Put some zen in your couple


In a perfect world, it would suffice to simply love to taste a lasting solution to the delights of the life to two. The conflict would harmoniously, “routine” would be an unknown word. None of us seriously believes that this world can exist. However, and this is not the least of the paradoxes, not only do we have not done grieving for this perfection, but we are growing, like a secret garden. We look forward to the love in our lives as the children are waiting for their gifts under the christmas tree. Not a question of being disappointed or frustrated, we want it all : the time and the novelty, the tenderness and the chili pepper, the likeness and the difference.

Over the years, the level of our requirement has increased, to the point that the first storms in the love relationship arise the great fears and great doubts : am I doomed to failure ? Am I doing something wrong partner ? Is this the “beginning of the end” ? And if our expectations, in other words the idea we have of an ideal relationship, were precisely the main obstacles to a life both fulfilling ?

We are drowning in advice and the advice of experts : overcoming the crisis, re-ignite the desire, re-establish the bonds of intimacy… It could be that we were using up running after an ideal that never ceases to move, simply because we have forgotten that, as the buddhists say, ” the path is under our feet “. It has the force of a run, perhaps we have lost our way : the way of reality.

Be zen in a couple does not mean anything other than to make the best of what is, rather than put all his energy to achieve this “would be”. To “make do” is not, for this philosophy, an invitation to resignation, but, on the contrary, an invitation to creativity. Those that complain just to miss so many couples in the impasse.

Goal 1 : to reject our beliefs


(1) In zen Mind, spirit nine (Points Seuil, 1977).

How many of us have a preconceived idea of the relationship before you even engage ? How many have the certainty to know by heart their partner ? These certainties are reassuring, they grow over time and each one becomes the belief of the other, shaped by his or her expectations. Until the day when the weariness robbed the bars of the cage or that one of the two partners is revealed under a day unknown…

The principle : Kill the Buddha
“If you meet the Buddha, kill the Buddha ! “This is a replica of the chinese master Lin-Tsi is certainly the exhortation the most confusing of zen buddhism. What does it mean ? Simply that we must not cling to a belief, it was the most sacred. For zen buddhism, only the experience is source of knowledge, and not the idea, even shining, we have a situation or a person. “Kill the Buddha “, this is the first step to freedom. This act, which is to get rid of its expectations, but also its beliefs and its prejudices, is, in love life, the more difficult to accomplish.

Practice : Adopt the beginner’s mind
Shoshin means, in japanese, the beginner’s mind. “When we don’t have the idea of the realization, not the idea of self, we are true beginners. Then we can actually learn something, ” writes Shunryu Suzuki (1). This spirit, far more difficult to acquire according to the zen masters that the spirit of the expert, can develop only if we are willing to twist the neck with his beliefs and habits.

  • Banish the “always” and ” never “ when you talk to your partner.
  • Not assénez not certainties : ” I knew you would react like that “, ” You make the wrong choice, you’re going to crash “, ” I know what you are going to say “, etc
  • Do not state of the general laws : “You don’t know you there to take with the children, “” You lack ambition “, ” You do not think that to you “.

Cultivate the ” why not ? “
Get out of your preconceived ideas on you, on him (it). In discussions, try to adopt his point of view, just to break in your automations mental. Agree to the proposals which you don’t, a priori, just for the experience.

Share your emotions, your discoveries, your little joys. As in the early days of the relationship. Do not make problems and blame the only ” common pot “.

2nd objective : go through the conflict

Disagreement on the education of children, sharing of household chores, holiday plans… The reasons for conflict in the couple are not lacking. The differences turn into accusations and criticism in the indictments. Anger clouds the minds and prevents any constructive confrontation.

The principle is to Recycle the anger
Has the source of all conflict, there is anger. It explodes much more easily in the intimacy she is free of all the safeguards that are usually in our social life. The anger is fuelled by resentment, a sense of injustice, or by what the other key in each one of us vulnerable. In zen buddhism, there is no shame to feel the anger, human emotion like any other. The stifle to adopt an impassive surface, it is not good neither for oneself nor for the other. Use it to take precedence over the other leads to a dead end. On the other hand, we can use this energy to move forward in both a constructive manner. As in zen philosophy, this emotion only becomes destructive if it is used poorly.

The practice : Breathe in and return to self
Breathe out the anger. The zen master Thich Nhat Hanh recommends, to lower the pressure, a very simple exercise. When you feel carried away by anger, a few minutes can calm you in depth. Take inspiration nasal deep, smiling and saying to you : “Inspiring, I smile “, then exhale, still through the nose, deeply, saying to yourself : “breathing out, I breathe out my anger. (in Be free where you are – Dangles, 2003). “

Return to self.
“Hot, cold, it is you who have experience !” started master Taisen Deshimaru to his students, reminding them of as well as every personal experience is subjective. The cold water will be cold for one, cold for another. In other words, the conflicts start as soon as we try to convince the other of the infallibility of his point of view instead of holding on to the only expression of his feelings or his experience. Which shall neither be considered nor commented upon. Everyone should be able to go to the end of her story without being interrupted or attacked. When anger threatens to prevail, it is always possible to suspend the discussion : “I’m too pissed to discuss that, I need to calm me down. “

To share his difficulty to communicate in an atmosphere of emotionally grueling shall immediately reduce the tension a notch. Return to yourself, in taking care of his anger, and in testifying of his experience alone, allows you to stay rooted in the here and now, and not to encroach on the territory of the other.

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