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December 2012: “Become peaceful with impermanence in your relationship”

Learning to become peaceful with impermanence is a practice that mindfulness meditators seek to develop on a personal level. However, this practice is also good for relationships. When we think of any observable phenomena, action, behavior, etc. we only need to watch it mindfully to see that there is a natural beginning, middle, and end to it. ‘So what?’ you might be saying. The problem is that we human beings tend to take interactions and parcel them up into boxes – the good, the bad, and the neutral. We then depending on the box create permanent identities that we attach to ourselves and others. What’s the impact on our relationships? We don’t see the natural evolution of our partner or our relationship, we lose faith that things will change, and we try to hold onto experiences that have passed. The bottom line effect is unnecessary suffering for all parties involved.

What if we instead let the interactions and behaviors in our relationship come and go, being fully present to them as they arrive, flourish, and eventually depart? Might we find freedom individually and in the relationship as a result? There’s only one way to find out.

This month when you find yourself creating conclusions about your partner or relationship over a recent exchange, suspend this judgment and begin observing. How is this experience impermanent? Is it still present or are you holding on to an old story? Can you let go of the past and be peaceful with what’s present now, knowing that it, too, will eventually pass? Notice what shifts in you as a result of this practice and what shifts in your relationship as well.