|Why do we go into new relationships, change jobs, change locations etc? The reasons I know could be many and varied, from promotions, changes in family situations etc. I want to dwell on one of the reasons we also sometimes change jobs/relationships – the reason linked to consciousness.
Several years ago, I think this was 1998, I was having serious problems with my marriage. One morning, my wife just left the house with our two kids – (We do have 4 kids now and thank God, a really good marriage now). I was left in an empty house all by myself. My elder brother came visiting with two friends of his, two of a kind of easy going fellows that really enjoy drinking. As they tried to cheer me up, my brother’s friend Dolapo, said humorously “I hope you are not thinking of divorce and re-marriage? You know I am now in my second marriage and I can tell you from personal experience that all women are the same. I look back and I wonder why I divorced my first wife, she is a lot better than the present one, but I cannot take back the hand of the clock. I sometimes miss my first wife and in comparison, this one is just like a devil”.
If all women or men are the same, why do we then change wives and husbands – (I am not by any means saying that all marriages are 100% alike, there are peculiar challenges in a few marriages such as a woman marrying a man only to find out after the wedding that the man is impotent and many such examples that are peculiar, these challenges require counselling outside of what I am talking about here). You see we opt to divorce and re-marry because we know too much about our spouses. We have made so much internal meanings from their conduct that we have taken those meanings to be reality. Even learning how life is created barely scratches the surface of the reality that we are convinced off. So, what do we opt for? We want a new spouse that we have no negative internal memory of. We see this new dude, and everything just looks like love in the Caribbean Island. We feel like a “Mills and Boom” new romance novel is about to be written about this seeming new acquaintance. The new person is so perfect and full of everything we desire. If we continue in the delusion we will go with the bliss, divorce this one and marry the new love.
Why do we fall for this seduction? Personal Development is HARD. It is very hard I must confess. I have been teaching Personal Development classes for 7 years in companies and I can tell you it is HARD. To turn to our thoughts is not the easy thing to do. The easy thing to do is to place the blame on another. Someone with a grounded understanding of living life from the inside out will say wait a minute, the experience I am having is the product of my thinking not my spouse’s behaviour. He/she will begin to explore ways of not letting his/her thoughts hold sway. Read what the wisest man in the Bible had to say about personal development “He that has rule over his spirit is greater than he that taketh a city” – Proverbs 16:32. We want to do great things, but the last thing we want to do is look inside ourselves. My brother’s friend experience is quite instructive. The “other flame” may just not be different from the one at home. Soon, differences in realities will creep up and arguments will start. As it is, all arguments stem from a failure to recognize the principle of separate realities. As the arguments come up, new meanings are created every day. As the brain creates these meanings it automatically compares them to meanings made about the previous relationships. If you have taken any course on computer programming, you will remember the “IF” command. If this is greater than that “assign zero”, if less “assign null”. So, your AI algorithm quickly starts creating new rules of engagements as meanings emerge in the relationship.
Take a glass of heavily disturbed mud water and just leave it to settle. After a while, you will see clear sparking water with all sediments buried at the bottom of the glass. When we are in a difficult quarrel or disagreement of any kind, we are like that glass of mud water, severely disturbed in our thoughts. We lose clarity and currently many of the decisions we make are based on this wrong judgement. What this understanding helps us to do is that if we will just do nothing and wait for the disturbing thoughts to clear, we will return to our natural state of wisdom and see things differently. Many of us reading this article might have read the admonition, “do not make important decisions of your life when you are angry, stressed, troubled, bitter, in anguish of soul or in the middle of a fierce disagreement”. I will tell you the truth, the bitter lesson is that this is the time 90% of people want to make the most important decision of their lives. We are so convinced that this muddled mud water is the permanent reality of our lives and that the mud will never settle. Is it any wonder the pain we all go through in our lives?
Imagine the challenge of the trick your brain is playing on you in a new relationship. Now you are in a new relationship, the mud in the old relationship has settled and you do not feel the same way you felt again when the arguments were in their peak. Meanwhile in the new relationship, turbulence is at its peak. What do many couples do? You sneak back to the old relationship and possibly start a secret affair or a full-blown relationship. I have counselled a few people who are about changing jobs. In many of the stories, I can see that a relationship has gone sour in their place of work. I can see that they have made a dictionary full of negative meanings that they are even ready to quit without a new job. I have been a victim myself. I just wanted to jump into the sea and forget I ever worked in the company. Then the new job comes, and I run to give testimony in church. I have barely enjoyed my new testimony before the principle of separate realities kicks in. I can barely now agree with the man who was interviewing me yesterday that looked like an angel. My AI starts telling me the old boss is better than this new one. Before long I start calling my old boss that I swore NEVER to contact again. I call him because I want to keep the door open for a return from exile. I remember one painful exit that I did. This job was one of the best jobs I ever got, the pecks of the job were just amazing. Without any new job and 4 kids in private schools, I resigned. Boy, did I go hungry? I threw the entire family into a big mess. I lived in a company accommodation, had company car, company driver, even though I was living in Nigeria, I was paid in US dollars. I had to give up every company entitlement. If I had the understanding I now have I might not have quit the way I did. My thoughts got me screwed.
In counselling people who want to leave their employment today, I show them the power of thought and their responsibility in the understanding of how life works. I let them see our roles as meaning makers and tell them if you FULLY understand what I am saying, you can make your choice. If you think that the meanings in your computer hard drive cannot be erased, then it might be safe to try a new job; but first take some time off work, if you have outstanding leave, take the leave and let your natural wisdom or calmness return to you. If possibly take an unpaid job during your leave to see what other organizational cultures teach you. If in your calmness you still feel persuaded that the right thing to do is to resign, then resign. My advice in any form of relationship will not differ much except that in a marriage relationship where the stakes are much more, you may want to triple the exercise above, seek out counsel and really make a decision that is from your God given wisdom.
I love a phrase I come across often in the bible. “Adam KNEW his wife…” The word KNEW carries a lot of meaning. Once I “KNEW” you, the mystery about you is gone. Until I “KNEW” you, you were just a green beautiful field. When I came near, the grasses weren’t as beautiful as I thought a mile away. In 2Sam13, David’s son desperately lusted after his sister Tamar. Immediately after he “KNEW” her he hated her terribly. He was screwed by consciousness.
Understanding of how life works won’t stop you from changing jobs or relationships etc. This time, you will make any decision from a deeper place within you, not just your emotional transient feelings.