What is Resistance?
Last month I was on my way back to Scotland when I arrived at the airport only to find that my flight was canceled due to weather. I took this information in stride since I’ve hardly had cancellations in all my travels, so this didn’t push any buttons, yet. The nice lady at the ticket counter booked me on a flight that left three hours later. I was all smiles. Barely an hour had passed as I waited for my new flight when it, too, was canceled due to weather. With this news, I was slightly frustrated but was quickly rebooked on a flight leaving the next day. I headed home to sleep so I could get up and go back to the airport in the morning.
The film Groundhog Day (Columbia Pictures, 1993) crossed my mind as I arrived at the airport the next day. Within 15 minutes of checking in, my new flight was canceled, again, due to weather. In fact, all flights were canceled for the remainder of the day. I began feeling like I was never going to get on that plane. The stress was piling up. My patience was wearing thin. I wanted to get to Scotland in time for New Year’s Eve. I had already lost two days with all of the weather issues. I only had one to spare and at this rate, I wasn’t certain to make it. With this deadline now threatened, my emotions kicked into high gear. I felt frustrated, harassed, and a little defeated. In fact, I even fought back some tears over the whole thing. I was resisting what was happening.
Many of us experience similar thoughts and emotions when things don’t go our way. In fact, we often decide how things need to look for us to be happy. When things don’t work out based on our ideas or expectations, we react, and sometimes in a not-so-nice way. Our reaction is our resistance to what is and that reaction causes us lots of pain and suffering.
The resistance to what is means that we fight the natural progression of life. In a world that is heavy on mind and light on intuition, we often see life as chaotic rather than perfectly ordered. From this mind perspective, insecurity is rampant. To attempt to feel more secure, we make up scenarios in our mind about how life should go. When life follows these preconceived notions or beliefs, we are happy because we feel in control. When it doesn’t go our way, we get stressed out, angry, and frustrated—certainly a more painful and difficult life experience.
Why was I resisting what was happening? Well, I can think of a lot of reasons (think being the key word). For instance, I had made the effort to prepare for the trip and to get rides to and from the airport—four times in two days. All that work and no reward. It was frustrating to me. Perhaps this was pushing my perfection buttons, too—I couldn’t be perfect in this situation because I couldn’t get off the ground. Additionally, I didn’t want to disappoint my Scottish family by not making it for New Year’s Eve. This was directly tied to my need to please, which was directly tied to my belief of inadequacy. With these stories running through my mind, I was going to be unhappy and suffer from the situation. I needed to break free.
To enjoy the entire experience, I had to see that I was creating stories about an event that was, in fact, neutral. It wasn’t happening in my favor and it wasn’t happening against me. It was just happening. The truth is, it was my own beliefs about myself that ultimately caused my unhappiness, not the delays. A neutral situation tainted by inadequacy certainly looks different than it really is.
Most of us see people, places, and situations as we are rather than seeing them as they truly are. As we carry a belief that we are inadequate, or not good enough, it is easy to imagine the amount of unhappiness such a filter causes in our lives, and it often does. But we can change this with awareness—we can change the filter by removing it completely. This is where healing, and real happiness, occur.
Moving Beyond Resistance
I said above that we often resist what is happening in life because life doesn’t match our ideas of how it should or shouldn’t be. But these ideas are fragile at best since they are based on highly limiting, trained concepts, roles, and mind-made identities. These manufactured ideas become our beliefs, but these beliefs are outside the realm of reality as they are outside the realm of love and, therefore, when we use them to navigate life, we feel out of control. This is why many of us react to people and situations that exist outside of our made-up beliefs, as we find it difficult to accept/allow anything we don’t know about, is different from us, or is something we don’t approve of—as if we are the supreme ruler of all lives and situations on the planet. Anything that doesn’t fit within the confines of our preconceived ideas is something we resist.
Energetically speaking, resistance is defined as a measure of how much an object opposes the pass of electrons—Ohm’s Law. Humans are, at our most basic and truest form, energy in motion. So, if we apply this energetic definition to our lives, we can say that we resist people and situations when we oppose the flow of them. Resistance shows up as unhappiness, dislike, hate, anger, frustration, belittling or demeaning, and even all-out war.
The reaction that arises based on the resistance is most often out of proportion to the person or situation. But even more than that, it is out of balance with the natural flow of life. This is why resistance is so painful for us, emotionally and physically. It is much easier to go with the flow.
How do we go with the flow? Below are some ways to give yourself the key to get out of your own mind-made prison and go with the flow. When we no longer believe that life looks just one way—our way—we can truly enjoy life with all of its different people and situations.
5 Ways to Break Free
- An open heart. Less thinking and more loving. That is all that is needed to solve every issue and to connect with every person and situation on the planet. Love is so simple and yet so very powerful. Next time you are thinking about how frustrating someone is, see if you can drop your focus 18 inches from your mind to your heart center and feel the love for this person instead of frustration. You will both benefit from this short, but massive shift in perspective.
- An open mind. If you have an open heart, you automatically have an open mind. An open mind is one without boundaries, expectations, and limitations. This gives you the opportunity to see the world as it truly is, also giving you the opportunity to enjoy it instead of fighting it. To open your mind, practice following your heart.
- Acceptance. When we accept how people are and how things happen, we are free from the pain and suffering that resistance brings us. This doesn’t mean you allow another person to physically or emotionally abuse you. But it does mean that you accept what is happening and make the necessary changes within yourself. No one ever changed another person or has a changed a situation that has already happened. Let go of expending energy in this way. It is nothing more than a distraction to the truth—that all is divine and each one of us is part of that divinity, as are all situations.
- Let go of control. All control is an illusion, especially when it is applied to the past and the future, neither of which are real. The deep truth is, and this can make some people a little uneasy, everything is happening just as your soul planned it to happen. So, sit back, relax, and don’t take it all too seriously. Allow life to flow. Everyone is okay just as they are and everything is happening just as it is supposed to happen. Everything is divine and all is meant to bring us back to love.
- Breathe. When we are angry, frustrated, or unhappy, we don’t breathe normally and in a healthy way. If you take a few deep breaths when you feel this way, peace and calm resume and we have an easier time letting go of the preconceived belief that caused our reaction and resistance. Healing and truth automatically arise.
We can unlearn any training that keeps us locked in mind-created prisons. The one thing that sets us free? Love, which is the same as truth. From this perspective, we can see the beauty in situations, even the most challenging ones. We can also see how wonderful people really are instead of seeing them through the distortion of trained beliefs. Both help us to enjoy life more and experience love more. We deserve nothing less.
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