Denise Mosher had been counseling couples for years when her feelings about her own 18-year marriage began to trouble her. While searching for tools that would help her understand what was happening, she discovered Naikan, a practice of seeing one's self more clearly, which was developed by a Japanese Buddhist.
It involves asking yourself three simple questions everyday, and Mosher's answers turned out to be surprising, deep and powerful.
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This article describes her experience with the questions and the process itself, and I've excerpted a portion here:
Using Naikan, Mosher asked herself three questions about her relationship: What did I receive from this person? What did I give this person? And what troubles did I cause this person? Each day she repeated the exercise, and recorded her answers in a journal.
Naikan’s power lies in the details—the good, the bad, and the ugly truths that make up the mosaic of any relationship. But your focus is on the role you play, your actions and choices, and on what you received from the other person. What you uncover can be surprising.
“People are often in denial about their ability to cause trouble in the world,” says New York psychologist Wylie Goodman, PhD, a traditional therapist who uses Naikan in her practice. Couples who practice Naikan regularly don’t usually have to wait long to experience the positive results, Goodman says. “They quickly start acting differently toward each other,” she explains.
For more information on the practice, you can go to the Todo Institute. There's also a terrific interview with Gregg Krech -- co-founder of the Todo Institute -- in The Sun magazine, though the print is impossibly small! I think it's worth the squinting, however.
There is no simple or easy path from point A to point B, as we humans aren't as tidy as mathematical equations. I'm committed to providing you all with a variety resources, so you can find your own way toward the life and the relationships you find meaningful and manageable. This particular practice I found difficult in ways that made me uncomfortable, proud, and that ultimately led to fundamental shifts I needed to make. Happy diving, ladies.