How to have a Zen divorce

How to Have a Zen Divorce, by Lawyer X

On any given day, in the mountains of the Himalayas, one is bound to find at least one monastery where someone is practicing the art of Zen. Through meditation, they attempt to “awaken” themselves, to “realize the emptiness” in themselves and to use “intuition” as a “path to enlightenment.” They may also pray to their ancestors and try to evoke the supernatural in their quest to achieve a “great compassionate heart.”
Uh-huh. Sounds really existentialist, right? Yea, sure. Sounds really “mature.” Right. Here you are, in the middle of a divorce battle and faced with losing your life as you know it, possibly the kids, and more than likely your “standard of living” aka, money and property and I am talking to you about Zen?  The last thing you are prepared to do is practice any type of voodoo–whatever euphemism someone else chooses to call it. Zen?! What the phock is this girl talking about, right? What is she smoking?
The divorce process is very Zen-averse. In the sense that, it is a time of great upheaval, strife, anger, resentment, stress, loss, depression, unforgiveness and vindictiveness. It is, for many people, one of the worse times of their lives–where they not only bring out the worse in their spouse, they also see the worse in themselves. The very last thing they want to hear or do is “Zen.” That is not the instinct and if an attorney even mentioned that concept to them during a consultation, I am willing to hang my hat up and declare that almost none of these potential clients will retain that attorney. Nobody wants to discuss this stuff when they are getting divorced. They want a fight and the more “cutthroat” the attorney, the safer they feel.
But does it really, really, really need to be this intense? I don’t think so. I think if both spouses chanted or meditated during this time, and actively tried to awaken their “great compassionate heart” that the divorce may actually turn into a second honeymoon, cause it could literally transform how they see the other spouse, and next thing you know, they are calling off the divorce. And even if they don’t, the last thing they will want to do is “destroy” one another with this ugly process. They will find a way to handle their business like grown ups that does not lead inexorably to the cliched “divorce battle”, but instead leads to collaboration, negotiation, mediation, cooperation and a peaceful, rational solution to a failed marriage.
Most divorce battles result because neither the husband nor the wife wants to yield. Especially when it comes to the money. Someone made a comment on this blog yesterday (I believe it was the Heather Mills post) that, “you marry the person, not the money.” I concur. But, in fact, most times, the money is the thing. It’s really what the whole marriage comes down to–is the money. Custody can also be an issue, of course. But people don’t usually fight as hard over the kids. But they will readily have a bloodbath over the money. Money is their ultimate casus belli. Money is all things for these folks. It is Dharma.
This is not Zen. This is not enlightenment. I am not saying you should walk out of your marriage a pauper if you are in a marriage of means. No. You should get a fair share of the things you worked along with your spouse to acquire in a marriage. But having a Zen divorce is about recognizing the place that money should rightly occupy in your life and in the process (that ought not to be central) and choosing to be more compassionate and meditative rather than combative and stressed out.
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