What would it be like to be your partner who has to deal with you on a daily basis? What does she see when she first looks at you each morning? What habits of yours does he find most annoying? How do you think she feels when you stare at your phone while you are having breakfast and she is talking to you? How much time has he spent waiting for you because you were late during the past month? How many times has she been criticized by you? How many hours has he listened to you complain about your work or your family or your health? How close can you come to putting yourself in her shoes, to understanding her frustration and fear, to seeing yourself through her eyes?
Mostly, we see things only from our own self-centered perspective. If it rains and I am supposed to play golf, I get angry, but the farmer down the road is pleased because his crops need water. If I can briefly step outside myself, I may get a glimpse of life from another perspective. I may get a glimpse of myself from another perspective.
Naikan reflection provides an opportunity for me to know my partner and to know myself more intimately.
We build a connection on this knowing – Awareness. Appreciation. Attention.
Excerpted from, Naikan: Gratitude, Grace and the Japanese Art of Self-Reflection by Gregg Krech (Stone Bridge Press, 2002).
[ Photo by Yatkin S Krishnappa [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons ]