Making Resistance Your Friend
© Elia Pellegrini
Recently I was dealing with a situation which seemed to me quite trivial, but I could not escape the fact that something in me was intensely triggered. Resistance is a key emotion to understand. Not only because “what I resist persists”, as the saying goes.
Do not resist resistance
There is a kind of easily understood resistance, such as doing something that I have identified as good self-care, such as taking a yoga class (instead of watching a movie) and making a nutritious salad (instead of ordering a pizza). The conflict is that I may also feel lazy or have the need for instant gratification more strongly than that of “investing in my long-term health”. (Though on occasion watching a good movie or simply allowing myself to be lazy can also be good!)
There is another type of resistance; that of trying to ignore something that is happening to me, out of my control and seemingly getting in the way of what I want, be it a certain success, object or other. But can I really know why something happens? And does it help to resist, especially given the knowledge that nothing I can do can change things? Is it not then ill-advised to remain in a feeling of resistance that will only bring me suffering?
Enough said, this may be the topic of another article. What I am interested in exploring here is a third kind of resistance, one which arises quite uninvited, from taking an action that I know full well is undoubtedly justified and good… so why a feeling of resistance?
Pointers to a hidden disconnect within
So, what is going on when resistance wells up and I suffer?
The only answer I have is that there is a sort of conflict happening within. I may consciously feel that I have understood something about myself and my place in the world. I know that I am worthy of love and abundance, and yet, the moment I take positive action, all kinds of fears kick in. The key word here is action…we are ourselves initiating something, yet it makes us vulnerable. We resist out of fear of failing or any other fear we are invested in.
The other consideration is we may have completely subscribed to an understanding of being worthy, or whatever it may be, but this has not been fully integrated and settled within all of our being. In other words, we believe we have made great progress in whatever situation we deal with than we actually have. Resistance pops up and creates inner conflict: We resist our beliefs about ourselves and the situation. Illusion stares at us. And as we know illusions themselves appear very real and persistent.
I like to think of this as having nooks and cracks within where the last crumbs of doubt have remained hidden. Often these point to a disconnect between what we feel and what we think we feel and portray to the “world outside”. I may appear confident but deep within I do not fully trust myself and inwardly, I suffer.
If I reflect and investigate when resistance pops up, we may discover that we are still bound by thought patterns we believed we had outgrown ages ago. But this only makes us suffer even more by being self-critical – “have I not evolved beyond this?” – but at least by not giving up on our introspection we have a chance to resolve and purify unnecessary negativities or shortcomings within.
What is really going on?
Could it be that a part of ourselves actually enjoys suffering?
It is perhaps more comforting, in a way, to believe that I am limited and had better lie low and not ask for too much. After all, then I can choose not to take any risky or uncomfortable action, and instead remain in a zone of comfort. It is familiar and, in that sense, even more welcome than the sometimes-lofty sky-reaching dreams and desires.
If I feel uncomfortable asking for something, be it support or love or a monetary compensation, for example, even though I feel worthy and deserving, then why do I resist? Could it be that deep down I do not believe that I am worthy? To me, bringing out such crumbs constitute the essence of shadow work. We will always be better off bringing it all into the light, rather than stuffing it back down again.
At some point we will have no choice but to inspect and accept, in order to heal, transform and become free.
We always have a choice
In my case of “little girl inside rebellion” I recognised I had a choice. I could remain stuck in low vibration energies of self-pity and search my mind for all the reasons to justify her feelings, or I could sit with her and try to understand, with full openness and honesty, what was really going on.
I decided to sit with her and reflect. Not to let her win or to dismiss her, but for “us both” to hear each other out.
On a deep level I became aware it is me (little girl) who projects thought patterns of self-criticism and self-pity onto my (higher self) consciousness to validate how I feel. The truth is that the little girl felt frustrated and sad, and not understood. But as I sat with her, silently and patiently, it was as if she melted into understanding that she was really fighting against herself, jeopardising my (our) inner peace by making me (too) feel sad and unhappy.
The solution is always an inner reconciliation
The ‘inner fight’ will be on for as long as we have not seen and acknowledged all of the hidden aspects of ourselves.
Whenever we feel energetically or emotionally hijacked, it tends not to have so much to do with the (outer) situation itself but rather with a part of ourselves holding another part hostage.
Some aspect of self wants to remain in the comfort zone above all. But our higher self knows that we must continue on in life in order to grow, even when (especially when) we feel challenged.
Having heard the little suffering girl in me, I asked her to open up her consciousness to something higher. I asked her to accept that “my higher self” may be a better guide, as it is also able to love her deeply and yet no longer accept that she keeps throwing tantrums that fuel drama and suffering for no reason at all. I told her that I could empathise with her and understood that she had lived many experiences that told her that she was not enough, or that she should not ask for anything at all. She learnt to just keep quiet. But, as she accepted and agreed to extend her perception beyond the situation and the emotions, I felt that she could also sense that our life was gaining harmony. Ever so gently we were transforming old patterns of behaviour and settling into a new sense of inner peace.
In fact, we both want to live a life of spaciousness, little girl in unison with higher self, open to possibilities, in complete peace. Not arguing with each other, and not at odds with the world.
Real change doesn’t happen by picking a few habits to stop or a few spiritual exercises to start. It happens through full participation in life, as well as honest and sometimes gruelling introspection.
In therapy, it is the therapist who helps us to see and encounter shadows in the painful experiences that their clients share. The therapist provides a safe space where shadows can be explored. Often it is difficult work as we tend to resist it, but this keeps us stuck in suffering. The result of listening to the suffering selves inside, however, helps release energy tied up as a continued spiritual practice. We heal through introspection and action, a type of self-coaching.
There is nobody better to guide you than yourself.
In love and harmony as you discover your soul essence,
As a spiritual guide and Quantum Energy Coach, Claudia works alongside her clients and teaches how to live from the heart. Her interest in silence and stillness makes her a popular teacher of Presence.
One of Claudia’s great passions is bringing together community, showing us, we are never alone on this evolutionary journey of awakening. She has created a worldwide meditation community helping us to grow within. Check out her events and retreats in Italy and India.