“The intensity of the pain depends on the degree of resistance to the present moment.”
—Eckhart Tolle (author of “The Power of Now”)
I finished going through last year’s journal and found I spent a lot of time resisting things last year. Who woulda thought that? I didn’t want to participate in a Bible study at our old church last year. I resisted going to fundraising events that were hosted by the non-profit that I worked with…not once, but twice. I can’t tell you how many phone calls I didn’t want to make. My husband had a week off at a weird time and I didn’t want to go on his vacation. (Oh geesh, I hope he doesn’t read this one.)
I did them all anyway, but the energy that was spent mentally
resisting was ridiculous.
Did you know there is a Universal Law of Resistance? I knew that, but conveniently “forgot” about it until resisting stuff started sucking the life out of me.
The Universal Law of Resistance says that what we resist continues to appear in our experience until we learn to release what created the resistance in the first place. It’s like we get to keep taking the test until we get it right.
Whenever we experience discontent, unhappiness, or bad attitude, there is something we are resisting. For me, it’s when I want things to be different or I want to control something that is not mine to control. It’s not the experience that itself that causes pain, it’s the resistance. You may want to read that last sentence twice.
This “pain” is because we label our emotions as good or bad. They are
not either, until our mind says so. Emotions are just energy in motion.
All feelings come and go, so why pay so much attention to whatever shows
up in any particular moment? If you think I’ve gone off the deep end
here…remember the last time you had a fight with your hubby, you
overdrew your checking account, you had a crucial conversation that went
bad, or some other crisis…and then you had to go to work? You pulled
yourself up out of your fetal position, changed your attitude and went
to work, didn’t you? AND as a leader, nobody had a clue what you had
When we got home from work that night, the earlier crisis didn’t seem so bad after all. E-Motion. Energy in motion. Those tough feelings came and went. The situation may not have been resolved, but the feelings were not as intense. We weren’t giving those emotions energy because we were working.
How do we deal with resistance? First we need to become aware of what it is that we are resisting. Then we need to let it be. Don’t try to fix or change it, just become aware of our inner chatter about it. What are we saying inside? What is the feeling and why? Don’t fight it and don’t stuff it either. Acknowledge it, surrender it and say “yes” to the experience/feeling. Be grateful for your awareness.
Yes, easier said than done and it takes practice. My experience has been that this works, because where my focus goes there my energy flows. If I am busily focusing on the negative, it calls more negative into my life. If I let go and surrender to what I’m resisting, the tension drains out of my neck and those negative e-motions float away.
When you’re at the mall and can’t find a parking place to buy your last Christmas presents; when the wind has blown your outside Christmas trees over again; when you said “yes” to one too many Christmas parties–say no to resistance.
Merry Christmas! I hope your holidays are joyful and blessed.
The John Maxwell Team
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