Earlier this summer, I went to a week-long silent meditation retreat. I was sitting in a large meditation hall with 90-plus other peers, and I found myself noticing a voice. A harsh voice that spoke about my desires: “You’ll never make it.” “That will never happen.” “Things will always be the same.”
Sitting in this silence, in the flow of compassionate energy that we were all generating, helped me to hear with stark clarity how mean and abusive that voice was. How secretly callous I was towards me. And in that moment I realized something even more important. All those never and always statements simply cannot be.
It is so easy to believe we are stuck and to look bleakly on a situation when we are suffering. When we are in pain. When we feel there is no help. This kind of despair rocket-fuels the never-always thoughts. Even on good days when things are going our way, doubts can surface when we strive towards our dearest ambitions and dreams, building on the fear that we won’t be able to get there.
In reality, change is the only thing in life we can count on. It is the only constant.
We just don’t know with certainty what tomorrow will bring, even though we may plan and organize. Or even the next minute. Think about an event in your past that was extremely trying on your patience. Think about an event so euphoric you were walking on clouds. How long did those experiences last? They eventually transitioned into something else, regardless of whether you think that something else was more enjoyable or less pleasant.
Think about life 5 years ago. Most of us can probably say our life feels different today than it did back then, whether we intended it or not. Our brains continue to evolve, making new connections or reshaping existing ones, especially when we are actively learning. Our bodies may age with time, or if you like, grow younger with care and intention. Either way, our cells are configuring themselves in different ways.
Knowing that life is a constant flow of change, a never-always statement has no leg to stand on.
Possibility is the energy that thrives in this flow. When we see the illusion of permanence, we can ride the energy of possibility by choosing to tune our mindset to it.
Next time you catch a similarly harsh voice within, I invite you to stand up to it like you would to a bully. Take a breath, hear it out, and then say firmly: “You have no idea of what you speak.”