Often, people new to this work ask me, “Why aren’t I healed? Why haven't I had that mystical experience? Why hasn’t the job of my dreams manifested? How come I'm not in love yet?”
“Nothing’s happening!” They tell me. “I’m doing the meditations, I’m practicing every day, but it’s not working.”
And I ask them, “How do you know? How can you be sure nothing’s happening?”
Like we all do, they’re looking for evidence – proof their practice is working – sometimes immediate proof. But the mistake so many of us make is, we look for evidence outside ourselves. We slip into an unconscious, habitual, conditioned way of being. We forget: if we want to draw an experience to us, we can’t look for it. We have to become it. In fact, looking for it means we’re feeling separate from it – instead of connected to it.
And that goes for whatever it is you’re trying to create. If you want to a have a mystical experience, you must become the mystic. If you want a loving relationship in your life, you must become the love of your life. If you want healing, you must feel the gratitude of being healed. You must become healed.
And to really inhabit that experience, you have to bring those feelings (and the thoughts that endorse them) with you into your everyday life.
When you rise from your meditation each morning, be the new person in your new life – and embody that feeling. When you’re walking from your front door to your car – walk as the mystic. When you’re sitting at your desk – become aware that you are the healer. When you’re shopping for groceries – be beloved.
To bring any new experience into our lives, we have to practice being in that new energy; that new mindset – all the time. Wondering why it hasn’t happened yet is the old mindset.
When you’re new to this work, it’s not unlike being a teenager. Teenagers are constantly pushing against boundaries; seeking new territory. They want a car. They want a later curfew. They want to find their own, edgy style and individuality. They want to experiment and have adventures.
But those are just the external markers of what they’re looking for. The feeling they want – the inner experience – is freedom.
And when it doesn’t come to them right away on demand, it can be discouraging. At that young stage, it’s easy to default to unconscious patterns of trying to get their needs met by forcing the outcome – instead of realizing they need to consciously practice new behaviors and attitudes – and manage their emotional responses – to change their lives. They have to become worthy of freedom.
They need to demonstrate the actions and practice of someone who feels the responsibility of being free – and has earned the freedom they want to experience.
And in those moments of frustration – when it’s hardest and most uncomfortable – is when it matters most to stay with it. To keep going.
Entering new terrain
When you’re doing the work, and it feels like nothing’s happening, how can you be sure? How do you know it’s not working? How do you know you’re not changing?
In our research, we see evidence of those changes all the time. Even with novice meditators; “teenagers,” if you will – our data shows something profound is happening to them. And here’s the thing: The evidence isn’t outside them. It’s happening in their brains. In their hearts. In their inner lived experience – in their bodies first – their biology.
For instance, when novice meditators (the “teenagers” who are just looking for results and trying to force outcomes) engage fully in a Week Long Advanced Retreat, our research shows there are significant biological changes in their bodies – first – to suggest their bodies literally believe they’re in a completely different environment, reality, life, or future. Based on our measurements, some people improve their heart rate variability by more than 200 percent in one week – and half of them didn’t think they were doing it “right.”
At this stage, they may not see the evidence in their external life, but I can tell you – with more certainty than ever – if they practice the work every day, the cells of their bodies are producing thousands of metabolites to look like they are already experiencing a new personal reality.
We’ve seen these changes repeatedly. We have the data from more than 10 years’ worth of research – data that reflects tremendous levels of change: in the brain; in the heart; in gene expression; in cellular metabolism; in immune regulation – even in life extension.
And some of these people who come out of meditation think they’re doing it wrong. They’re fooled by their senses that it didn’t happen immediately – so they think nothing’s happening at all. The greater perspective is, they’re in the process of becoming … and it is happening.
Judging the work, in this way, only ever polarizes the outcome. Someone is moving right along in their practice, right where they should be – but the moment they start analyzing, comparing, or criticizing what’s wrong with them, their belief they’re not doing something right only inhibits their progress and growth.
Analyzing our progress only reinforces our sense of separateness, which leads to trying harder – because we’re looking for something instead of being it. If we can, instead, shift our perspective and become aware of our thoughts and feelings – and how they’re creating our reality – that’s the moment we can make the crucial decision to change something about ourselves … and that’s the work.
Those moments of awareness are when we stop repeatedly forgetting and start consistently remembering. And that’s how we start becoming. It’s when we can move into exciting new phases of experience. It’s getting so lost in the act of becoming that the act itself becomes the experience.
That’s when we finally break past that boundary of the known and find ourselves in new terrain. When we let go of the “why” and “when” – and find our way to trust and surrender.
So let’s just say the “why” and the “when” is really none of your business. The only way change can come is to stop trying to predict it – otherwise, that’s the known. Change can show up only when we least expect it. That is the surprise of the unknown.
And that’s when the conversations about the work change, too. All of a sudden, people stop asking me, “When will it happen?” – and instead start saying, “You’re never going to believe what happened to me.”
It’s three simple steps:
First: You believe it’s possible.
Second: You behave as if it’s a reality.
Third: You become it.
And when life starts sending you the feedback – in the form of synchronicities and opportunities – that’s the evidence of the new future you’re creating.