With the recent Four Corners expose on the private lives of Christian Porter and Alan Tudge I thought I would weigh in on the argument from a skillful MIND perspective.
Should these two men be vilified for their choices on having affairs in their private life behind the backs of their families?
One aspect that makes the case most interesting is that both of these men have pushed for legislation to up hold Christian family values and attacked others not acting in accordance with church’s views of how a relationship should exist. So the fact that they say one thing in parliament and do the opposite in private is hypocritical and I just love the way Malcom Turnball put it – “This situation is dripping with hypocrisy – and the pools are deepest at the feet of the most sanctimonious.”
But I would love to give my own personal view on this situation as I see it as still a major hurdle to so many people in the world now. Most of us still preach monogamy as the “proper” way to have a relationship – and yet we are all so terrible at it. Affairs are as rife now as ever.
So lets zoom out and investigate why, and that will give us some context for our later opinions.
The first fact to consider is that monogamy in the animal world is virtually unknown. Human beings have been around for 1 million years and in that time humans have been polyamorous for about 99% of the time. Of course 1 million years ago we were much different to chimpanzees and bonobos whom by the way are still incredibly polyamorous. But for the last 300,000 years humans have been similar to what we see today.
It has only been in the last 10,000 years that humans have become monogamous. And this only occurred when humans gave up hunter gatherer lifestyle and began to own property for farming. Before that it was advantageous for there to be a polygamist society. This was because in that society of not knowing who is children belonged to which father it meant that every child had many fathers which led to a much more cohesive tribe. But when land ownership came in to being, there was advantage in handing your property down to only your genealogical children. In-laws also became important at this time to concentrate power in the hands of the elite.
But the point remains that as humans nowadays trying to be monogamous we are fighting the evolution of our genes stretching back hundreds of thousands of years. So it’s no wonder we find monogamy difficult. Humans are of course very adaptable and for many people, they are extremely happy in a monogamous relationship. But just because that is the case for some it is not the case for everybody.
Now from a meditation point of view we want to give up all attachments so we can be totally free in our meditation practice. And it’s my belief that for most of us there is a sense of possession over our partner – that is not other than an attachment which we should learn to let go. We need to release the belief that your partner “belongs” to you and realise out attachment is often coming from our own sense of lack or guilt or some other negative emotion. But what if your partner wanted to leave or share with another person she loved?
Now of course many people would be unable to accept the thought of sharing a partner with somebody else. And in this case the partner has to weigh up the hurt they would inflict on their partner and families and in this case stick to the monogamous promise they made. But if we had no attachment to the way a relationship “Should be” – maybe we would be more open to this idea.
My opinion is that monogamy will become less and less common as people wake up to the fact that it is quite natural to love more than one person and our culture becomes more accepting of different types of relationships.
So to summarise, if you would like to learn to become a better meditator, and you have a conflict between your desires and the way culture expects you to feel, then this attachment can not only bring suffering in your life, but also block you in your meditation practice. If this is the case, explore how you could open up and be more accepting of other peoples views of life even if it does not fit with your own and remember – in the end, all that is important is to bring happiness and wisdom to yourself and those around you.