Toward a kinder paradigm for parting ways
I grew up first in the 1950’s and then in the initially drug addled and then spiritually blossoming world of the hippie 60’s. During that time the former Harvard psychologist Dr. Richard Alpert became Ram Dass after he went to India and met his master. His classic book Be Here Now and books like Autobiography of a Yogi were counter-culture bibles in my neck of the woods. We all wanted more out of life, and to facilitate this, we wanted a special teacher, a guru; a master no less. No wait, we wanted a “perfect master. “
What this really meant was that we wanted the age old “something more” out of life, something that transcended the mundane world of sight and sound. We yearned for Enlightenment, whatever that was.
Many of the world’s greatest wisdom traditions, primarily those from the East, extol the virtues of people having “special teachers” that have a self-realization in life that the average person typically doesn’t have. These are human beings that are thought to have exalted wisdom of the true nature of our selves. From time immemorial, spiritual teachers have tried to provide invaluable assistance to others with their spiritual paths. In some traditions having a “master” is considered essential to spiritual growth.
In our contemporary western high-tech society, knowledge of the need for this spiritual boon has often fallen prey to increased focus on internet speed or expanded social networking software. It is also true that there has been a pandemic of false teachers who have appeared with little to offer but a seductive outer façade and techniques sometimes guaranteed to loosen people from their wallets.
Now, I am just a ordinary guy with no special advancement whatsoever, yet I am blessed in my professional work to have the opportunity and skill to guide people in a most straight-forward manner to an awareness of their special and unique perfect master. In fact, some of my clients are blessed with multiple emanations of this spiritual wonder. How can this be? Do I have a special immigration arrangement with a bevy of Indian or Tibetan masters?
No, I am a holistic lawyer. I try to help people work through serious life conflicts with principles of kindness and forgiveness as opposed to anger, intimidation and attack. I work to help people embrace the idea of breaking up a relationship without holding the kind of malingering grievances that seem to lock people into an extended period of divorce hell. Impossible? No, but there is no denying that it can be challenging.
Perfect masters are traditionally thought to be hard to recognize. Yet, I believe that they are available to us all if we are willing to believe in them and embrace the opportunity they provide. How is this so, and what could it possibly have to do with divorce?
One’s perfect master, put most simply, is that person (or it could be a place or thing) with whom we have the most difficulty. For example, by this definition, my usually adoring daughter has historically considered me to be her perfect master. It is that person for whom we have the most trouble looking past their outer form (i.e. appearance, personality and behaviors) and remembering that in their essential nature they are a perfect child of God (just as we all are) who is indeed our perfect spiritual master. It has been said that it is only in seeing the perfection in one’s enemy that we are blessed to see it in ourselves.
In a little more straightforward language: when relationships get difficult, and especially when they must break up, that situation, as embodied by the person we are dealing with, represents our most perfect opportunity for transformational growth. During the proverbial 70 degree sun-shiny day, we may be happy and content, but the opportunity for real emotional and spiritual growth is limited. When the shit hits the fan in our lives, we can stand there and let it blow back in our faces, or we can move to a better space: saying a whimsical “thank you” to our greatest spiritual teacher.