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Experience is Always Changing. But that’s Not the Point.

by Dr. Amy Johnson on June 15, 2017

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I talk a lot about how our experience is always changing. shadows

It is. Thoughts and feelings are fluid, impermanent, not “yours”.  They are like weather, coming and going on their own.

A revolving door of human experience.

Why exert effort to change it? It moves out naturally in its own time.

Why take it personally? You’re not creating it (not intentionally, anyway). It’s part of nature. If you wouldn’t judge the wind, rain or sun, why would you judge happy, sad, or fearful thoughts and feelings?

It can be huge to see that your thoughts and feelings change on their own. I used to read 4-5 self-help books a month. Realizing that my experience is just fine as it is—that there is nothing I need to work at fixing or changing—freed up a lot of time.

And that’s just the benefit of time. I can’t begin to describe the mental and emotional weight that evaporated when I saw that every insecure thought I ever had about myself didn’t stick. It couldn’t stick. Change was its nature.

So while seeing your experience as a revolving door might allow you to take it less seriously, it’s also easy to hear this revolving door metaphor in a way that sells it short.

It can sound like the important part is that you get to eventually be somewhere you’re not. As in, “I feel horrible now, but this feeling will pass.” (read: Soon, I’ll have a different feeling. Yay! Life will be good again).

Nope. That’s not at all what I’m pointing to.

And not because that’s not helpful. It’s a lot nicer to know that suffering will end than to assume that suffering is your lifelong companion. There’s no question that it’s helpful to see that your feelings are temporary and changing.

But just because it’s helpful doesn’t mean it’s particularly insightful. There’s a lot more to see.

This isn’t silver-lining-therapy. It’s not about getting somewhere you aren’t because it’s better there.

It’s about seeing that anything you happen to be experiencing is one single energy taking a temporary form. It’s not you, it’s the shadow life happens to be casting as it moves through you.

What could be wrong with a shadow?

That shadow changes, yes. When the light changes, the shadow changes.

But the shadow is just a shadow. It’s all good right this very second, regardless of the thoughts or judgments you might have about it. (The thoughts and judgments you have about your experience are shadows too.)

There is nowhere to get to. There is no feeling that is better—in any objective way–than the one you’re experiencing right now.

Ironically, seeing that makes way brand new shadows to show up. It paves the way for a radically different experience.  

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