Gwyneth Paltrow’s announcement of “conscious uncoupling” with her husband of 10 years, Chris Martin, the lead vocalist of Coldplay, has drawn criticism and mocking remarks from the general public, and her fans alike. However, the snide remarks are not necessarily pointed to the breakup itself. Instead, it is the “conscious” part of uncoupling that really seems to have the media buzzing, and causing bigger commotion than it deserves. After all, if the couple were just “uncoupling”, people might have labeled it as another typical Hollywood divorce, and nothing more. Hollywood celebrity breakups have become a part of modern cultural entertainment, and through social media, anyone can chime in on how they feel about the breakup, and the approach taken. So what is so different about this breakup named “conscious uncoupling?”
According to People magazine, it is Gwyneth Paltrow’s mentor Dr. Habib Sadeghi, who introduced the concept of conscious uncoupling to the couple. The philosophy is based on understanding how the mind, body and spirit are connected, and the impact of our thoughts and emotions on our well-being. This approach is not typical of western-style counseling when it comes to divorce, and healing from divorce. The key difference is in the inclusion of the term ‘spirit’ that explains the mechanism behind its application.
Spirit and consciousness mean different things in western society than some of the eastern cultures where they are very much a part of a person’s core being. In India, for example, the term consciousness is intricately tied to the spirit, or the soul. In other words, consciousness is not what a person has, but what a person is. This may seem like a play with words, but upon careful analysis and reflection, one can see and realize the difference between the two. And it is because of this difference in understanding the term in its proper context, that is likely responsible for media and the public making a difficult breakup for the couple, the subject of mockery. After all, from western point of view, consciousness is something a person has, or possesses. A person who is awake and not asleep is considered to be conscious. It is not surprising then to see the reaction of the public. Browsing through the comments made on the breakup, one can find public antagonism through comments such as “at least it wasn’t unconscious coupling”, referring to drunken sex, or hook up.
Full explanation of ‘consciousness’, its relationship to the spirit, and what it means in eastern philosophy, is a subject too vast to be covered in this article. Here, it should suffice to point out this key difference in the term used by Gwyneth Paltrow to describe the end of her marriage. However, looking at the divorce from this new perspective in the meaning of “conscious uncoupling”, one can see the logic behind the couple’s approach. What it points out is that this decision was not made lightly, like so many other divorces, in both Hollywood, and elsewhere. This decision required facing the facts, whether personal or related, without egoism, or thought of intended hurt, from both individuals. Moreover, this divorce or uncoupling, allows the couple to ‘let it be’, and ‘be’ at the same time. It was done with mutual respect, deeper understanding for each other in terms of their conscious spirit, and realizing that sometimes, it is not what you do, but how you do it, that matters more. Perhaps in light of this knowledge, Gwyneth Paltrow can win new fans, and create a new understanding of the conscious approach, at a deeper level.
Opinion By: Amit Singh