There is a tradition on the Mindfulness and Psychotherapy Blog. Every Monday, I cite a quote or a poem that is related to mindfulness and psychotherapy in some way and then explore it a bit and how it is relevant to our lives. For me, quotes and poetry can often sink me into a state of greater understanding. So for today, here is a quote by Heraclitus:

Nothing endures but change.

For some this is a comforting quote while for others it reeks of terror.  However, if there is anything we know to be true in this life, it is that change is inevitable. We are born on this planet and we eventually pass, buildings are erected and eventually fall, this earth was created and undoubtedly, at some future date, this earth will also be gone. How might this be helpful in terms of our sanity?

So many of us struggle with difficult feelings of anxiety, depression, craving, grieving, anger, shame, fear, you name it. In these moments, a committee of personalities is gathering in our heads and the ones that represent the intolerable feeling are shouting the loudest. In that moment we identify with that voice, as if we say “yes, yes, I am you, you represent all of me (plug in your difficult feeling here). I am worthless, hopeless and helpless. I am no good, the world is meaningless, and nobody cares about me.”

We become one with these voices and believe these thoughts as facts.

One thing we can be assured of is that as soon as we begin feeling a bit better, these voices are silenced and new voices arise, “what a wonderful day, I can see a future, or that person must really be hurting to treat me that way.”

This isn’t to insinuate that your mind is worthless and don’t believe a word that comes out of it. However, it is meant to insinuate that we have choices. We can become aware when we are in a foul mood and know that the thoughts that are arising are temporary events of the mind that are guaranteed to change.

As we learn to see thoughts for what they are, we can begin to take a step back in our minds and take stock of which ones we want to put energy into to live the lives we want.

Neuroscientists are finding that our brains have plasticity. That means that how and what we choose to place our attention on affects the ways our brain grows. So if we choose to place attention on automatic negative thoughts (ANTS) or constant worrying, our brains lay those tracks for more in the future. If we become aware of these habitual thinking styles and choose to redirect our attention, we slowly begin to change those pathways in the brain. This leaves room for hope which is the greatest anti-depressant.

Even in the midst of difficult times or challenging moments, when our minds tell us that things will never change, remember Heraclitus’ quote, “Nothing endures but change.” Through millennia of experiences of trillions of human beings, we have come to know this as a truth.

As always, please share your thoughts, stories, and questions below. Your interactions provide a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.

 


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From Psych Central's website:
PsychCentral (October 5, 2009)






    Last reviewed: 5 Oct 2009

APA Reference
Goldstein, E. (2009). Mondays Mindful Quote: A Universal Truth. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 22, 2014, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/mindfulness/2009/10/mondays-mindful-quote-a-universal-truth/

 

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