What we see is a function of how we look. How we look is influenced by our expectations and our past experience. We don't walk fresh upon anything and know what we are looking at. Reality is an extension of our expectations and our experience. We cannot make sense of anything that is absolutely new to us. We see everything in relation to something else. It is always appropriate to ask, "What influences me to see what I am looking at the way I am seeing it?" "What makes me think I know what I am looking at?" "What makes me think that what I think is so, is so?" Our opinions about things are just our opinions about them. Everything exists as opinion. Nothing exists as fact. We treat everything as fact. It would transform our life, and the world, if we started thinking about things as opinion. Of course, that is just my opinion.
All it takes is being right about what is important. Being right about what is important is the best trick in the Book of Best Tricks. The first thing to know is that we do not know. The second thing to know is that there are different types of knowing. The third thing to know is that delusion and illusion are powerful forces at work in our lives, and we cannot dismiss, discount, disregard, ignore or deny the possibility that we are failing to see what we are looking at. The fourth thing to know is that what is important changes from moment-to-moment, situation-by-situation, day-by-day, year-by-year, generation-by-generation, eon-by-eon... The only thing that is static and rigid, unchanging over time is that it is important to know what is important at all times, in all places. That's it. Get the ratios right among these things and there it is: what is important, here and now. Once we know that, comes the question of what to do about it. That is the next most important thing. Know what is important, and be right about it, know what to do about it, and be right about it. That only leaves doing it-- the way it needs to be done, when it needs to be done, where it needs to be done, for as long as it needs to be done. That's it. No one could do better than that.
Marriage is the easiest thing in the world. All it takes is cooperation. If you aren't getting the cooperation promised at the start, you can't be married no matter what you do. All cooperation takes is doing what needs to be done regardless of how we feel. People who don't feel like being married and let cooperation go kill the marriage by breaking the first rule of marriage: Doing the right thing requires you to do the right thing whether you feel like it or not. It is no different with marriage than it is with anywhere else in our life. Wherever we are, we are asked to do what the situation requires whether we feel like it or not. In this sense, being married is just like being alive. Our life asks us to do what life demands: To live like we mean it, whether we fee like it or not! This is the foundational commitment to marriage and to life. We can think of our life as being married to our life, and living our life as it ought to be lived, is practice for being married the way we ought to be married. Doing one helps us with the other, and it is practice either way. The practice of being alive is doing what needs to be done, the way it needs to be done when it needs to be done for as long as it needs to be done whether we feel like it or not all our life long. Get that down and we have it made wherever we are. And, in marriage, our partner has to be doing it, too. No one can be married by themselves. It takes cooperation. And we take up the work of cooperating with one another in producing the miracle of marriage at the very beginning, by taking our vows seriously, and living to carry them out no matter how we feel. In this, marriage is a lot like the Velveteen Rabbit, becoming real over time, and once it is really real, nothing can take it from you. It lasts forever.