When we encounter something we don’t like, our deeply programmed reaction is to push against it.
For instance, I was expecting to go to lunch with a friend at a good restaurant, and at the last minute, the friend calls to say he can’t make it. My mind would rebel against the idea that this happened:
“I wish he didn’t cancel today!” But they did cancel today.
“I really wanted to eat that great dish for lunch. This should not be happening.” But this is happening.
“I was looking forward to this meeting! I can’t believe they canceled on me.” What is not to believe about it? They did cancel the meeting today!
This kind of thinking is happening in the mind because of resistance – non-acceptance of what just happened. In this way, we burn a ton of our energy in a constant web of resistance — if we pause to look within, we can find all sorts of things we are resisting all the time.
Resistance is always of the form “this should not be”.
Resistance is a sign of attachment to something, from which rises the judgment and thinking of the form “this should not be”.
Resistance is pushing against the flow of life. It is tiring. It is weary.
Resistance is your argument with life. Resistance is saying that you know more about how life should unfold, than the force that is behind life’s flow.
Seen this way, it should be a bit more clear, why resistance is not a solution to anything in life, and why resistance is not productive.
How to let go of resistance? Seems incredibly complex to do that! But it is not as complex as it appears to be.
Consider this. Can you focus your attention on what you do want, instead of squandering attention on what you don’t want?
In my example above, I could choose to set another appointment for that lunch meeting and go ahead with my day. That would be a choice in the direction of what I do want – a meeting with that person in that specific place at another date/time. That would be going with the flow. No resistance.
When you notice that you are pushing against what has happened, when you observe that your mind is thinking along the lines of “this cannot be happening”, “this should not be happening”, you are catching yourself in resistance. Notice keenly that what has happened has happened. No resistance from you can change that.
But this isn’t to say you need to like or condone what happened. Let us be really clear about this.
Say, you witnessed a mugging on the street and you are aghast by it, and your mind is going “this should not be happening”, “this is terrible” … but even so, what happened has happened. The choice you have is whether you are going to be stuck in resistance where your presence and thoughts and actions are useless, OR whether you are going to be part of a solution to go forward.
In the mugging example, maybe you could choose to call 911. Maybe you could shout to get the attention of others. Maybe you can capture a video to hand to the authorities. So many things are possible to choose, which are more useful than thinking “this should not be happening”, “this is so sad”, “our world is crumbling”, “my neighborhood is nasty” etc.
In resistance, you are getting stuck deeper in your personal drama. This will involve your attention being lost in judgments, resentments, grudges, anger, fear, worries, anxieties and such.
Consider this instead. Choose instead to think, say, act along the lines of love, peace, and joy. If you did this, you will always be in the flow.
Not easy always. But it is your choice! To be lost in resistance and be stuck, or to come into the flow and be free!
To drop resistance is to come into the flow. To come into the flow, and to be the flow, you must know who you really are. Find out how to experience your real nature through the book, Awaken: An Experiential Exploration of Enlightenment.
2 thoughts on “How To Let Go Of Resistance”
Thank you for this post, Sundar! “Can you focus your attention on what you do want, instead of squandering attention on what you don’t want?” I shall keep this in my being!
🙏 Simple, yet so easy to overlook, isn’t it!