Playing the Resistance Game

We’ve all probably heard the phrase “what you resist persists.” Life is really a resistance game. We learn what we are resisting, why we are resisting, and move into and through our resistance by non-resistance.

The “smart” way to play this resistance game is by not resisting that which we oppose. For every force, there is an equal and opposite force or so physics teachers try to teach us in school. There is therefore an effect when we resist. As Albert Einstein so wisely said, the solution does not lie on the same consciousness level of the problem. So what’s the point of resisting?

The thing is we all resist and it takes a lot of energy to resist. Let’s start with this example. Whenever someone is told not to think about an elephant, the only thing they can think about is an elephant. Research like what Harvard University psychologist Daniel Wegner has done shows that trying not to think about something means we will be thinking about it. A part of us is on guard for the unwanted thought which then activates that thought.

This thought can be of a cheesecake when you are on a diet. Or about that guy who cut you off in line. Maybe you think you must eliminate all thought in meditation therefore you resist thinking. You’ve probably experienced what happens when you try to suppress and resist. Whatever it is comes back many folds stronger.

Who are we but the stories we tell ourselves…about ourselves…

Scott Turrow, American author

Thoughts have power and what we resist persists. This shows up in people, ideas, and circumstances. What we resist changing, underneath is a belief. The belief may have been formed before our rational mind did, when we were maybe two or three years old. We are not aware of these beliefs and we may not even want these things on a conscious level.

Here’s what is important to realize – we don’t want to let go of what we believe. We are the stories we tell ourselves. That’s where the resistance stems from.

Being honest about this with ourselves means we can stop dancing around. We can stop weaving even more stories to hide this, for whatever reason.

The beauty though of knowing this is then we have a choice. Do we want to hang onto it? Is this belief, this truth of ours, supporting us? Is it in line with where we want to be in life?

In Abundance and Right Livelihood Neale Donald Walsch shares that he found quite a number of beliefs himself. One that he shares in the book is “I’m not really a very attractive person.” He writes that it’s “almost embarrassing to announce.” Thankfully, the woman he was with – the person he said this to – had healthy self-esteem and set him straight. She didn’t say “I’m not going out with a person who thinks so little of himself.” She said “I’m not going out with a person who thinks so little of me.” This made him look at his belief about his physical attractiveness a different way. He realized that this idea he had of himself may not actually be the truth.

He came up with a list of beliefs. Maybe some of these are true for you as well.

  • God is not on my side
  • The world’s a tough place to be
  • Everyone is against me
  • You can’t beat the system
  • To the winner go the spoils
  • Survival of the fittest

Spend some time to take your own inventory. What beliefs do you have? Which ones surprise you? Do your beliefs serve you now? They may have had at some point. If they don’t, are you ready to let them go?

Tapping can help with this. Making the intention to let them go can also help.  Work on releasing your resistance to change. Look at all the ways your wounded ego insists on your will.

How does Neale Donald Walsch approach his own resistance?

I just feel the resistance and ignore it. Simply because now I know better. Whatever resistance appears anywhere in my reality, I know that just beyond that is where the grandest truth resides. And because I know, I welcome that feeling, you know, that feeling of discomfort.1

Life, he also sees, begins at the end of the comfort zone.

In Through the Looking Glass, the Queen told Alice that she thought of impossible things every day for half an hour and sometimes as many as six such things before breakfast. Neale Donald Walsch suggests being uncomfortable at least six times a day. This feeling of what he once called discomfort he now calls “a signal from the divine” and it’s vibrating in every cell in the body. Move towards it, he encourages his readers.

Many people are cautious and even fearful. Because of a belief in separation. Holding on, he teaches, is a reflection of the underlying belief that you are separate from other people and from what you desire. He says that when we let it go, we’re only giving it back to ourselves anyway. There is after all only one of us. How much of our resistance would fall away if we started thinking “I am the source”?

Be the source of whatever you desire. Bring it with you wherever you go. Do you want to see more kindness in the world? Be that kindness. Do you want to receive more abundance? Be generous to other people. As Gandhi said, be the change you wish to see in the world.

Neale Donald Walsch shares that “through this process and the process of beingness, the process of being who you really are, you will bring yourself the experience of right livelihood virtually overnight.”

In this game of resistance, what beliefs about ourselves, other people, and our reality would you like to let go of?

1 Neale Donald Walsch. Abundance and Right Livelihood : Applications for Living. Hampton Roads Publishing Company. 1999. p116.