ON RELATIONSHIPS: Moving Target

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Erik Hansen on wives and potatoes

AS A MEDITATOR, have you ever practiced eating mindfully - let’s say a salad or a baked potato? Perhaps, then, as you tried to stay in touch with each bite, each chew, each subtle flavor of potato, butter, salt, pepper, and chives, you found yourself struggling through a haze of memories, fantasies, and scenarios trying to really be there for the experience of eating.

Now extrapolate from this experience and think: If it’s this hard to stay in touch with a baked potato, how much more difficult must it be to clearly perceive the person I love? After all, my relationship to a potato is fairly straightforward, whereas my perceptions of my wife, for example, are overlaid with all kinds of control issues, power struggles, sexual bonding, primordial needs, and so on.

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