Relationships and the Truth of Change

                It is in our human nature, in the structure of our brains, to create as much certainty as we can. Certainty provides security; knowing what to expect offers some safety and predictability makes our future easier to plan. On the other hand, we know that things change, that nothing stays the same. We ‘get it’ — this notion of impermanence. We accept the validity of the adage “The only constant is change.” Whether it’s the weather, the international arena, our domestic politics or my pet’s aging—-the scene is always shifting and we have adapted more or less to the uncertainty and the unease that accompanies those shifts. Though we can be shocked by unexpected twists, that they occur at all is not a surprise to us. So at one level, we understand the truth of change.

                Wisdom traditions teach that there are three levels of “knowing” or understanding a fundamental principle like change or impermanence. First, there is the conceptual level. The idea of it. An impersonal, intellectual awareness that makes common sense. The second level is that of coming to ‘know’ the validity of the principle for yourself; this means having a direct experience of it in your own life.  The third way of knowing is the realization of the principle—-the integration of the ‘knowing’ into your daily life such that you embody the knowing and are changed by it.

                In our search for certainty and safety, we humans have exercised our extraordinary capacity for problem-solving to create an array of safeguards against many of life’s dangers. We have seatbelts and airbags; we have airport security checks, we have the FDA and EPA and CDC. These measures help. And they contribute to the sense that we have some degree of control over events. But when I first began thinking about this topic, I was reminded of something that I came across years ago describing the Buddhist perspective on relationships; that perspective has since been underscored when I moderated Tara Brach’s on-line course on mindful relationships.  In essence, the lesson from both sources is that while we ‘get’ the principles of change and impermanence abstractly, in the context of our relationships, we don’t seem to get it at all.

                One of the teachings that Tara offers in this program has to do with the strategies that many of us use to control our experience in a relationship. These are tactics we develop to protect ourselves from being hurt or wounded by someone else, much as those seatbelts and airbags protect body parts. She names three of these basic strategies:

  • Pleasing: changing ourselves to conform to what we think another might prefer; wanting attention and acceptance and being chameleon-like to get it.
  • Withdrawing: withholding our feelings; not speaking our truth.
  • Aggressing: blaming, judging, using anger to deflect.

We develop these tactics as children in response to our needs to be loved and to be safe.  They become prolonged past their usefulness because they are what we know; they are deeply conditioned and automatic. In my marriage, for example, my husband and I have favored the strategies of aggressing (his) and withdrawing (mine). For us, these began as reactions to certain triggers and were formed long before we met; they were unskillful habits carried into our relationship; they continued for years, creating problems and pain every time they were enacted. It has taken intentional effort and the practices of mindfulness (especially, it’s not personal) to minimize the impact of our bi-lateral reactivity. 

                We all have a strategy of our own and each of us probably employs a mix of them to hide or shield our vulnerability. The exercises in Tara’s program were designed to bring these patterns to the surface; then methods were offered for working through them to establish a more open, authentic and caring relational style.

                The point, though, is that the fixed nature of the patterns stands in opposition to the reality of change—- the realities that we change over time, that our circumstances change over time and that the other person changes over time. That is the first level of ‘knowing’ impermanence. The Buddhist perspective, mentioned earlier, names this: “the challenge in a committed relationship has to do with how you are going to face change.”

                So- even though- as my husband would say- we would get it right on a True/False test- of course it’s true that everything changes- nevertheless we fail that test in our personal lives by remaining unaware of how, by ignoring the truth of impermanence, we can and do infect/affect our relationships.

                To move to the next level of ‘knowing’ with respect to relationships, we can start by posing a question to ourselves: “How do I attempt to create certainty in my relationship?” And inquiring as to whether that strategy is necessary or useful at this time. Maybe it is. But because of the fluidity of circumstances (job changes, parenting challenges, etc.) and personal development in our own life and our partner’s life, it may be worthwhile to check in this way from time to time.

4 thoughts on “Relationships and the Truth of Change”

  1. Dịch vụ cung cấp clone uy tín – Clone full định dạng uid-pass-token-cookie – Bảo hành login 1 đổi 1. – Nhận reg acc theo yêu cầu. Khách mới sẽ được dùng thử . Truy cập : http://accs.vn

  2. Nice to fulfill you, my name is Brendan but I don’t like when men and ladies use my entire title. Her husband and her chose to reside in New Jersey but her partner would like them to go. Managing men and girls has been his occupation for some time and his wage has been really satisfying. Jogging is the issue I enjoy most.

  3. I was just looking foor this info for some time.
    After six hours of continuous Googleing, at last I got it in your website.

    I wonder what is the lack of Google strategy that don’t rank this kind of informative
    sites inn top of the list. Normally the top web sites are full of garbage.

  4. So a lot time spent and only one value wager to make. There will be data accessible about every thing from team information to the figures on individual players. Lengthier time in betting indicates bigger cash to spend at.

  5. Hiya, I’m really glad I’ve found this information. Today bloggers publish just about gossip and web stuff and this is actually irritating. A good blog with exciting content, this is what I need. Thank you for making this site, and I’ll be visiting again. Do you do newsletters by email?

  6. цена кератинового выпрямления
    Кератиновое выравнивание предназначено для
    пушащихся и кудрявых локонов, даже с сложным завитком.
    Оно может придать бледным или испорченным волосам здоровый, гламурный вид,
    сделать их намного более эластичными.

    Секрет ухода заключается в насыщении локонов жидким кератином, который
    формирует защитительный пласт, рассеивающий статическое электричество и также
    сглаживающий кутикулу.

    Lookk at my blog кератиновое выпрямление

  7. Great post! I think design also plays into encouraging people to post comments. I’ve seen on some other blogs where they change the default “leave a reply” on a new post to “Be the first to post a comment!” depending on your audience that is very inviting.
    Nothing like a little controversy, a edge, to generate a conversation? (this is a question, don’t you think?)
    카지노사이트

  8. No James, that’s the way you wrote it (or at least the way I got it). Don’t blame me, I would never ask a yes or no question. 🙂
    …okay, but seriously – this is something I need to work on. On a number of the blogs that I get paid to write for, I have no idea how many people are reading (since I post, but don’t manage or market the blog) and I’m frustrated when there aren’t comments.
    카지노사이트추천

  9. On my own blog, which I just recently started up, I know I don’t have much of a readership so it will take a while to develop comments and community, but I still want to do things right…So I’ll definitely keep this article in mind…particularly your comment #5, which I think deserves to be a follow-up article in itself.
    …I have found that the “be first to leave a comment” has worked sometimes, but possibly intimidated in other circumstances. Yeah, a lot of people would love to be the first to post on popular blogs, but on startups? Not always.
    카지노사이트

  10. When I ask a question at the end of a post, I always get responses. I do it judiciously, though, as I like to ‘mix it up’ and not always ask for a response.
    Hi James – great advice. I’m trying to ask open ended questions at the end of my posts, but it doesn’t always work, and often people will comment, but not answer the questions.
    바카라사이트

  11. What am I doing wrong? Am I putting the comments in the wrong place? Should they be closer to the beginning of the post, or in the middle, or where? Thanks. Catherine
    Getting comments is the bane of my existence! I try to end the post with a question about how my readers are using [insert topic] and no one responds. I have tried to hold contests where I will give them FREE PUBLICITY for a comment and nada.
    온라인카지노

  12. I have not checked in here for some time because I thought it was getting boring, but the last several posts are great quality so I guess I’ll add you back to my daily bloglist. You deserve it my friend 🙂

  13. Hi there, I discovered your site by means
    of Google even as searching for a related subject, your site got here up, it looks good.

    I have bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.

    Hi there, just become alert to your blog through Google, and located that it’s really informative.
    I’m going to be careful for brussels. I will appreciate for those who
    proceed this in future. Numerous folks will probably
    be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

  14. Hey very nice website!! Guy .. Excellent .. Wonderful .. I’ll bookmark your website and take the feeds additionally…I’m happy to find so many helpful information here within the post, we want develop more strategies in this regard, thank you for sharing.

  15. I was recommended this web site by my cousin. I am
    not sure whether this post is written by him as no one else know such detailed about my difficulty.
    You are incredible! Thanks!

  16. Heya i am for the first time here. I came across this board and I find It really useful & it helped me out much. I hope to give something back and help others like you aided me.

  17. Admiring the dedication you put into your website and in depth information you provide.

    It’s good to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the
    same outdated rehashed material. Excellent read! I’ve bookmarked your site and I’m
    including your RSS feeds to my Google account.

  18. of course like your web site but you have to test the spelling on several of your posts. Several of them are rife with spelling problems and I to find it very troublesome to tell the reality then again I will surely come back again.

  19. I’m now not certain the place you are getting your information, but great topic.
    I needs to spend some time finding out much more or working out more.
    Thank you for magnificent info I used to be looking for this information for my mission.

  20. I enjoy your blog. very good colors & style. Did you design this website
    yourself or did
    you employ someone to do it for you? Plz respond as I’m wanting to
    create my own blog and
    wish to know where u got this from. numerous
    thanks. https://s.id/m6pAF

  21. Some really superb posts on this website, thank you for contribution. “Once, power was considered a masculine attribute. In fact, power has no sex.” by Katharine Graham.

  22. I needed to write you one very small word to thank you so much the moment again just for the breathtaking suggestions you’ve contributed at this time. It has been certainly wonderfully open-handed of you to provide freely all a number of us would’ve advertised as an ebook to end up making some dough for their own end, even more so considering the fact that you might well have tried it if you ever wanted. Those ideas also acted like a fantastic way to know that other people have the identical dreams much like my personal own to know somewhat more in terms of this problem. I am sure there are several more fun times in the future for many who see your site.

  23. Thanks designed for sharing such a nice opinion, piece of wwriting is fastidious, thats why
    i have read it fully

    Feel free to surf to my webpage locksmiths| locksmith| locksmith dublin| dublin locksmiths| locksmith in dublin| house renovations| renovation professionals| professional locksmith| trustable locksmith| reliable locksmiths| locksmith company}

  24. What i don’t realize is if truth be told how you are not really a lot more neatly-preferred than you may be right now. You are so intelligent. You already know thus considerably in the case of this topic, produced me in my view consider it from a lot of numerous angles. Its like men and women aren’t involved until it’s something to accomplish with Girl gaga! Your individual stuffs excellent. At all times handle it up!

  25. I like what you guys are up too. Such clever work and reporting! Keep up the superb works guys I have incorporated you guys to my blogroll. I think it will improve the value of my website :).

  26. Hello! Quick question that’s completely offf topic. Do yyou know
    hoow tto make your site mobile friendly? My ssite looks weird when viewing from my aple iphone.
    I’m trying to find a template or plugin that might be able to fix this issue.

    If yoou have any recommendations, please share. Thanks!

    website parimacht

  27. Hello would you mind sharing which blog platform you’re working with?

    I’m planning to start my own blog soon but I’m having a difficult time making a decision between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal.
    The reason I ask is because your design seems different then most blogs and
    I’m looking for something completely unique. P.S
    Apologies for being off-topic but I had to ask!

  28. Thank you, I’ve just been looking for information approximately this subject for a long time and yours is the best I’ve discovered till now. But, what in regards to the bottom line? Are you sure concerning the source?

  29. Thanks, I have just been looking for info approximately this topic for a long time and yours is the best I have came upon so far. However, what about the bottom line? Are you sure concerning the supply?

  30. Pretty component of content. I just stumbled upon your web site
    and in accession capital to assert that I get in fact loved
    account your blog posts. Any way I will be subscribing on your augment and
    even I success you get right of entry to persistently quickly.

  31. Hello There. I found your blog using msn. This is a very well written article. I’ll make sure to bookmark it and come back to read more of your useful info. Thanks for the post. I’ll certainly return.

  32. I simply could not go away your site prior to suggesting that I really loved the usual information a person supply on your guests? Is going to be back steadily in order to check out new posts.

  33. Hello everybody, here every person is sharing such know-how, therefore it’s fastidious tto read this weblog,
    and I used to go to see this blog daily.
    оксандролон web site метан для мышц

  34. I’ll immediately grab your rss feed as I can not to find your email subscription link or e-newsletter service. Do you have any? Please let me recognize so that I may just subscribe. Thanks.