Resist or let go?

Resistance, tensing up, saying “no” to what is or “no” to what is unfolding in the present moment.  We do it all the time when we don’t like, can’t deal or don’t want to face what is happening now.   I’m sure you know what I mean.

Sometimes we don’t know we are resisting but checking in with the body can reveal that tension is building. I guarantee it is playing out somewhere in your body.   Is the jaw or shoulders tight or painful?    How about your abdominal muscles or low back?   These are some very popular places where the body holds or braces itself against something undesirable.

We are taught that feeling good is more desirable than feeling bad but lets face it that isn’t how life works.  Everything will come at you; the good, the bad and the ugly and our job is to stay as clear as we can in the midst of it all.  

It’s good to keep in mind that resistance doesn’t actually do anything in the world. It doesn’t actually stop anything from happening.  What it does do is cause suffering.  The present moment will persist whether or not we resist it or flow with it. 

I love the spiritual teacher Michael Singer who wrote the book The Untethered Soul.  In it he says that you can become adept at noticing when the process of resistance kicks in.  He says, when you feel the body tense up make a conscious attempt to relax it.  Take a breath and let go and allow all the feelings to move through you.  When you do this the energy doesn’t build up in the body and cause physical or emotional suffering.  When you allow it you express it and feel it fully.  Then when it’s done it’s done instead of adding to the accumulated energy you are releasing it.  

Here is a quote from the The Untethered Soul:

“The Stuff that holds you down periodically rears its head.  When it does, let it go.  You simply permit the pain to come up into your heart and pass through.   If you do that, it will pass.  If you are sincerely seeing truth, you’ll let go every time.  This is the beginning and the end of the entire path – you surrender yourself to the process of emptying yourself.   When you work with this, you start to learn the subtler laws of the process of letting go.”

The part that takes some practice is noticing when you are beginning to resist because often we are caught in habitual behavior and initially it’s easy to miss.    Gradually you begin the process of freeing yourself and after a while you’ll notice that the body isn’t holding in the same old ways. 

What isn’t talked about a lot is that our accumulated baggage can weigh us down so much that we can’t see the world as it is, rather, we see the world as we are.  This can be a problem when life throws you a curve ball or tests come your way.   When you are consciously letting go you will just feel better in every way.   Just a small bonus for all your time and attention!  

The old saying what you resists persists should really say what you resist causes suffering in your body and mind…but it doesn’t have to!


What you Resist Persists

What to do with strong emotions and feelings that feel like they take you over and disrupt your peace?

Our instinctual response is to try to get the uncomfortable feeling to go away or stop as soon as possible.  We try to push them away, suppress and otherwise distract ourselves from our feelings. Addictions of all kinds are also often connected to suppression of feelings. 

This approach actually works in the opposite way in which it is intended.  Our feelings seem to intensify and gain strength when they are resisted  because they are fueled by the very energy we use to resist them.  In case you haven’t noticed it takes a lot to hold back a strong feeling that is trying to arise.

Instead try something a little different and allow the feelings to be there and even invite them to wash over you and to fully feel them.  They really can’t hurt you.  They can be uncomfortable but they do more harm when they are suppressed and not allowed to come up and be fully felt. In fact it is well known that ongoing suppression can be a very unhealthy way to live effecting us emotionally first and then if that outlet is shut down it can manifest as an array of physical symptoms from back pain to headaches.  Of course, not everyone is effected the same way but you can be sure if you are holding something in you are paying some price either energetically, physically or emotionally.   

Many times I hear people saying they are afraid of what will come out if they really let it be there.  Do not believe this thought it is meant to keep you stuck and unable to move forward.  The ego and mind simply wants to maintain the status quo and help you to survive and if that means staying stuck forever than so be it.  Fortunately these feelings will persist until felt and understood or until whatever needs to be learned is learned.  So if something is to scary  then I recommend that you seek help so that you can finally fully witness and allow these feelings to move all the way through you.  This will free you and energize you to move forward in your life.

“If you want to be free of energies, you must allow them to pass though you instead of hiding them inside”

-Michael Singer                                                                                                                                                –  from the book “The Untethered Soul”