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1. Seeing something differently than it really is. When you introduce a change into the way something is, that causes it to persist.


Tommy and Sophie are having trouble in their home life. Each thinks the other is being lazy and unwilling to put in the work needed to have a good home life. Each also thinks they are the ones putting in all the work that keeps the relationship going. This causes persistent stress on their relationship. They are alter-is-ing what’s actually going on in their relationship.

In reality, they are both trying to make a good home. But they have different ideas of what that means. By taking the time to see the situation as it is, they would discover that Tommy believes Sophie is supposed to do all the domestic chores, like cooking and cleaning. That’s what Tommy’s mom did. But Sophie doesn’t like doing housework, and she comes from a background where cleanliness in the home wasn’t important. Sophie likes to do home improvement projects, like fixing leaks or putting insulation in the attic. But she expects Tommy to help with them. Instead he has been doing the domestic chores he wishes Sophie would do. By communicating fully about all the views they have about how a home should be cared for, they would realize each is trying very hard. And they could find ways to both recognize the efforts they are both making, and ways to agree on who does which things.

Alter-is-ness is one the Is-es, also known as the four conditions of existence.

Ref: The Phoenix Lectures book covers this subject in detail.

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