Why Insight Is NOT Change - And How To Know The Difference


The insight is not the change. The insight is not the change. Seeing into a situation doesn't magically transform it. Identifying a pattern doesn't immediately shift it. Understanding something about yourself is not the end of the process.

It is the beginning.

staircase-600468_1920When I've had a slap-bang-wallop insight into a particular behaviour of mine, I've often tended to believe: "Well, that's it: life will be different from now on." Imagine my disappointment when it wasn't, and the same thing happened again. So now, it's at this point of insight where I can do either of two things: 1. Believe that I've failed - that, somehow, I've missed an opportunity. "Loser! Must. Try. HARDER." OR 2. Embrace the knowledge that I'm right on track. That this right here is how change happens. Not with the lightning-flash of insight, but with the slow (often unbearably slow) clearing of the clouds after the lightning has struck.

The difference between seeing the truth, and beginning to live that truth, asks for patience and a two-steps-forward-one-step-back attitude to bring about the kind of transformation we want.

That is change's natural rhythm - a spiral, not a straight line, seemingly moving back on itself only to bring you out at a new place that you weren't expecting, even if the difference is infinitesimal. You know that feeling when you want to strike out and make big changes in your life - and then you find just a few days or weeks later you're doing the same thing you always were? That's because change doesn't happen at the level of the mind; it happens at the level of the heart and Soul. "I'm going to do something different" needs to become "I *feel* like doing something different" and it's this second sentence over which we have no direct, conscious control. Moving from the first sentence into the second happens as a result of that painstaking, testing - often frustrating - period after the insight when those clouds are clearing: when we are clearing our unfelt emotions, our blocked desires, our ennui, our regression.

This is what's known as "working through" and it happens after the insight.

To skip working through is to skip back into denial. To embrace it as much as we can - through the confusion and mess - is to move towards change. One (teeny) step at a time.