I encounter resistance on a daily basis, I’m sure you do too! I encounter it from those around me at times, particularly children being asked to hurry up, clean up, get up, … you get the picture! I encounter it from clients at work who present reasons or excuses for their inability to take responsibility for their part in their recovery. Mostly though, I encounter resistance on a pretty constant basis from within myself. I know there are things I need to get done, but I’ll find some way to put them off. I know there are things I should be doing that are good for me, and I have no real reason for not doing them but I put on my invisible defiant hat and don’t do them! Why is that? It seriously does not make sense.
Sometimes we put off doing things we know are good for us because we feel obligated to do things for other people first. Maybe we have to tidy the house, make the lunches, go to work and the list definitely can go on ad infinitum and we neglect the things that will truly nourish us. But these are really just excuses because everything we do is a choice!
For example, it has taken a long time for me to become consistent with my meditation practice. It used to appear in the form of “I’m too tired to do that now”, “I’ll do it later”, “It’s too cold to get out of bed now”, “I just can’t slow myself down enough today”. So how did I overcome that? I stopped thinking about it and just did it. A lot of decisions I make now, I make because it feels right and I don’t give myself the chance to overthink and once the decision has been made, I schedule it in my planner and it’s done!
So what is resistance? In an electrical sense, resistance is the opposition a material has to the flow of electrical current, it can also be the refusal to accept something, or it may refer to the ability to be unaffected by something.
I don’t think we always know the real cause of the resistance, and I don’t feel I always have to know, I just need to recognise that it’s rearing its head again. I can feel it because I am having an internal argument with myself with why I’m not doing something or why I’m not keen accept change. I can visualise it though, and for me it’s like watching a slow flowing drain. The water starts to build up in the base of the shower and around your feet and you know something is not right. It could be soap blocking the drain, it could be hair caught in the trap, perhaps it’s something further along the system. But I visualise myself removing the hair and watching the water flow and rush away down the drain quickly – it’s very satisfying. Sometimes the resistance is very superficial and obvious like the image above of the tape stopping the water flowing! Sometimes the blockage is something deeper, something we can’t see and we may need to call in the plumber to help clear the pipes. It’s the same for us, sometimes we need to seek help outside of ourselves to help clear our flow, and this outside help is really clearing us up on the inside.
I certainly did have resistance to feeling my feelings and this resistance was like a blockage in my spiritual plumbing and was playing havoc with flow in my body. Once I finally acknowledged and accepted that this resistance existed, I was able to let it go. I chose to let go of the resistance, to let go of the struggle and everything started to flow through me once more.
Resistance really stops us moving forward and it’s important to acknowledge and accept that it exists. We can choose to let it go, make decisions to override it and get on with our lives. Resistance presents itself as a flag for further investigation. We can stop and ask ourselves why we feel resistance, and is that resistance reasonable?
Meditation does this for me. I use meditation when I feel I am encountering resistance to moving on with change in my life, I visualise whatever comes to mind as my blockage and I clear it out! Perhaps it’s a boulder stopping a stream flowing, perhaps it’s hair in the drain stopping the water flowing, perhaps it’s a block in the centre-line of my body obstructing flow through myself. Whatever it is on that day, I visualise clearing it out, dissolving it and restoring ease and clarity in my life. Contemplating my resistance in meditation not only resolves the resistance, but it often provides direction for decision making for me.
Can you identify any areas where you have resistance in your life coming from within you. Can you override it with action or meditation? From Grief to Gratitude explores this further.