July 14, 2022


Resistance. Killer of dreams and aspirations. An invisible yet destructive force. Cunning and a master manipulator. Best friends to doubt, fear and guilt. When one begins to accept resistance for what it is, one can use resistance as a form of directional guide, understanding that resistance is strongest in areas in which we know we need to address. If one refuses to acknowledge resistance, it will continue to lead to destructive patterns and inevitably result in a life of guilt, fear, and never-ending doubt.

Is there something that you have wanted to do for a while but still haven’t done? Why haven’t you done it? Maybe we tell ourselves we don’t have enough time, enough resources, or enough motivation. Maybe we convince ourselves we will do it tomorrow, or the next day or once we figure out this or that. Maybe it was because of something that happened in the past that prevents us from doing something now. Maybe instead of focusing on the step at hand, we obsess over a future step that may or may not even come to fruition. Maybe we have a sickness, disability or impairment. Maybe we pretend that we don’t care.

What gives someone the right to speak on resistance? Does one need to go to school for psychology, or get a PHD on the neurochemistry of the brain in order for their views to hold any validity? Or can someone simply observe resistance within his or her own being and understand from that perspective.

If one is able to observe within oneself the patterns and habitual tendencies of resistance, one does not need any external ‘information’ to understand resistance. One can understand resistance by simply becoming aware of how it operates within themselves. This is only possible if one can be completely honest with themselves. Being able to detach themselves from their egoic identity and see things for what they really are.

Let’s say one day you sit there and you really contemplate all of the things you have wanted to do but have not done. Maybe it was something that you had deliberated for years. Maybe it was to learn an instrument, or to run a marathon, or to write a book, or to learn a new skill or whatever. These are all practical things that could bring one a sense of enjoyment or pleasure. We have something in mind that we would like to spend our time doing that we think might bring pleasure, fulfillment, and maybe a sense of purpose. But then we don’t follow through with it. Why?

One of the answers lies rooted in time. We think we have time. Especially when we are young. There always seems to be a tomorrow. And so we become more concerned with tomorrow than we do today. We inherently know that a fundamental change in how we see the world is needed, but we always seem to put it off. It’s easy to say that once the circumstances are right, we will pursue our goals.

But as the nature of life is to be constantly changing, the ideal situation for us to pursue a goal can never exist for very long. Challenges will always present themselves regardless of how long we wait and how much we try to control external circumstances. Therefore, it can never be the situation itself that will be the key to reaching our goals but rather how we respond to challenging situations.

We have been taught through institutional education and from our workplace to be analytic thinkers. Being a prudent student or employee, we should carefully consider all of the different potential outcomes and variables in order to make a decision. We also must consider all of the things that could go wrong. There is a place for this type of critical thinking but we have adopted this way of decision making into our everyday lives as well. And so now for even the smallest of decisions, we have been programmed to analyze situations with a fine toothcomb and to consider all potential obstacles, variables and outcomes.

The problem that arises is that there is no real end to the analysis that could be done. We can stick ourselves in a hamster cage, where we really aren’t going anywhere. We have paralyzed ourselves and have forfeited the spontaneity that is aligned with our inner being.

The true human being can work on both levels – utilizing both analysis but also understanding that analysis has its limits. And sometimes a spontaneous decision, in which analysis can actually be a hindrance, is the way to proceed.

An interesting phenomenon is when the resistance has a physical equivalent within the body. When your life block manifests also as a bodily block. When it comes to a backache, or a stomachache or other sorts of tension and a hundred different ailments, we usually look to others for the answer and a treatment. We refuse to acknowledge that the way we are living is contributing to our illness. But an interesting experiment is when you do feel this bodily tension or ailment intensify, observe whether it is accompanied with a thought pattern. Maybe you will and maybe you won’t. But it is an interesting experiment to see whether a habitual set of thought patterns reflects a chronic bodily feeling as well. And then as one dissolves, the other will naturally dissolve as well. Again, it can just be an experiment to see if this has any reality in your life.

Resistance of course, can manifest itself in several different forms. It can come in the form of excuses, distractions, self-talk, lethargy, indifference and a hundred different words. But what do all these things have in common.

They are self-created. We know we are our biggest problem. We stop ourselves from our evolution.

In the end, resistance is just a word. The actual realization comes when you begin to experience resistance first hand. When you can experience it as it is happening. When you tell yourself you are going to do this or that and then you end up not doing it. And there are moments, when you become aware of the self-talk in your head that is the cause of you not doing what you set out to do. The self talk that is the best at making excuses and the worst at getting things done. That is resistance.

Michael Bains

Currently 32, he lives in the Yaletown district of Vancouver. He enjoys staying physically active and is an avid reader and writer. Hooped is his first published novel.

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