Somewhere along the path, we come to the moment. We realize that life can only be lived in the exact moment we are in. We figure out that our head is full of chattering nonsense that distracts us from the moment and we embark on the work of clearing the mind and embracing the moment. We want to wake up. There are many paths and many wonderful souls to help us see our path and live our moments fully. We only need to listen and we are on our way. As we begin clearing the field of the mind, we realize right away that we must hack away at the thoughts of the past and all our reactions to it. Then, it is clear that we must chop down the thoughts about future worry. All this makes perfect sense. Get rid of past and future thoughts to clear the mind and come fully into the moment. Of course in the case of the mind, one cannot simply plow the field, we dance with the mind and attempt various ways of allowing the thoughts to pass through until they barely get our attention anymore. We don’t try to get rid of the thoughts, that would only make them bigger, we simply learn to put our attention elsewhere. We learn to awaken to alert presence and reserve our attention for the thoughts that come from our higher selves and actually mean something. That all makes perfect sense and will keep us busy for as long as it takes, but it is not the whole picture. Accessing the moment is made up of much more. Next up, resistance. It comes in many forms and we must learn what it does to the moment in both subtle and obvious ways.
It is easy to “be in the moment” when things are going our way or we like the circumstances. What happens when it is all going “wrong”? As soon as we are resisting anything the present moment has to offer, we have slipped back into sleep. Our mind will become busy wishing things were different or planning ways to make change. We must embrace whatever the moment brings. We won’t lose our way or become numb to life. Life will show us how to flow and live in a much more alert and awakened state. We will be one with life. For me, learning about perception has helped a lot. We must be willing to look at all our programmed perceptions on life. We must open to the idea that we really don’t know what is good or bad. We can evolve out of labeling everything and arranging things to fit into one category or another. Watching our resistance to things and letting go of our attachments to what “should” be is a wonderful practice. Not and easy one. But, a wonderful one. Peace replaces resistance, one moment at a time.
“To offer no resistance to life is to be in a state of grace, ease, and lightness. This state is then no longer dependent upon things being in a certain way, good or bad. It seems almost paradoxical, yet when your inner dependency on form is gone, the general conditions of your life, the outer forms, tend to improve greatly. Things, people, or conditions that you thought you needed for your happiness now come to you with no struggle or effort on your part, and you are free to enjoy and appreciate them – while they last. All those things, of course, will still pass away, cycles will come and go, but with dependency gone there is no fear of loss anymore. Life flows with ease.” ― Eckhart Tolle
These are wonderfully comforting words from Eckhart Tolle. Also ambitious. We can do it! It’s not too ambitious if it is grounded in letting go and letting life live us. We can set our intentions to observe and allow resistance to pass through or to teach us something. Let’s look at a few forms of resistance and its antidotes.
General Resistance – When we first begin watching our resistance to things in the moment, it may be surprising how much we resist one thing or another. We have a lot of ideas about good/bad and right/wrong. We spend a lot of wasted energy resisting what already is and wishing for something else. We live in distraction rather than actually living what the moment is trying to show us. We must be willing to accept that we don’t really know what is ultimately good/bad or right/wrong. We don’t have to roll over and accept everything, but we must really look at what is just a programmed reaction and what really deserves our energy and attention. It is exhausting to label everything and try to make it all go our way. Our resistance plays a part in this. Acceptance doesn’t bring more of what we think we don’t want, it actually opens up a place to receive more or what we are meant to have. We can know we are meant to experience certain things because we already are experiencing them; we don’t have to wonder if this experience is meant for us because it is already happening. With acceptance of what already is, no experience is wasted. It is a delicate dance. As we let go of all the little resistances we have in general, we can flow more deeply with our true being that allows us to know when something really is or is not right for us. Our general resistance to life can dissolve and then we can learn to trust true resistance in a more meaningful way.
Subtle Resistance – I noticed this one more recently. As our awareness of resistance helps us release it along the way, we can get better at accepting things and letting go of our resistance habits. Even just acknowledging that we are resisting is helpful in the process and will move us along in our practice. Then, we can hopefully open our eyes wider and see the ripples of resistance that are still playing a part in our interactions with life. Sometimes we have this little voice that continues to subtly resist things as we go along. A little nagging thing that says, “that is not right” or “that won’t happen to me” or “I can’t believe they did that.” One particular example springs to mind where I noticed my subtle resistance ripples. Many parents of older children seem to love to compliment my children on their choices/manners/habits and then proceed to tell me, “Just wait until they are older….” and then describe how horrible they will inevitably be when they become teenagers. I noticed myself having this little, “that won’t be us” reaction inside. Silly to give my energy towards resisting what someone else is experiencing or sharing. Who knows what will happen when my kids are older? Why give my energy and peaceful power away in the moment of someone else describing their situation? Resistance shows up in many subtle ways. After I noticed this particular recurring one, I consciously made an effort to allow people’s comments to just flow through me. I chose to truly be there to really hear them and listen with my heart about their situation rather than making it about me and what may or may not happen to my family. I can have an open heart rather than a reaction full of resistance. It is helpful to notice even the subtle ripple of this waste of time and energy response called resistance. We all have these subtle resistance patters happening to show us how to grow further into detachment and acceptance of all that is.
Providing Resistance – You know the saying, “Whatever you resist persists.” Well, it’s true. No exception. If you are resisting something in any situation, it grows in power and presses harder. You literally give the thing you are resisting something to butt up against and push on. If you let things pass through you and have detached acceptance working for you then things can flow through. Parenting offers a lot of opportunities to practice this one. It is always interesting to balance when to let things be and when to step in and handle the thing I think I can’t allow or tolerate. I have seen the magic of not providing that resistance anymore and the situation completely diffusing itself. All of our relationships allow places to practice no longer providing that resistance. Life opens up for us when we no longer resist it.
Avoidance and Numbing Resistance – Sometimes we just don’t want to feel something, don’t want to face something and/or don’t want to deal with something. We use all kinds of distraction methods to avoid actually experiencing the things we are meant to. If we are honest with ourselves, we know what methods we are using and we can see how it would feel to just drop the distractions and experience what is waiting for us in the magic of the moment. Maybe we don’t need the television on, maybe we don’t need to surf the internet or waste time on our smart phones, maybe we don’t need that cocktail to relax us, maybe we’re not really hungry and don’t need that snack, maybe we don’t need all those busy plans that keep us from going deeper inside to open to more of life. We know when we are avoiding and numbing out rather than pushing through and fearlessly experiencing life found in the precious present moment. The moment is Life. We can handle whatever form it comes in by grounding ourselves in the moment rather than in distraction and avoidance.
Past and Future Resistance – Often, we see someone or experience something through the veil of the past or worry about the future. We may see someone we have not had a “good” experience with in the past, and we only interact with them from the perception of the past. The person in front of us is completely different from the last time we saw them and so are we. If we remain stuck in past experience of them, we are not in the moment and we are using past experiences to resist what may be available to us in the present moment. Instead of living with an open heart in the moment, we are closing the door to the experience that was meant for us. The encounter with the very same person may be quite lovely if we can see them with fresh loving eyes that have only the present moment in mind. The same thing goes for future worry. We may be resisting what is happening in the moment because we fear what it will cause in the future. But, we are not really experiencing the moment if we are caught up in the future. We must stay right where we are at and allow all that is meant to happen in the exact moment we are in. The “future” will only come in the form of another moment. We can handle all of them as they come.
Creative Resistance – As we continue our practice of letting go of our resistance to life and opening up to the moment, we can observe and understand our resistance in a more meaningful way. We are all here to do something and we are all co-creators in this life. The more we get in touch with our truest purpose, the more we must be willing to push through our resistance. We are sure to encounter much resistance as we approach that which we are meant to do. The stakes get higher and fear can take a stronger hold on us as we muster our courage to try. Here are a few favorite quotes on this type of resistance.
“Are you paralyzed with fear? That’s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember one rule of thumb: the more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.” ― Steven Pressfield, The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles
Resistance is experienced as fear; the degree of fear equates to the strength of Resistance. Therefore the more fear we feel about a specific enterprise, the more certain we can be that that enterprise is important to us and to the growth of our soul. That’s why we feel so much Resistance. If it meant nothing to us, there’d be no Resistance.” ― Steven Pressfield, The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles
There is only ever love or fear. Resistance is just another form of fear. Sometimes it’s just general stuff from programmed labels we resist, sometimes subtle ripples persist as we learn to gain more presence, sometimes we let resistance nurture bad habits and sometimes we listen to resistance and realize it is the strongest around things we are truly meant to do. As we become better masters of our own various types of resistance, we will be able to let the waves of fear pass through and turn to love and even push through the important resistance that came to show us we are on the right track. We can listen to the fear and resistance and act from our soul to overcome and pass through to our life’s purpose. We can live each moment in love.
Wishing us all the courage and wisdom to listen to life and let go of resistance. Wishing us the ability to know when to let resistance pass through without giving it our attention and when we should take note and push through it to our higher calling. There is so much waiting for us in the moment. Learning to listen and open with acceptance of with already is is a great way to open the door to the life we are meant to have with all the love we are meant to feel.
Sending you love and joy!