When Resistance Wears You Down

Long ago I heard that over time meditation wears away all resistance. Soon enough, I’d be free of resistance and its corrosive effects on spiritual progress, I thought. Unfortunately, I’ve discovered over time a greater capacity for resistance to resistance, or new and stronger justifications for my resistance. Like mind’s thoughts, resistance didn’t fade away into an enlightened, sustainable field of nothingness. Blame it on DNA or ego’s identification and infatuation with story.  

Resistance shows up loudly in quiet places like meditation. We can’t escape it. Inquiring what it is or what it wants may be more useful than asking why it’s here. The answers are not so complex.  If you were to write down your resistances, they might be like mine: I don’t like change, it’s too hard, I’m lazy, I’m afraid, I don’t take chances, it’s because of my upbringing, etc. But all these “reasons” or “excuses” are created by the mind and take us to an old, familiar place rather than to the transcendent promise of a new story. 

So what are we to do? Feel the presence of resistance as a physical sensation, such as a tightening in the throat or clench in the jaw. And then just when you’ve had enough, let resistance go. Dissolve its stranglehold and robust persistence. You might have to create counter resistance. Don’t want to job search? Call someone you’ve resisted calling. Housecleaning instead of finishing a deadline? Don’t. Get out of the house or try this contemplation and put resistance in its proper place:

1.Breathe in and out deeply with eyes closed for 6 or 7 rounds. Observe thoughts that come and take you away from experiencing the perfection of the moment.

2.Give your thoughts some space to tell their stories of fear, anger, distress, worry, etc. Clue: They often contain a “should” or “didn’t.” Accept them without judgment. However, once thoughts shape shift into a familiar story of doom or failure, release them. Tell them they aren’t real or welcome in this moment.

3. Counter these thoughts with better ones. Be as concrete or abstract as you like. For example, replace “I have writer’s block” with “I am writing two sentences now.”

“My family always picks on me” with “I choose to protect myself from criticism.”

4. Release any thoughts at all by looking inward and above at the vast space of limitless sky, what mystics and sages call “ein sof,” infinity, or higher consciousness.

5. Allow the space of higher consciousness to exist alongside resistance and its never-ending supply of thoughts and admonishments.

Don’t resist resistance. 

Recommended reading: “Hidden Treasure: Uncovering the Truth in Your Life Story” by Gangaji; “Radical Acceptance” by Tara Broch.

 

 

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About sheilaklewis

As a writing coach, meditation teacher, writer, and academic tutor, I'm passionate about words and the silent spaces between words. In this context, I run book clubs and writers' groups where the resonance of carefully crafted words can spark readers and writers to share their own stories. Connecting through conversation; making memories matter; embracing editing and revision, and imaginative wordplay are some solo and collective outcomes. I came to what I call my "Meditate Write Now" practice after years of art-making, writing grants, curriculum, children's stories, and more. Meditation kept my mind from meandering too far off point and also led me to write from the still point within. May our paths cross in creative journeys across time and internet connections! Other details: My husband and I are the parents of two amazing sons and one daughter-in-law, and smitten grandparents of Micah (born December, 2013). I don't drive, and have lived in the same apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, for too long.
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2 Responses to When Resistance Wears You Down

  1. Pingback: When Resistance Wears You Down | sheilaklewis

  2. Garrett says:

    Reblogged this on Greetings from my world to yours =) and commented:
    i’m totally aligned with this post!

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