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Analysis Paralysis, Knee Jerk Reactions, and Mushin No Shin

"Analysis paralysis" is the state of over-analyzing (or overthinking) a situation so that a decision or action is never taken, in effect paralyzing the outcome. It comes from fear. Many people do this when thinking of divorce. It's admittedly a big step, and the fear of actually taking that step is so great that many never do. Instead, they stay in an unhappy marriage and waste precious years of their life in a situation that makes them miserable and does not meet their needs.

At the other end of the spectrum is the knee jerk reaction. A "knee jerk" reaction is an immediate, unthinking, emotional reaction produced by an event or statement to which the reacting person is highly sensitive. In marital situations this usually occurs when someone finds out their spouse has been cheating. Devastated, they immediately file for divorce and have their spouse served, at work. They haven't taken the time to digest what has happened, they haven't looked at other options/solutions. They are hurt, and they want to hurt back. When divorce is based upon this kind of emotional state it is fair to say that it is always regretted. It doesn't make the hurt go away, it just provides the momentary satisfaction of retaliation. A hollow victory.

There is another state of mind, a more enlightened state of mind, that in Japan is called "mushin no shin" (a fully awake and aware mind, not fixed or occupied by emotion or thought). In this state of mind, right decisions are made. With all the distractions of daily life, which seem to increase each day, it's not easy to be in a state of mushin no shin. Meditation helps. From my own experience, when I am in a state of mushin no shin, my aim is almost flawless. I have knocked squirrels out of bird feeders and hit a skinny antenna on my neighbor's roof, using a slingshot. Once I took my kids to Cedar Point, and watched them trying to toss a rubber ring around a bottle. I said, here, let me help. Tossed the ring right over the bottle and we walked out with a five foot tall stuffed white gorilla. When I take action in a state of mushin no shin, it always works out well for me.

If you are considering divorce, I recommend doing so in a more reflective frame of mind. Maybe you don't like meditation. But there are many things you can do to get into a reflective state of mind. Flower arranging, gardening, painting, come to mind. Anything that you enjoy which is simple, allowing your conscious mind to be focused while your subconscious mind rolls on. It is in the subconscious mind that we solve all problems, free of fear or anger. This is the state of mind that you want to be in when considering a major life change, like divorce.

It sure beats staying stuck in misery out of fear, or lashing out in anger. Neither one of those will give you happy ending.