If your partner is a meditator while you aren’t, you can take advantage of this fact to gain the upper hand on Valentine’s Day and for years to come. Just as business leaders across the country have paid millions of dollars to give their employees on-the-job mindfulness training to make them more placid, productive, and uncomplaining, you can now get the same results in the comfort of your own home at no cost at all. Just follow these three easy steps:
1) Master the jargon of meditation.
Meditators are taught “mindfulness,” which can mean whatever the teacher says it is, but in most cases it means “staying in the present” with an attitude of “aware acceptance.” A mindful meditator is instructed to avoid “dwelling on the past and future,” and to be “non-reactive” to present events both “on the cushion” and “off.” “Judging mind” and “goals” are to be avoided, as is “dualistic thinking,” the idea that one thing is better than another—although “non-dualistic thinking” is better than dualistic. The ideal attitude is one of “pure receptivity,” “going with the flow,” and “choiceless awareness.” To maintain this attitude in all areas of life is to “have a practice,” which is not to be confused with a doctor’s having a practice. A doctor with a practice accomplishes something and has something to show for it, whereas a meditator with a practice ideally does neither. The most sophisticated meditators, usually “Zen,” are often quite proud that their meditation is totally useless.
Obviously, these ideas can be used to seriously mess with the minds of anyone who falls for them. In the wrong hands, they can serve as a dangerous method of thought control, which is why corporate executives have hired so many certified mindfulness consultants to train their workers. But in your hands, they can bring peace to your marriage or relationship by putting you firmly in charge.
2) Use this jargon when telling your partner what to do.
Here are a few handy examples to get you started in overcoming your partner’s doubts about the wisdom of letting you have the upper hand:
Partner: Why do I always have to do the dishes?
You: Can’t you just make it part of your practice?
P: Why are you always the one who chooses where we go out to eat?
Y: Because I want to make it easier for you to practice choiceless awareness.
P: Why do we spend so much more on your stuff than on mine?
Y: Can’t you see how comparing mind is making you suffer?
P: Why do we keep doing this? It’s so pointless.
Y: If it weren’t pointless, sweetheart, it wouldn’t be Zen.
P: Honey, why do you keep doing that? You know it bothers me.
Y: I thought you wanted some practice in being non-reactive and going with the flow.
3) Adopt a tone of sincere lovingkindness.
This is the most crucial point of all. Any of the above comments, if delivered with even the slightest hint of irony or sarcasm, could easily explode in your face. So you want to practice saying them as if you really believed that they’re in your partner’s best interest. Listen to a few minutes of a recorded mindfulness talk and practice imitating the speaker’s warm, soft, caring tone. Once you get it down, you’ll be able to use it to coat even dubious mindfulness jargon with an aura of motherly wisdom and concern.
Just don’t start believing that jargon, as your partner will use it against you.
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