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Interview with Ariel & Shya Kane

by Edie Weinstein Moser


Readers of Wisdom Magazine will be familiar with the writings of this spiritual power couple who have been columnists for this publication for the past 8 years or so. Their words reflect the shared journey that they have been on and invite you as welcome companions along the way. I had the pleasure of meeting with them on New Years’ Day in their home in the NJ country-side. Their house was beautifully and simply furnished, with a tranquil, colorful elegance that reflects the essence of what I experienced during our time together.

Sitting snuggled together on the sofa in front of me as we conversed, Ariel and Shya, who have been together for the past 26 years, seemed perfectly at ease as they completed each others’ sentences and offered forth ideas that had me perceiving relationship dynamics in an entirely new way.

Wisdom: You refer to yourselves as ‘catalysts for instantaneous transformation’. How would you differentiate between being a catalyst and a teacher?

Ariel: A catalyst does not get inserted into the process. It starts the process.

Shya: A catalyst accelerates the process, it doesn’t get used up in the process. In a chemical reaction, a catalyst is not involved in it.

Wisdom: And that saves the two of you and your energy level; if you’re not doing the ‘changing or fixing or healing’...

Shya: We don’t try to change or fix or heal anyone. Our approach is so uniquely "not doing" oriented. It is about being with what is, rather than getting things to fit into the ideas we have about how things ought to be.

Ariel: Instantaneous Transformation is paradoxical because... Shya: It is actually a misnomer.

Ariel: Transformation is instantaneous and cumulative. They don’t both seem to be able to be true, but they are.

Wisdom: So is it the ‘aha moment’?

Ariel: No. I’ll tell you one of the things that happens often for people. They will come to one of our Monday Night Alive courses in New York City or listen to our radio show Being Here. We encourage people to listen without trying to apply it as they listen, which is challenging because anyone who attends or listens is trying to have the best life possible. What happens is that over the course of the show or over the course of the evening, people have an ‘aha moment’, but what’s interesting about transformation is that mid-week after coming to a Monday night, many times, people will come back and say "Wow, I suddenly realized that my boss with whom I have been fighting for 6 years, I haven’t found irritating for days and I didn’t think about telling myself to not be irritated."

Shya: An ‘aha moment’ for most people, is a conceptualization of something, so that the conversation we listen to that we believe to be ourselves, that judges and evaluates and governs our behavior says "Oh, this is a good one." It is the same judging and evaluating voice that tells you "You did that very poorly." I’m saying that nicely, because most people’s voices are much harsher than that. What’s really difficult for us human beings is our intelligence because it really gets in the way of our discovering how to be in our lives, because we are talking to ourselves about how we’re doing based on standards that were inculcated into us in the rearing process. We’re not truly living our lives. We are frequently watching ourselves, judging ourselves, beating on ourselves for not being the way we think we ought to be. That’s really painful.

Wisdom: How do we challenge those voices?

Ariel: You don’t.

Shya: There are three rather basic ideas that don’t really explain transformation, but allow you to get a sense of it. Since transformation is an experience and you can’t understand experience, you can only codify experience with words about what it was like. You have the history, you don’t have the experience anymore, you have the conversation about the experience. The first idea is that anything you resist, don’t want, dislike, want to change, want to be more, different or better, will persist, will grow stronger and dominate your life.

Ariel: So your very perfect question about challenging the voices...most of us identify that conversation that natters at us as ‘bad‘ or ‘us’. Now you want to change it. If you are resisting that conversation, you will intensify it.

Shya: And the conversation is what wants to change the conversation. It is saying "I want to be quiet inside." That’s the conversation speaking. That’s not you, the being.

Ariel: Second principle of Instantaneous Transformation: you can only be exactly as you are in any given moment. Everybody knows that life goes by, but most of us think that in this instant, if we were thinking about it, we could be a different way. If we didn’t think we could be a different way, we would not complain. It would be a non-issue if it was cold outside or if you had a cold and didn’t feel well or wished you hadn’t said that silly thing.

Shya: You can only be exactly the way you are...with the thoughts you are having, the body sensations you are having, the body you have, the history you have. We work with people who want to have extraordinary lives and who handle most of the things of being successful, but now they want satisfaction and well-being which is elusive for even the most ‘successful’ person. Our friend Josh is our accountant and talks with us about people who have lost 15 million of their 30 million in the stock market and how they are panicked that they don’t have enough...


Ariel: ..and that they will be a bag person next year. We haven’t touched on yet, the third principle. The first two principles...the first one is the Law of Physics and the second is really obvious. If you take a picture with your eyes half opened, there is no way you can go back and take that picture with eyes fully open. The third principle is that anything we allow to be exactly as it is without judging it, completes itself.

Shya: Now, Ariel didn’t say ‘accept’.

Ariel: ‘Accept’ is "I don’t like it, but ok, I’ll live with it.

Shya: But when you allow something to be the way it is, you’re not adding energy to it. Everything in this Universe, needs energy to survive.

Wisdom: You mentioned that you have been together for 26 years. How did you meet?

Ariel: Shya was leading a seminar that I was a participant in. That was my first glimpse of him. We talk about it in our book "How To Create A Magical Relationship". At first I thought he was extremely arrogant but really it was that he was a straight shooter. I didn’t know immediately in the first 5 minutes how to reconcile that. It was "How dare you tell me what to do?" In the course of a very short period of time; partially through that evening, I shifted. I became me, as opposed to a jacked up, over the top, reasonable facsimile of together, so instead of "Who is this guy?", it was "Who IS this guy?" (said with fascination) Maybe a year later, he came to the chiropractor that I worked for as a receptionist and I read his new patient form to find out if he was available and he was. We flirted for some time and eventually I made a pass at him, which he accepted and we’ve been together ever since.

Wisdom: What was the defining moment that you both knew that this was it?

Ariel: When we got together on our first date and had sex. Shya said to me: "You are different than anybody I have ever been with and I feel wonderful and you are the one for me in this lifetime." and I said "Ok." And then the next day, my thought process kicked in and I was like "I said, 'ok'...oh no!" and I called him and said "You can’t talk to me that way. Don’t say that again." He said: "Fine, I just won’t say it." and we had a little courtship while we worked out the details. It’s kind of the rock polisher analogy where you get two people together and they climb in the rock polisher and they close the door and they are either going to smooth out the rough edges and come out as gems or they are going to chip each other and get out and go "whew...on to the next one." Luckily, we came out smooth.

Shya: It wasn’t luck.

Ariel: Fortunately.

Shya: Fortunately. It wasn’t luck. It was a dedication to completing mechanical behaviors in ourselves that would have and did destroy other relationships.

Ariel: There was an integrity for each of us, individually and with each other. I have to say I really appreciate that in the early years when things weren’t in the even flow that they are now, that I was really clear that there were certain behaviors that if I continued doing them, that Shya wouldn’t stand for it. It would be like "I’m done and I’ll go elsewhere." and vice versa. In each moment, I had a choice, do I want to have the mechanics or do I want the relationship?

Shya: Sometimes we say that the transformation is the ability to over-ride or transcend our bratty nature, because we all have the tendency toward temper tantrums and upsets. For some people it is impossible to disengage from those ways of relating to life. With transformation, it is possible to notice that you get upset and then give it up in the next instant.

Wisdom: Do you find that your relationship is a lab setting for your work?

Ariel: That seems awfully work oriented.

Shya: See, we don’t work at our relationship at all.

Ariel: Before "How To Create A Magical Relationship" came out, we originally put the book out with a different title "Working On Your Relationship Doesn’t Work". People hated it. They didn’t like that idea. All of the concepts about how working on your relationship doesn’t work are in this title "How To Create A Magical Relationship". If you are picking on yourself...

Shya: If you are picking on yourself, then you are going to be picking on your partner, because anyone who is close to you, you’re going to treat like you. If you are hard on you, then you are going to be hard on your partner.

Ariel: The idea that this is work, is so foreign to me. I can see how the idea keeps people working on it in order to ‘get healthy’. If you’re working on it, chances are, you’re being ‘right’ about something..

Wisdom: What are some key components for healthy relationship?

Ariel: First, it starts with you. Shya just said it, but is worth repeating. If you are hard on yourself, then you will be hard on your partner. Once they are connected, you will treat them the way you treat yourself.

Shya: If you have incompletions with either of your parents, you will never...and I say this with all seriousness...never be able to have a healthy relationship with another human being. As long as you are fighting with either of your parents, you will bring that fight into every relationship. It’s not a threat, it just works that way. I’ve been leading workshops for over 35 years and I have seen it over and over again.

Ariel: They overlay that incompletion on other people. The third component, is listening to what the other person is saying...

Shya: ...from their point of view. Most of us don’t listen to a person from that person’s point of view. We listen to see where they are going, so we can finish the sentence, so we don’t look stupid or we listen to see if we already know the information, or we listen to see if we approve or disapprove with what we are saying.

Ariel: Or if it fits in with what we already know. Also, most times people are defensive. They don’t want to hear what the other person says because the outcome may be "I am wrong." In transformation, it is not ‘right/wrong, good/bad, better/worse’, it’s looking at ‘what is’. If Shya or I have a perspective, it’s not saying that "you did it wrong.", it’s about how we are experiencing it.

Shya: We are so ‘do’ oriented, that they may want to fix what may not even be broken. I once had a Ford F-100 pickup truck...a 1963. I got it in 1965 and there was nothing wrong with it, but I put high detergent motor oil in it because I wanted it to be better. I destroyed the engine because the high detergent motor oil ate away all the deposits and it lost all its compression. It needed those deposits to function properly, so if you fix what isn’t broken, you break it. I learned a lesson back then.

Wisdom: How would you define intimacy?

Shya: It’s a willingness to be where you are. Not getting something, not doing something. What most people consider intimacy is sex. You can have sex without being intimate if you are not there. You could be off somewhere else, lost in your thoughts, you could be in comparison with the last time or the last person or your ideal.

Ariel: I have a perfect example. Shya and I are preparing to go to Costa Rica for a month. We did the pre-records for our radio show, we have a weekend workshop this weekend. We have been very busy completing things. Yesterday there came a moment where I was doing things very quickly and Shya grabbed my arm and said "Ariel, sit here for a moment." I just looked at him and knew that at that moment, there was nothing I needed to do, but sit down. I didn’t have to get anything handled. I could just be where I was and it was a very intimate time. When I got up to do the things I needed to do for the show, it was with a sense of intimacy between me and me, because I was where I was, rather than off in the future or worrying about things from before. Lots of times, people are distracted between the past and the future. It was so sweet.

Wisdom: In terms of sexual interaction, do you encourage people to come back to the present moment instead of the laundry list?

Shya: No. It isn’t about sexual interaction instead of some other moment; it’s about how to live your life directly in each moment, then you don’t have to talk to yourself about getting present when you are having sex, because you will be there. We have this idea that life is holographic and how you are anywhere is how you are every where. If you are ahead of yourself, or a planner...some people are planners. They are off in the future, working on all kinds of things all the time.

Shya: Here’s the thing; awareness is key. If you are aware of something, it doesn’t mean you have to do something. If we were to black out all the windows in this room, and ask you to walk across the room, you would trip over a couch or chair, because you couldn’t see. If you turn on a light, with awareness, you would be able to traverse the room multiple times.

Ariel: Not one of us fell down when we came into the room.

Shya: Exactly. Awareness is a non-judgmental seeing of something. If you interact with your life as if you were an anthropologist, studying a culture of one; yourself, that would be enough to have your life transformed. Most of us don’t objectively look at our lives. We subjectively look at our lives. We beat on ourselves for not being the way we think we ought to be.

Ariel: The active interest in how we are, is enough. Most people don’t think that’s enough, because we have been trained that we have to work hard. What Shya and I have experienced is that an active interest is all it takes.

Wisdom: Is there anything in particular you want readers to know about your book?

Shya: This book is about a lot more than three simple ideas that will transform your love life. "How To Create A Magical Relationship" is a text that helps people get in control of their lives. You can start operating authentically in your life in each moment, where you are appropriate in your way of relating to somebody, rather than relating to somebody out of old, mechanical ways.

Ariel: There are so many examples of phenomenon that Shya and I have discovered in our relationship that normally don’t occur to people. You and I may be in relationship and doing quite well and then we have these rocky times and think "I’m not very good in relationship." We got an email just last week from a couple who had read the chapter on relationship splitters. They had gone out to dinner with a friend of theirs and they discovered that her way of relating to them was how she related to her parents. They wanted to bicker with each other, but they noticed the shift and were able to not have to have the type of fights that they always had when they were in her presence. At home later, they were able to have a sense of humor about that tendency.

Shya: This book is a radical departure from what is out there. It comes from our experience, not from what we were taught in workshops that we took as participants over the years. This is stuff we learned when we started leading workshops, from what showed up in our workshops and private sessions with people.

Wisdom: What a blessing and what a gift you get to experience by doing this.

Shya: I don’t really think about it. People say that it must be so wonderful to do what you do and you must be so satisfied because of it. What we do does not produce the satisfaction. If you are satisfied, you bring the satisfaction to everything you do. If you are dis-satisfied, you bring dis-satisfaction into everything you do. That’s the Law of Shya.

You can learn more about Ariel and Shya by going to www.ask-inc.com

Weinstein-Moser is a Renaissance Woman: free-lance journalist, speaker, radio host and interfaith minister. Contact Edie via www.liveinjoy.org   

 


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