful practice! With loving awareness, each phase of our child’s growth can heal our childhood wounds. Parents who are prac- titioners discover profound realization of selflessness, compassion, and love. The Mangala Sutta teaches that having children is one of the great blessings of lay life. Yet, the Buddha’s teaching of imperma- nence is clear: along with the joys of loving, there will inevitably be sorrows. One way of phrasing the path is: whatever you decide, there will be some suffering involved. Our practice is to meet it wisely and lovingly. ♦ 4. Now relinquish your project to open space. Just drop it into the creative reservoir of the unknown and wait until something emerges for you. Pay attention to your dreams, where answers may pop up. 5. Capture any insights or new approaches that begin to emerge. 6. Try your idea out. Expect that it might fail. Refine it. Try it again. From Everything Is Workable: A Zen Approach to Conflict Resolu- tion by Diane Musho Hamilton (Shambhala Publications). PRACTICE TRUDY GOODMAN is the founder and guiding teacher of InsightLA. She has practiced mindfulness-based psychotherapy for twenty- five years. EVERYTHING IS WORKABLE Diane Musho Hamilton on creative conflict resolution. WHAT IS IT THAT we’re creating? In conflict situations, we rarely ask ourselves that question. Instead, we focus on what’s being inflicted upon us or what we’re being forced to endure. But if we’re part of this universe, then every situa- tion we’re in, including moments of conflict and struggle, brings something fresh and offers us an opportunity to innovate. SHAMBHALA SUN JULY 2015 25 CULTURE • LIFE • PRACTICE