Again, I'm really sorry to hear that.I have been looking after a very sick friend, which was beautiful and sad, and I also managed to get out to walk on the hills which are lovely at this time of year. :-)
When I do this as an exercise (I just did), the answer arising is that there's nothing here that needs protecting. In the actual situation (e.g. fight between my wife and me), I definitely wasn't behaving/reacting in that way!I want you to think back and re-evoke (if possible) some of these reactive thoughts, to the anger and upset that was arising and ask, ‘What here needs protecting?’ This is not an exercise of working with memory – it is an exercise in the present with the current feelings that arise when you remember what happened. Does it feel that there is a “me” here? What is this “me” made of? Is there a “me” that wishes things were different? More in line with what “I” wants?
Yes, I think this was a sense of contracting and relaxing. And evoking the situation does lead to contracting into "me".Going back to the thing with my wife - as I mentioned earlier, when "important" situations arise that are extremely upsetting, I sometimes revert to "non-spiritual" patterns of functioning.
What is it that finds these situations ‘important’? Could it be that there is a contracting into and a relaxation out of a sense of “me”? Anger, if identified with as “mine”, can be very contracting. Don’t take my word for it. Try evoking some of the anger and upset of the last few days. Does it tend to contract you into a sense of “me” being angry?
Yes, it does feel like contracting from and relaxing into experience.So, looking at it from the point of view of contracting and relaxing, does it feel that this describes what was happening here with these ‘openings’?
Thanks! Let me add one thing that has dampened my inquiry. I see a psychologist (who is really good) most weeks, and was discussing the problems with my wife with her. I was trying to figure out why I've been so tense/anxious for the last couple of weeks - whether its related to my wife or various other happenings in my life. I told her that my fear was that I was somehow internally and subconsciously separating from my wife - giving up on the relationship. Described it as a switch that I was afraid is flipping inside me.I’m sending lots of kind thoughts, Bob - this isn’t easy. But strong emotion is such an opportunity for inquiry...
She told me that she thought that this was a cop-out. That switches don't passively flip inside you and that, if I really wanted to leave my wife, I should have a clear understanding of why. I'm bringing this up not for psychological advice, but because it knocked out some of my enthusiasm for LU inquiry. Her point could be interpreted as "don't allow things to just unfold - there is a "you" who can seize control".
Having said all this, a few points:
1. My wife and I have been together since 1985 and its pretty unlikely that we'll break up.
2. I realize that everything I said above (including my shrink's advice) can be reframed in LU terms. That seeing through the self doesn't mean at all that my actions will somehow become precipitous and irrational. "My" behavior was seemingly governed by logic and emotions before, there's no reason that Seeing means that will suddenly change and I'll be subconsciously compelled to leave my wife. I have to say though that I'm having some problems sorting this out and its dampened the inquiry somewhat.
Best wishes to you and your friend,