Ninth Verse of the Tao Te Ching:
To keep on filling
is not as good as stopping.
Overfilled, the cupped hands drip,
better to stop pouring.
Sharpen a blade too much
and its edge will soon be lost.
Fill your house with jade and gold
and it brings insecurity.
Puff yourself with honor and pride
and no one can save you from a fall.
Retire when the work is done;
this is the way of heaven.
We all want more. It’s human nature. It’s part of our evolutionary process.
We are Divine Beings, but we’re usually not so aware of that fact.
As I see it, we all start off living life from a pretty ego-centric perspective. We want more stuff, more money, and more approval. We’re looking for validation that we are important, that we matter. Most of us, to varying degrees, have developed a belief that the more cool stuff we have, the more we matter.
During a divorce where spousal support is at issue, the court looks to see what the parties’ Marital Standard of Living was in order to establish a reference point in figuring out how much money each party will need in order to continue to live like they did when they were married, or at least as close as possible. In other words, the court looks at how much stuff you’re accustomed to accumulating, maintaining, and insuring, so they can make sure you can keep right on accumulating, maintaining, and insuring.
But what if the divorce is an opportunity to deviate from the status quo in order to have a more meaningful, fulfilling life?
In my view, divorce is a sign that there are patterns that have been running in your life as a result of your subconscious programs that aren’t necessarily the healthiest, most positive, empowering, and uplifting.
These programs are in place because they have helped keep you alive up to this point in your life. Because of the importance of survival, the subconscious is very resistant to change. Basically it operates on the principle that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. This might be fine for survival, but I don’t know about you, I’m looking to thrive, not just survive.
If we look at this concept from an evolutionary perspective, it makes complete sense. When we are babies, we observe the world, soaking up everything and storing it in our subconscious. Tremendous amounts of data get absorbed without much filtering or processing and from this data a whole operating system is formed, which eventually becomes comprehensive enough to run our lives and keep us relatively safe.
Once this operating system is in place (let’s call it OS Ego 1.0), it keeps us pretty well focused on filling our cupped hands, sharpening our blades, stock-piling the jade and gold, but it doesn’t know when enough is enough. The Tao is like the 24/7 technical support that’s always encouraging us to upgrade to OS True Self 2.0 and reboot.
The bugs and glitches in our programming create our challenging experiences, which upset us and make us wish things were different, but as long as those bugs and glitches are in the programming, the same results keep occurring until the whole system gets so bogged done that 100% of your consciousness processing unit (“CPU”) is used up processing the hurts (okay, maybe I’ve taken this analogy too far).
What I mean is, if you ignore the patterns of hurt and upset in your marriage, they turn into divorce, if you keep ignoring them they’ll make the divorce process absolutely miserable (and very expensive), then show up in your next relationship, or someplace else, because they’re in your programming.
If we simply go about letting the ego be in control, pushing us to accumulate more, look for more approval, look for more validation outside of ourselves, we become more and more out of alignment with the Tao, so the Tao will operate to bring us back into harmony. Unfortunately, this might look like a tragic event in your life, like not getting the spousal support you think you need to maintain your lifestyle. This is upsetting because we are programmed that more is better.
As long as we continue to live with the old operating system in place, we’ll continue incessantly processing upset until eventually the whole system shuts down completely.
Divorce seems to naturally bring out the worst aspects of our survival programming. It’s so easy to stay stuck in our patterns and get upset with our ex, make demands, finger point, and spend our vital resources fighting, but keep in mind; you’re only fighting yourself. You’re fighting the programming that has kept you alive, but is now holding you back from truly living.
“Lawyering up,” can be like sharpening that blade too much. There are much greater riches beyond a house filled with jade and gold, but it takes you deciding to stop and take the time to be aware of them.
Of course, use steadfast integrity to hold your ex accountable for his or her responsibilities to the family, but take the time to check inside. The Tao is there and it knows when enough is enough and the work is done. Keeping up the fight due to honor or pride only sets you up for more suffering. Knowing when to let go and just enjoy what you have is the way of heaven.
Love & Light Ahead!
Michael C. Cotugno, Esq.
Conscious Divorce Attorney & Coach
M.A. in Spiritual Psychology