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Resistance

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

Excerpts about Resistance

Feeling of Resistance

Resistance. This is even a thicker and a denser sensation than the above. One feels one’s skin thick and dull but not hard, as if it is made out of rubber. This is a sense of boundaries, an identification system, whose function is resisting experience, especially any experience that threatens one’s sense of separateness and individuality. This is the state of the ego individuality in the mode of resistance. In this state one cannot help but resist. Whatever one does, whatever one says, whatever one thinks, is resistance. One is resistance; sometimes students in this state say that they feel like a thick rubber ball, resisting any intrusion.

Hardening Ourselves

Resistance is an active mode of inner coercion that reflects or overlaps with a more passive form of inner manipulation—our defensiveness. As with defense, resistance frequently implies a need to protect ourselves. Sometimes we resist because we don’t like what we are experiencing; we’d prefer something else, so we judge what actually is. Perhaps we are angry at what is happening in us. Or we are tired of it. But much of the time, we resist because we feel we need to protect ourselves. And protection is the basic motivation for putting up inner defenses.
When we perceive a real danger or threat, or when we imagine one, we tend to harden ourselves for self-protection. But by hardening ourselves, we are not only thickening our consciousness, we are also making it stiff and solid, and it becomes impossible to experience that delicacy, that gentleness and intimacy, of being ourselves. That hardening reaction—building a wall of protection and separation—which becomes an impediment against finding where we are, is the ego’s basic mode of defense. Ego is based mainly on defenses—defending itself against dangers—inner and outer, imaginary and real. Ego does not really exist without its defenses.

Not Going Along with the Activity of Saying "No"

Let’s examine closely the process that leads to a state of surrender. If you observe carefully, you will see that you first become aware of the tension. If you pay attention to the tension, you realize that the tension is a resistance, a contraction. When you realize that it’s a contraction which is a resistance, you want to understand the resistance. Then, when you understand what the resistance is about, the activity of resistance ceases. This simply means that you are no longer going along with the activity of saying no. It doesn’t mean that you are saying yes. It just means that you were pushing and now you have stopped pushing. But stopping this activity brings the absence of personality. If the personality stops pushing, it ceases to exist, because the very existence of the personality is a contraction, a pushing. So, when you follow this process, the part of personality which is holding a particular tension will disappear when you see no more reason to push. When you realize that the pushing is useless, you stop doing it. This is still not exactly what is called surrender; it is what is sometimes called letting go. We sometimes think of it as the personality letting go, but even this is not accurate. The personality can’t let go. It just stops pushing. And when it stops pushing, it disappears. There is no person which is letting go of something. There is no entity letting go of another object.

Resistance Against Being With Yourself

When you are resisting, you are basically resisting yourself. It is a kind of self-resistance. Instead of being with yourself, you are resisting being with yourself. Instead of being yourself, you are resisting being yourself. That is what it means to resist our True Nature. The ego experience, which is by its nature not an experience of simply being ourselves, implies resistance to being. The moment we take the posture of ego, of identification with our history, it implies resistance. There is no such thing as ego with no resistance, and the ultimate resistance is the resistance to simply being, the resistance to our True Nature. And that’s because ego is always trying to do one thing or another, and True Nature isn't doing anything. It just is. It is nature. It is luminous presence.

Resistance Against the State of Separation

One of the main causes of the sense of weakness is resistance against the state of separation. For one reason or another the individual defends against the state of separation, and for this he must block the presence of the Strength aspect because it will make him feel separate. But blocking it will feel as loss or absence of Strength. This feeling or state of weakness, resulting from repressing the Strength Essence, makes it impossible for the individual to feel the individuated state of the Personal Essence. In fact, many individuals resist the Strength aspect because they feel unable or unwilling to feel autonomous and individuated. That separation can lead to individuation is very clear in these cases. However, if the conflicts around autonomy are worked through the individual will then allow the Strength Essence. The result will be both strength and autonomy.

Resistance is Futile

When we are pushing against our experience, fighting it off, it doesn't have the opportunity or the space to be itself. And if it doesn't have the chance to be itself, it doesn't have the chance to unfold. And if it doesn't have the chance to unfold, it doesn't have the opportunity to reveal its nature. So it continues to be whatever manifestation initially arose. In other words, resisting something is one good way to preserve it in the form that we experienced it to begin with. We resist, hoping to get rid of it, but what we are actually doing is encapsulating it and keeping it in its original form or expression.
So, as you see, resistance is futile! Everything that initially appears to have its own identity, its own reality, at some point will be absorbed again into the indivisible unity of True Nature.

Resisting Being with Yourself

When you are resisting, you are basically resisting yourself. It is a kind of self-resistance. Instead of being with yourself, you are resisting being with yourself. Instead of being yourself, you are resisting being yourself. That is what it means to resist our True Nature. The ego experience, which is by its nature not an experience of simply being ourselves, implies resistance to being. The moment we take the posture of ego, of identification with our history, it implies resistance. There is no such thing as ego with no resistance, and the ultimate resistance is the resistance to simply being, the resistance to our True Nature. And that’s because ego is always trying to do one thing or another, and True Nature isn’t doing anything. It just is. It is nature. It is luminous presence. The nature of ego itself is an ongoing resistance to what is. Even just manifesting as ego implies that we are resisting our nature, because if we didn’t resist our nature we would instantly be our nature. So, the fact that we are not experiencing ourselves as our True Nature, the fact that we are not this spacious presence, implies resistance. The resistance can be quite subtle, and of course, there are many reasons for it. It might be that we don’t believe that we are our True Nature. We believe instead that who we are is the one who is resisting, and we are attempting to preserve our identity. It might be that allowing ourselves to feel our True Nature would threaten us too much by bringing all kinds of vulnerabilities, fears, or insecurities into the open. In fact, truly being is a kind of death. I talk about things such as resistance and how to be allowing, but to really be without resistance means ego death, ultimately.

Resisting Part of Your Experience

Fear and hope underlie the defensive mechanisms in the personality, the repression and resistance. What is resistance but resisting part of your experience? Resistance is ultimately rejection of something that you are experiencing. Resistance or defense is basically a rejection of part of you. Part of you is setting itself against another part and saying, “No, I don’t want that.” This attitude by itself creates division, conflict, and disharmony.

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