In Conversation with Don Rosenthal, Part III

The Full Spectrum of Life in This Moment

“The primary cause of unhappiness is not the situation, but your thoughts about it. Be aware of the thoughts you are thinking. Separate them from the situation, which is always neutral, which always is as it is.”
– Eckhart Tolle

“We move through the day with our mind almost continually occupied … While we are thus preoccupied with our thoughts, we are living like a person in a dream: walking through life in an unconscious and mechanical state. Within this dream, we create conflict in our mind, in our home, and in the world.”
– Don Rosenthal in Learning to Love

Don and Marthaare couples therapists and also the authors of a number of books for couples, including the enlightening Learning to Love a marriage manual informed by their own experiences as a couple as well as by their in-depth knowledge of psychology and spirituality.
(You can read the first part of this article here and the second part here.)

What is Mindfulness and How Can it Heal a Hurting Marriage?
I see mindfulness as a state of being present, conscious, aware, and attentive to the full spectrum of life in this moment. Judgment, closing the heart, and even ordinary thought get in the way of the pure sense of being aware of my total consciousness in this moment. I think mindfulness is needed to see clearly enough to gain perspective on my unconscious and heavily conditioned habits of thinking and acting.

What I learn from mindfulness about the true source of wellbeing takes on another level of reality when I apply it to my relationship. I have become more sceptical regarding the strange belief that closing my heart and blaming my partner for my pain will keep me safe. Mindfulness has educated me on how my feelings come not from my partner’s behaviour but from how my mind interprets what is happening. For me, a measure of my spiritual understanding and a barometer of my peace lies in my honest answer to the question, “Who is responsible for my suffering?”

Mindfulness has enabled me to see how things are not what they seem in the world of mind. It has gifted me with elusive glimpses of how in the mystery of identity is hidden the key to emerging from our painful dream.

The Most Amazing Fact About Love: An Open Heart Feels Good
I have observed a simple, undeniable truth: when my heart is open I feel good. Therefore when I feel bad my heart must be closed. Whoever closes my heart must be the source of my feeling bad. Do I believe my partner has the power to make me close my heart? Or does the closing of my heart come from within?

Since it is clearly the latter, nobody other than myself closes my heart and therefore causes me pain. I resent whomever I believe is the source of my pain. Therefore the fact that I can still resent my partner suggests I must be persisting in seeing them as the culprit.

From this insane attitude arises an equally insane strategy: I’m going to get you to love me more by blaming you for not loving me enough. The contradiction and futility of this approach has become strikingly uncomfortable for my ego. The only strategy that does work is to demonstrate in myself more of the quality I’d like to see coming from my partner.

New Book on the Horizon
My second book, The Uncharted Journey, arose organically from a bunch of thoughts I had that I wrote down and later put together as a book. I have another group of thoughts that seem as though they might also morph into a book.

My theme seems to be: how can I use awareness and intelligence in the service of opening the closed heart? To me it seems like our most important task, and the central issue in relationship at every level, from marital to international.

Readers are free to write to me at: couples@sover.net.

Thanks to all for listening.

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