Exploring Our Resistance

We sometimes have a difficult time accepting people, situations and aspects of ourselves the way they are.

Resisting reality has a certain quality that feels uncomfortable. I have the image of a child pushing against a wall to make it move or banging her fists on the table, “I want ice cream NOW”. Imagine the frustration, the helplessness, the torture of wanting something that is not possible.

One would hope that caregivers would help the child in this difficult place, without either neglecting to hear her feelings or giving in to her cries for ice cream. Helping to train our children’s bodies and minds to live with less than perfect reality is one of the best gifts we could offer them. Learning to know when to push for something we want and when to let go is a skill that benefits us greatly.

When you encounter resistance, what do you do? Do you recognize it? Notice it? I know that I often do not notice that what I’m experiencing is a form of resistance. All that I may be aware of is that I don’t feel like doing something or talking to someone. I may feel frustrated about a situation or angry that I have to do something I dislike.

Let’s explore this: First see if you can put yourself in the mind and body of the child I just talked about and notice your feelings and body sensations. Notice as you struggle to push against that wall, hoping it will budge. Watch yourself as you get whiny and then loud as you desperately long for ice cream.

Take a moment to PAUSE and notice any one thing that you may be struggling with or something you are not at ease with in your life.

This could be you:
-“My teenaged child is acting out and I hate it”
-“I want my partner to want to spend more time with me”
-“I wish I did not have to work for a living”
-“I keep declining invitations to parties even though it would benefit my business if I were to go”

See if you can ease into the experience of that struggle. Notice it in a non-judgmental way. Allow the feelings to surface. See if you can describe those sensations in your body. What is it that you are having a hard time with? What’s underlying your wanting this reality to be different from the way it is?

The real reason for our difficulty in accepting something in or around us often lies hidden until we’re ready to open up and listen with a curiosity that is non-judgmental and caring. It could be that we are overworked, or feeling responsible or worried, maybe a need to feel acceptance and affection, or the discomfort of depriving ourselves of our desires and preferences.

After we discover the REAL cause of our resistance, the fear, the need, the desire; we can then be with those places in us as we would with a friend who may be grieving over a failed exam, a lost pet or the loss of a relationship.

“Yes, I know how much that meant to you”
“I know how hard it is to let go of that wish”
“I feel how scary that is for you”
“I do know what it’s like to long to feel loved”

When these places in us feel heard, they help us face difficult realities more easily. Resistances transform into forward movement.

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