WHAT IS RESISTANCE?
Resistance could be thought of as a defensive mechanism which we use for preservation of our self concept.
To simplify, we resist anything we consider to be painful or otherwise incompatible with our image of ourselves.
As a result, we resist: thoughts, emotions, life circumstances, change, insecurity and much more.
In a nutshell, we are in continual resistance to the present moment.
Let that sink in. I’ll wait.
Resistance is in direct opposition to acceptance because to resist something means to go against it.
Resistance is in direct opposition to reality because you cannot resist something which doesn’t already exist.
Therefore, to resist something you have to be in denial of that which you resist.
Evenmore, resistance is in direct opposition to life itself, because the whole universe is in constant state of allowance.
Earth doesn’t resist it’s perpetual circular motion which binds it to our sun. Grass doesn’t resist it’s natural way of growth. An apple tree neither resists producing apples, nor does it resist being carried back and forth by the wind. An animal doesn’t resist being in a fearful state if fear is to arise and – more importantly – it doesn’t resist it’s own spontaneity.
WHAT CREATES RESISTANCE ?
To put it bluntly, resistance is a learnt behaviour which arose as a byproduct of socialization. More specifically, resistance has it’s roots in early childhood.
As children, we very soon find out that certain aspects of ourselves are expected to be expressed, while others to be repressed. We are unknowingly introduced to the workings of shadow, which consists of aspects of self to which there is an underlying resistance. Since resistance is integrated into our behaviour at young age, most parts of the shadow descend into the subconsciousness and become repressed also. This manifests in an adult as a tendency to be in an unconscious resistance to something.
In other words, you persistently and impulsively resist to something without even realizing it. And the main reason for you staying in this position is simply that you are unaware of anything beyond that which you know. You couldn’t identify the behaviour as unconscious since it is unconscious from your point of view, and therefore the behaviour itself can’t be looked at.
So the real question is, how to bring unconsciousness to consciousness and absolve the resistance between you and your shadow – because it is precisely the shadow part of ourselves that is responsible for the majority of resistance.
HOW DOES RESISTANCE MANIFEST?
Resistance manifests through our thoughts and our physiology.
We harbour thoughts that are a direct reflection of how we feel ourselves to be. If our shadow is pretty small it won’t cause much trouble, it will be more like that annoying mosquito at night. But,however, if it’s a big, heavy shadow, you don’t get to feel yourself to be self-reliant, worthy of love or whatever else the subconscious mind tells you. And what majorly dictates how we feel ourselves to be is our perception of reality which encapsulates both the perception we have of ourselves, and our perception of the outside world.
After all, we cannot define ourselves as something unless that something exists in relationship to something else. You cannot feel yourself to be “smart” without comparing yourself to something “stupid”. Likewise,you cannot feel yourself to be “strong” unless you know someone whom you perceive to be “weak”, and you cannot define yourself as “hateful” if there are no loving people around.
So then, our thinking is colored by our perception of reality – and most of our perceptions are born out of our subconscious mind. It is said that more than 90% of our minds are really governed by our subconsciousness. We are unaware of how we really perceive the world, and why we perceive it the way we do.
This state of not knowing we may call ignorance since we are in an unconscious relationship with ourselves.
This unconscious relationship is reflected also in our physiology because how we feel ourselves to be always impacts our bodies in a variety of different ways. For instance, some people have their chest muscles slightly contracted because they have shut down their hearts – both metaphorically and from a bioenergetic point of view. Physiological resistance may manifest also as a retracted pelvis in case of a woman who is sexually repressed, a prolonged neck in a man who’s oral needs haven’t been meet, or as a general stiffness in a person who is afraid to express their vulnerability.
These few examples are just to show how we are unaware of resistance since it comes so naturally to us. Muscle contractions are exactly what drains most of our energy because our whole bodies, essentially, are in a constant state of contraction. People walk around, unaware of how their contracted muscles reduce their breathing capacity and flow of energy in the body, and alter their thought patterns.
RESISTANCE MEANS WE ARE OUT OF ALIGNMENT WITH OUR SPONTANEITY
When we are out of alignment with our spontaneity, and this is exactly what resistance is about, we are unable to perform at our highest efficiency. These bodily contractions actually give rise to an overall discomforting feeling in our bodies – and that in itself is a valid root of our general feeling of anxiety. This state of being in a restricted body flows not only into our thinking, but also our emotions.
Emotions are not fluidly expressed, there is a general tendency to hold certain emotions for oneself, and to only expose to the world those emotions which are found to be plausible and worth of showing. We are very selective of what we present to the world.
In other words, we are unable to be truly ourselves, because we are afraid to express ourselves wholley – to express our shadow.
RELEASE RESISTANCE IN YOUR BODY
BIOENERGETIC RELEASE / DYNAMIC MEDITATION
For breaking resistance points in our bodies it is sometimes necessary to engage in some serious movement. And perhaps not even serious movement, but honest and congruent movement. Shake the resistance out of your body, and do it literally. Become so involved in movement that you become it. Loose yourself in the intensity of energetic shaking, jumping and inconsistent, random movement.
This, of course, makes you look like an absolute fool – a savage even – but the point of this exercise is exactly to release control and give it away to spontaneity. The exercise is not concerned with aesthetics of movement, but is intended to make you realize that the shere act of surrendering yourself is going to put you in control. So it is only when you release control, that you actually gain control. And although this is sort of contradictory, but the control you gain is a different kind of control, and it has nothing to do with being in conscious control of your body – which in itself is a kind of resistance – and it has everything to do with allowing your spontaneity to arise through you.
If you do lose yourself in the movement and become, so to speak, one with it, you will notice that gradually certain resistances in the body start disappearing, and you will know this because your body will feel much lighter and more integrated afterwards. Bioenergetic release will also affect your mind to be more stable and integrated as well, as the body-mind connection is clearly visible through all our states of being.
VIPASSANA MEDITATION / OBSERVING YOUR BODY
Breaking resistances in our bodies can also be approached silently. Vipassana is a Pali sanskrit word which can be translated into “clear seeing”. And what clear seeing implies is seeing in the absence of mental interpretations and imagery.
Observing your body – from head to toe – without ascribing any meanings to what you are doing. If you do this exercise correctly, your body should be in a completely relaxed state. If you continue to experience resistance, persist to stay with it and observe it. This will resolve many resistances as you hold your attention on various parts of the body. Furthermore, it will help retrain your attention to, after some time, automatically recognize resistances in the body as they arise in the moment. So, simple being with your bodily sensations will help resolve many resistances.
RELEASE RESISTANCE IN YOUR MIND
Learn to approach your thoughts in a different way and put yourself in a position of observing thoughts. We could argue that all resistance actually exists because of our identification with thinking. We think that we produce our own thoughts, but as we previously mentioned, our perceptions are mostly built upon subconsciousness, and therefore we are not our thoughts nor are we their deliberate creators.
This isn’t to say that you cannot think for yourself or engage in some sort of activity that requires thinking, but most of our thought processes are comprised of what our subconsciousness sends out. Because of this, we ought to disidentify from our thinking – and this simply means that we have to stop seeing ourselves in our thoughts. So don’t take anything personally, not even your thoughts.
Many times, the resistance is about the resistance itself.
For instance, you feel shame arising in your body and you simultaneously feel resistance to the feeling of shame. This resistance manifests as a feeling of anxiety in your body, and you go on to mentally fight the anxiety in some way – internally knowing that you resisted the initial feeling of shame. So how do you release resistance to resistance?
The simple answer is, you don’t. Instead of trying to release resistance to resistance itself, you don’t do anything. You just stop trying. Because to have resistance to resistance means you are conscious of your resistance. This, in itself, is enough – to shed light on your shadow.
This doesn’t mean that the resistance will be gone as soon as you recognize it, but ultimately you don’t have to care. Because if you accept resistance, there is no possibility for a resistance (mind) to resistance (anxiety) situation. So all you need to do is accept the resistance when it is present and try not to suppress it, deny it, overcome it, or anything of that nature. Observe your mind swirling around, but strive to remain detached from the content of your thinking as having something to do with you, in particular.
What should fundamentally be recognized is that resistance is futile. Resistance has no real use because it is used to protect the self concept by the self concept itself. More accurately, it is you who is believing in the self-concept and naturally you are inclined to protect it. So instead of protecting it, or trying not to protect it, accept what comes your way, or from another perspective, accept what comes from your way.