“No feeling is final.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke
Are you feeling stuck, out of sorts, disconnected? Are you plagued by addiction or gripped by compulsions or fear? If so, it’s a guarantee that you are resisting a part of your experience.
How do I know? Our natural state is this: clear, whole, loving, peaceful, and happy. It is the source of all our desires and the truth that we long for. It is who we are, closer than close.
In our natural state, we open to all experiences equally. We don’t avoid or suppress. When we seem to be out of touch with the essence of ourselves, we must be denying a feeling or allowing ourselves to be derailed by a belief or expectation.
When these experiences are met with love and understanding, our natural state shines through unimpeded.
Our Natural State – No Resistance
Have you ever felt completely at peace? Maybe it happened in the arms of a lover, on a walk in the woods on a bright summer day, or over coffee with a friend. Maybe it occurred when you were a child or yesterday. Maybe, like me, these episodes of deep contentment spring forth from seemingly nowhere.
At moments like these, there is no resistance. Everything is welcomed as it is, without pushing anything away. The war has ended, and you have put down your arms.
Unexamined Experiences – Resistance
But if there is disturbance, if there is an unexamined ripple or wave in the depth of you, then you are resisting. You have come to blows within yourself. A feeling or sensation in your body is appearing, and you are saying, “No!”
It’s a kind of violence. You are fighting reality, evading the present moment, cutting off a tender part of you. You are choosing separation out of fear, while turning away from the possibility of peace.
Some of us live a great portion of our lives in resistance. We are in deep – addicted to substances or work or obsessive thinking. We are afraid to be quiet or alone. We wonder why the same problems keep occurring.
Know How You Resist
We begin to untangle these areas of dissatisfaction by first recognizing how we resist, then gradually meeting the fragments of ourselves we have been avoiding.
So how do you resist?
- Are you defensive, hesitant to take responsibility and admit when you have made a mistake or hurt someone?
- Do you compulsively drink or shop, text or gossip?
- Are you too busy or preoccupied to be present with the people in your life?
- Do you worry, judge,criticize, or blame?
- Do you need to control or be controlled?
- Are you living in a mind filled with harsh and negative thoughts?
Think of yourself as an actor on a stage playing the same role over and over. You know the words and feelings so much by heart that you express them automatically without considering their origin.
But if you look behind these roles and defenses, worlds open up.
What Is Your Backstory?
No child is equipped to deal with strong feelings, and many adults don’t know how to honor the emotional life of their children. When we experience feelings as children, we often don’t have the support or know the tools to process and release them.
The most adaptive response is to send the feelings underground. We push them out of conscious awareness because they are too overwhelming to handle.
And, as a result, we develop strategies to keep them hidden. We spin stories in our minds, try to control the uncontrollable, and engage in unhealthy behaviors, all habits driven by these powerful unconscious feelings.
From Resistance to Peace
The end of resistance is the beginning of healing. Little by little, we turn and directly meet these fragmented parts of ourselves. We let go of the story about our experience, and we welcome in the feelings and physical sensations just as they are.
As psychologist Brené Brown says, we find beauty in our vulnerability. We unearth the source of the problem so it can be met with compassion. We let the unseen be seen, the disenfranchised invited in like a long-lost friend. We bring light to the dark places with so much tenderness.
Over time, we begin to notice that we feel whole, happy, and free. We are less reactive and more available. Moments of peace appear.
Find out how you resist. Let the impact of this resistance land in you, then open into yourself. Welcome every tension and contraction endlessly. Your habits will lose their fuel and begin to dissolve. And you will know yourself as the peace that you are.
Are you aware of how you resist? What happens when you let go of resisting? I’d love to hear…