I’ve Had the Insights, So Why Do Anxiety and Habits Remain?

My sister and I used to play with a plastic beach ball in our pool.


Between the ball falling into the bristly bushes around the pool and our cat batting it around, it had some tiny holes.


Air was leaking, but it was slow. There was plenty of air left for the ball to float, and even for us to still play with it. But we watched it slowly deflate and shrink over several days.


Each morning that week we’d go out to the pool and place bets on whether the ball was still floating or whether it had finally begun to sink. I don’t remember how long it took but finally, one morning, it was partially underwater, no longer floating on the surface. Another half a day or so later, it was at the bottom of the pool.


I think of that beach ball when I see people begin to see themselves and their experience in a new way, but wonder why their habit still remains.


They say, “I know that anxiety is safe, fleeting thought, so why is it still showing up?” Or, “I’m leaning into what’s arising, so why isn’t it fading faster?”


These questions reflect a misunderstanding. They reflect a motivation to see things clearly or feel what’s arising in an attempt to make what’s arising change. But you can see how that doesn’t make sense, right? If you see thought as thought and you’re welcoming what’s arising, why would it need to change?


Your insights are like the tiny holes in my beach ball. They are poking holes in the illusion of thought. They are deflating your misunderstandings and resistance. This will lead to a different experience, but it doesn’t necessarily happen instantly.


Rest assured that once the holes appear, change is inevitable.


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