There are a number of things I am resistant to. I find resistance when I try to write, when I try to make time for singing and when I want to draw. I feel resistance to my intention to buy a set of Legos to play with, a way of getting in touch with my inner child. I also find resistance when I want to walk around naked or masturbate. Yet in every instance I can not find a single good thing about resistance, a single reason why I should listen to it.
For me resistance feels like a holding back, a putting on the brakes. It’s the angel on one shoulder and the demon on the other, each whispering into my ear of what I should or should not do. I think resistance is actually the voice of my parents and those who raised me, my former religion and my society, sourced from the beliefs I have adopted from all of these. In my opinion resistance serves only one useful purpose, and that is it gives you something to run toward.
“But wait!” you say, “You shouldn’t run around naked or masturbate. That’s bad (or wrong, or uncivilized or it just isn’t something anyone should do).” While I can not argue that these behaviors are not seen as being acceptable to do within the general public, I will argue that masturbation or running around naked are not at all bad, or wrong, or anything negative at all. In these instances resistance serves to reinforce fear, guilt and shame. These are devices constructed by man to control man’s behavior.
In an ideal society you would be able to walk around naked and masturbate whenever and wherever you like. You would be able to have sex with any willing partner. And the interesting thing is such a society would not be one long hedonistic orgy, because such things would no longer have any stigma attached to them. Since people would be free to do them, they would not do them very much. Far less than they do them now. Why? Because, as I have said before, resistance makes whatever you are resisting stronger.
You have to get at the root cause of the external symptom. Let’s say that you are very angry with someone, to the point you wish to hit them. If you hit them you are being resistant, and if you resist hitting them you are being resistant. The urge to hit is a symptom caused by fear or hurt. The person you are angry with has hurt you, or you are afraid of loosing your relationship with them.
If you hit them you are denying the healthy expression you need. You have resistance to expressing to them that you are afraid, angry or hurt. If you resist hitting them but say nothing, maybe you just turn and walk away, again you have resistance to expressing to them that you are afraid, angry or hurt. You have to do what you resist, and hitting them is not what you are really resisting. What you are really resisting is expressing yourself to them, typically through communication.
So when it comes to something that would hurt you or another, I am not saying you need to push through your resistance and do it anyway. I am not encouraging you to do anything that would harm you or another person. I am saying that in these cases you have to get down to the root cause and do the thing you are actually resisting. It will likely involve allowing yourself to feel whatever you feel and expressing what you feel. Striking out is not expressing what you feel. It is a symptom resisting what you feel. What you feel and are resisting is the cause, and the course of action is to allow yourself to feel whatever it is you feel.
So if you are about to buy something, do something or go somewhere, and you feel that familiar twinge of resistance, I suggest running straight at it immediately, without hesitation, no matter what it is. Just drop everything and run at it like your life depends on it. Run after it like whatever you are resisting is the most important thing in the world. Because my guess is that whatever you are resisting is extremely important to you.
Susan Jeffers covers this in, “Feel The Fear and Do It Anyway,” in Chapter 9, “Just nod your head and say yes.” The Buddhists teach non-attachment. These are both alternative ways to deal with the same thing. If you stop denying (resisting) your life or any undesirable aspects of it, and instead just nod your head and say yes to it, in that acceptance of it you stop holding yourself back. As long as you resist your life or any undesirable aspects of it you are holding yourself back from changing whatever it is you want to change. As for the Buddhist teachings, if you are attached to something, that means you are attached to a particular outcome, and are resistant to any other. By practicing non-attachment you are essentially practicing non-resistance.
You have to embrace something before you can let it go.
In my case I need to stop being ashamed of being naked or masturbating. I should be able to experience joy in both activities. They should be seen as a blessing, not a curse. And the Legos? My doubt about buying the set I want, the Architectural Set, when I saw the price is precisely why I must buy it. I have denied myself any fun. My inner artist is starving, and I feed the inner artist by honoring my inner child. I see clearly now that my resistance is showing me that buying that set, no matter the price, is exactly what I must do. The thought of being embarrassed to have my parents see me playing with them, building with them, also confirms that I need them.
My parents and others may see it as a waste. But I know better. I know that buying them will open me to more money, will bring me joy, and will help me think about the house of my dreams, how I would like to design and build it. My parents punished me when I was a child. They made me go to sleep in a bed filled with Legos. threatening punishment as I recall if I made any noise. They removed the joy of this from me. They also removed the joy of playing an instrument from me, and they never encouraged my desire to sing or learn music.
I have to right the wrongs of the past and undo the damage that has been done in order to completely heal these wounds. Only when they are fully healed will I find more freedom in creativity, in expressing myself artistically.
What is it that you are resisting? Is there something you have not bought for yourself because it’s silly, it makes no sense, you have bills to pay, etc.? If there is, buy it. Ignore everything else. Your resistance is showing you clearly what you need. You may meet with resistance coming from others to your purchase or chosen course of action. But in some way your life has gone off course, and paying attention to these little indications and signs will get you back on course.
That’s what I think anyway. I will certainly report back here with any developments or progress on my end, once I have purchased the Legos and started playing with them.