The Light at the End of the Tunnel.
When you see the light at the end of the tunnel, it is not beneficial to go out and build more tunnel.
-Neale Donald Walsh
You know that feeling. “ The light at the end of the tunnel” feeling.
Something in your life unfolded that felt daunting, so big, it felt even insurmountable. Even so, you kept going, you persevered, you kept pushing forward, unwilling to give up, unwilling to go backward . You may have felt at times like you weren’t moving forward. But you kept going , in some way, in any way.
Then it happened: you saw the light at the end of the tunnel.
This is a universal kind of experience. It may even be necessary as a part of the training ground that Life provides us. Experience unfolds and you have another opportunity to grow in personal capacity for strength, courage, resourcefulness, and willingness.
When you finally see the light at the end of the tunnel you may get really excited. You may think. “ Oh, it is possible! I can make it! I can recover! I can feel better, find a better job, find another relationship, find a healthier relationship, make more money etc.”
What often happens under the surface, though, is that you get scared. You’ve been in that tunnel. It was dark. It felt long. At some point, feeling the struggle came to feel familiar. You became accustomed to seeing what is wrong. You were in a state of seeing the problems rather than the solution.
So when you actually see the light at the end of the tunnel, when it seems possible that things may actually work out, you unconsciously start building more tunnel. You find more problem. You find more of what’s not working so you can stay in that state. Internally, your familiar state is extremely powerful and doesn’t want to change. It tells you “ Change is SCARY.” You end up building more tunnel.
This all makes perfect sense. You may have been taught to be a tunnel builder all your life. It certainly feels familiar to me. That is how I heard my parents thinking. “There is not enough.” “There may not be enough.” “ That is not a good decision because…” No, you cant’ do that because …” More tunnel that always kept the dream far away was pattern. It was a constant.
What gets repeated the most is what becomes familiar. What feels familiar is what gets internally perceived as safe. What feels familiar feels safe even when, from an outside perspective, one can see that it is not good for you. If seeing problem is the repeated pattern, that becomes the familiar way of being. It becomes the habituated way of being. Without realizing it, you think in terms of problem rather than in terms of solution. That keeps building more tunnel.
Habit is only habit. It is not law. Any thought can become a habit if repeated enough. Any behavior can become a habit if repeated enough. Any habit, no matter how detrimental to you, can come to feel familiar, and therefore safe. When building more tunnel has become your habit, that is what feels safe. That is how you internally, unconsciously, keep yourself “safe.”
A habit, any habit, has been learned. It is a learned behavior and learned behavior can be changed.
I do not believe that your behavior is “who you are.” Behavior is simply behavior. It has been learned in response to the environment and can be changed. Behavior and consciousness are not the same thing.
Do you want to reach the end of the tunnel? Do you want to come out into the light to see what new world lies there for you? Do you want to see the fruit of your positive intention? That requires consciousness. That requires character. That is who you are.
You must allow yourself to fight against the familiar and push outside of your comfort zone. You must stretch. You must push hard against the pattern, against the familiar, stretch hard to push through the forcefield of “safety” to break free into the new.
In Star Trek they would go to Warp speed to break out of the hold of normal time and space, get out of the reach of the enemy of the zone of destruction. Figuratively, you can do the same thing. It may even feel just as difficult at first. But when you take that giant push to propel yourself through the hold of the familiar, you land in new territory and new possibility.
Love yourself on the journey. Be compassionate with yourself and applaud your efforts! Be willing and keep moving forward. There is light at the end of the tunnel and you will approach it with more ease and more grace with every effort. You can do this and you will. I believe in you.
Kathryn Tull, M.A., MFT
Compassionate Conversation with Kathryn Tull is coming To UBN Radio!!!
Wednesday, April 10 at 11am