Exploring Resistance

I find I’m still thinking a lot about resistance, in particular the resistance that comes when I’m drawn instinctively towards something but my logical mind says no.

The Western mind is trained from early age to ignore the call of instinct and follow the call of logic, mine as much as anybody’s.

I know that, I understand it and I make a conscious effort to step to the side of that training – that’s where the “How Interesting!” practice comes in so handy, because it allows you to examine both the instinctive and the learned response.

And yet despite that it can still be very difficult to put aside that need for logic and reason. And maybe that’s the problem?

In the act of putting it aside, we are in effect trying to pretend it’s not there – we’re saying to it

“Move along now, you’re in the way and you’re not needed here.”

or worse

“Look stop it, you’re being a complete pain and I don’t want you. Go and bother someone else.”

I’ve written before about how all that does is make it get even louder and angrier and so I was wondering today about what might happen if I were to simply sit down next to it and really see it, to try to understand it on its own terms.

There is a particular Something that I’m currently doing a dance with – I’m intrigued and then resistant, intrigued and then resistant. I feel that I’m getting lots of pushes towards this Something and what it holds for me but every time I get to the point of wanting to explore it,  my resistance kicks back in to belittle the idea.

If I sit with my resistance, what do I notice?

I notice that it’s shivering with fear. I notice that although it sounds very strong and loud it’s actually very small and curled up in a ball, too terrified to look properly at what it’s trying to stop me from doing.

If I pick it up and stroke it, and gently persuade it to unroll itself and look at me, I see its huge dark eyes filled with terror. It’s absolutely terrified for me and wants to keep me safe, and the only way it knows to do that is to keep me right here, in this place, and not let me explore.

But I can see what it can’t. I can see the whole wonderful world of possibilities and lights shining all around us, and if I can just get my resistance to look into my eyes, I know that it will start to see the reflections of those possibilities, and it will gradually discover the courage to start to look around on its own.

Then it will be ready to sit in my hand as we stride out together, serving its real purpose which is to point out potential pitfalls and make sure I stop to rest and nurture myself along the way.

Next time you meet your own resistance, try sitting down with it and really noticing it.

What does your resistance look like?

What is it trying to do for you?

And how can you tame it?

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