The other day, I heard enlightenment defined as a radical change in perspective.
What is enlightenment? Why would we want it? Is it not to gain deep revelation or insight into the meaning and purpose of things, to be removed from our everyday perspectives that cause us so much angst and pain?
I not only work with many people who are struggling with the parts of their lives and relationships that are painful, but have my own struggles as well. Nobody wants pain or heartache. If my world flows out of who I am – out of my perspective, then if I am sour, my world is sour. If I am scared, I cling. I would much prefer to find a way to be in relationship to others, the world and myself that has perspective, balance and an open heart.
How does a radical change in perspective occur? What is the work we must do to move from an unclear and difficult place to one that is more open, even enlightened?
I think of the couples’ work I do, of our wounds and raw spots that emerge to be tended to in our relationships. Our wounds are where we do NOT have perspective. It is where we have reactive behaviors and unproductive thoughts. It is where we shut down, or carry resentment or judgment. It is where we do not love and where we need love the most.
When does your heart shut?
Will you be curious about the qualities in another that cause you to reject them?
What would be different for you, if they were different?
What are they keeping you from?
If you dig down deep enough, you will probably find that you are rejecting the aspects of another that actually cost you or seem to cost you love, peace or safety. In relational work where we grow by being in contact with another, it is important to find how we blame each other, how we protect ourselves, how our defenses, which seemly make sense, can be outgrown and cause others and ourselves pain. For love to really work, we have to untangle this part of ourselves from and sometimes with the other. Unlike the blessing of an enlightened flash, this is the slow steady work leading to a radical change in perspective, and a radical new self, and world.
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