At first, I felt sick. I thought I was just tired from all of the stress and anxiety I felt at work. I had employees that wanted to quit working for me and I held my tongue when I talked with them to keep them from leaving. I would suppress my feelings all day at work and then go home and become angry with my family. My wife and family were afraid to even speak to me. If we did have a conversation, it always ended in a fight. If we went on a vacation, the trip would start with a smile, and end with the both of us needing to get away from each other. As time went on, I became more and more distant from my family and my wife stopped trying to communicate with me. I began to consider getting a divorce.
Serious Marital Quarrel: I decided to divorce because I thought breaking up was the only way
My wife had depression and our constant fighting only made her depression worse. She’d been hospitalized twice. During that time, I cried for her. But once she was discharged from the hospital, things just went right back to the way they were between us. Our disharmony was a result of all of our work stress and the world we were living in together.
Everything in the world was stressful. Customers, staff and family were all stressful. The stress was so bad for me that I began to feel it physically. My body always hurt, as if I’d been punched, and my shoulders were heavy. I was really tired.
At first, I thought I was tired because I was very stressed. One time, I had a fever and a stomach ache. I went to the emergency room for treatment but the doctor said there was no abnormality. Later, my limbs became painful and stiff, so my everyday life was uncomfortable. I had regular checkups, but the results were always the same. Nothing.
I tried hiking and exercising to relieve stress, but it was to no avail. I started to show the anger at home after coming from my work life. If my wife and I didn’t get divorced, I felt I would just make myself and my family continue to suffer. I pushed my wife to divorce. I thought being apart from each other was a way to survive. My wife reluctantly accepted.
I was overcome with sadness when it came time to divide the property for our divorce settlement. I thought I had lived for my family but, now, nothing would remain. I was miserable and I shed many tears.
Let’s meditate for a week before divorce
The day we went to court to submit the divorce papers, I remember I was walking ahead of my wife, but when I turned back to look for her, she was gone! She’d run off. I got a call from my sister explaining what had happened. I went home and didn’t really worry about it. The next day I was reading a newspaper and I saw a story about a couple that wanted a divorce but they’d decided to meditate for one week before making their final decision. This couple was just like me and my wife. The story touched our heart and we decided to do the same.
We both signed up for meditation together. When I first started trying to let go of my lived life, I could only find memories up until I was 30 years old. As I continued to meditate, memories after my marriage at the age of thirty-one started pouring out like a waterfall. My life was so hard that I didn’t even want to remember it, so my mind was hiding it.
When I was young, my parents raised us without much money. They were farmers. Since middle school, I had been thinking about what to do for a living. After graduating from high school, I worked at an auto repair shop for 3 years. After that, I worked in a large steel company and raised enough money to open my own auto repair shop, which I did in 1991. The next year, I met my wife and got married.
Every day I was buried with work until late at night. I worked hard, so I was able to earn more money. But another stress came. I had a high turnover rate with employees, and it was rare that someone would work for me longer than a year. I read books on the art of living, and they said to be considerate and to see from the staff’s point of view. After that, I just did what my staff wanted. As a result, the number of employees who have worked for me for more than 10 years has increased. But my minds began to build up.
As I continued to meditate, I could see how attached I was to money. A difficult family environment from childhood, taking care of children, saving money for retirement… Anxiety about the future was the root cause of that attachment. Even in debt, I continued to expand the auto repair shop. My wife complained about the excessive business expansion. It was often the cause of quarrels between us.
In the end, I wanted money to show off. The existence of “I” or my “self” was tightly packed with money, pride, honor and inferiority. The attachment manifested with stress and illness.
The more I empty my heart, the more I know that it’s all my fault
I felt so sorry for my wife. I felt ashamed that when I earned money I thought I had fulfilled my role as her husband, and that I did not say a warm word to her and forced her to live according to my will. Before, I thought 95% of our problems were my wife’s fault. Gradually, I realized that it was 100% my fault. It was all my fault that my wife had depression. Tears poured.
I was a terrifying father to my children. My son was so nervous around me that I once hit his cheek and he nearly fainted from anxiety. When that happened, I felt like my life had been in vain, and felt like, “This is who I am to my children.”
As I looked back on my life while meditating, I saw that I was the same authoritarian father to my children that my father was to me. I hated my father, who was unaffectionate towards my mother, but that unaffectionate father was me. I was afraid that my children would act in the same way. The more I meditated, the more I realized I had to escape.
The more I threw away each mind, the lighter my mind became. My shoulders became lighter and I was gaining vitality. I became interested in all the people in the world. My wife, children, staff… I could live because of them. People around me also began coming closer to me.
Now I speak gently with my wife and children and help with household chores. How amazing this change is. When I first started washing the dishes, my wife was surprised and stared blankly. Nowadays, I make breakfast instead of my wife.
Previously, I thought that my employees existed for me. Now, I often say “thank you” because I know that thanks to them, I am here. I started trusting my employees to take on more work. Nothing is difficult because I am accepting of customer complaints and work harder to please them. I know now that I had suppressed my desires in life in order to be responsible. I no longer feel like I’m trapped doing my job.
My dream was to work hard to make money until I was 50 and then do whatever I wanted afterwards. People our age feel anxious if they start a business or go to work, so they suffer more. You can live in the world happily by putting down that burden. My wish is that many middle-aged men can look back on their lives through this meditation. The moment you look back on how you’ve lived, you can get the answer to life.