Life happens – a constant flow of joyful and painful change, and everything in between. Human resistance is as certain as change, because when the negative ego dislikes anything that is unfolding in life, whether it’s minor or profound, it will seek a means to avoid it. Unfortunately, wanting things to be different than they are through ego-control only amplifies trying circumstances and creates suffering. Ego can make a mountain out of a molehill, and protest against almost anything. To the conscious traveler, being reminded that resistance is futile is only somewhat intellectually helpful. Trying to go around your resistance, push past it, or avoid it is only more resistance. So how do you respond to your ego when it argues with life?
Defining resistance clarifies all else. Ego resistance is rich in its expressions: it can be described as blocking your own path, swimming against the tide, digging in your heels, getting in your own way, or refusing to step past the edge of your comfort zone. Resistance can take on many nuances: we can obstruct, strike out, slow things down, struggle, or rebuff. When I heard Adyashanti refer to it as “arguing with life”, it seemed to be an equally accurate description for ego’s dissatisfaction with big change as much as its grumblings about daily life. No matter how you describe it, the bottom line is that when you are resisting, you are unwilling to accept what is and you move against the flow of experiencing.
Personally, it helps me to define resistance as being out of alignment with one’s Highest Self. In other words, if you accept that there is a higher purpose in your experiences, then you trust and accept that whatever is present in your life is an opportunity and choice-point for your Highest Good. Even when, or perhaps especially when, your life is difficult or seems to be unraveling before you, you can remain aligned with the flow of things by being Spirit-directed. If instead, you indulge your ego, it will always defend its position at all cost.
There is great value in becoming familiar with your own ways of resisting so that you recognize them and create conscious choice through them. Below I’ve listed some different forms that resistance can take when we are on a conscious journey. You may find a few to be less commonly recognized as such.
- trying to change what is happening that is beyond your control
- not following through on your higher guidance
- pushing away uncomfortable emotions (anger, hurt, boredom, receiving love, etc.)
- thinking you should be somewhere else other than where you are
- thinking you should be someone else other than who you are
- living your life according to an idea of how you should be living your life
- holding onto an idea of how your life should be
- living in the future, or the past, and not being in the present
- hurrying through life, or completely dis-engaging
- acting emotionally immature just because you don’t like what’s happening
- placing the judgment of “bad” or “wrong” on your experience
- repeatedly distracting yourself from engaging with what is already calling for your conscious attention
- pushing ahead because of some false deadline or expectation
- upholding inner conflict rather than investing in clarification
- demanding what you/your ego wants and demanding it now
- making decisions based upon lower-formed vibrations– greed, immediate satisfaction, need for power, etc.
- choosing not to go within for Higher Guidance when you need it
- debating or negotiating with your Higher Guidance
- not discerning when to allow things to be as they are and when to engage your energies
- blaming others instead of looking within
- leaving fears unaddressed as they continue to interfere in your life
- trying to deny what has already surfaced in your consciousness
- holding God as something/someone outside of you
- operating from the paradigm that God judges and rewards
- not forgiving yourself
The degree of your resistance is often in direct proportion to the degree of change or discomfort. Resistance can be fleeting like when you avoid an unpleasant chore: you pick yourself up and get to it relatively quickly, even if you’re still grumbling. Yet, at other times, it can be significantly prolonged because on the other side of the threshold of resistance is a meaningful shift away from your comfort zone and your old self. At such times, it’s especially important to remain conscious of your resistance and your letting go. You can’t force an ego death and it will happen in its own time. Sometimes, the ego needs to get worn down before you surrender. The way through comes with dark nights of the soul. However, if you do not remain mindful and participate with your spiritual process as the familiar falls away, you neglect the soul searching that is concurrent with deep transformation. Then the resistance will claim your life force and it can just start to feel like a painful drain on your energy.
One way to tackle resistance is to simply witness yourself resisting. When it comes to changing a less entrenched behaviour, this method can work quite well. Every time you face a choice-point when you can either choose according to ego or make a new choice that is aligned with your Higher Self, but you still want and do choose ego, go ahead and do that. Accept the resistance is still there, do this without judgment, and then move on. However, be sure to pause and very consciously acknowledge the choice you make, each and every time. It doesn’t matter how many times you take yourself through this process. Be patient with yourself. Eventually, you are likely to get tired of watching yourself make the ego choice that is less supportive and you may one day effortlessly start choosing differently. Once you do break the pattern, keep repeating the process to remain conscious of your new choice, until you feel you have anchored the new behaviour. This approach can take a longer time, and you may find yourself stuck and/or run out of patience with yourself. The risk also is that you may not entirely clear the underlying cause of the resistance. If you have been watching yourself resist for a long time, it’s wise to ask for support or use the more thorough method described below.
Of course, you can also witness your resistance but choose to move into alignment with your Higher Self. To help yourself do this, place your hand on your stillpoint (in the middle of the solar plexus area where your ribs start to part) and affirm “I AM safe, I AM flowing” or simply say “peace”. You can make the affirmation to be whatever feels most meaningful for you. Witness your resistance and make the higher choice for yourself as often as you like until it feels anchored and you no longer meet with resistance at each choicepoint.
The more thorough method of addressing resistance is to fully embrace the resistance. Do not try to stop resisting; you cannot stop ego from being separate from your Higher Self. Treat resistance like you would treat a limiting emotion: when it surfaces, be willing to sit in it, and accept it fully. Using self-inquiry, follow the energy: feel the emotions that come up and accept them fully, and unravel the ego story that’s behind it. Do not assume you know the story. This approach will not only help you to understand why you have been resisting, but also move the energy of the associated emotions, which are fear-based in some way. Once you dissolve the false power of these energies you no longer need your resistance. Depending on the strength of your resistance, you may need to do this several times, peeling away the layers of the ego’s objections. While you support yourself in this way, also practice observer consciousness as described above. If you are unable to support yourself, reach out.
Resistance can have some redeeming value if we take the time to use it to release our fears and the obstacles to our Highest Soul Purpose and Highest Soul Expression. Beyond the ego structures of the Now Self, these interferences can be more deeply rooted in the influences and memories of other timelines, your ancestry, historical wounds, your soul fragments connected to planetary grids, astral trauma, etc. We all have much conditioning from many multi-dimensional experiences impacting us and rising to the surface for clearing now. Especially if you are awakening to your multi-dimensional self, feel you are at an opportunity to step fully into your authentic power, or are consciously aware that you are being called to know the truth of who you are, you may feel these influences or have vague memories and triggers stir from other timelines, which would interfere with your willingness to take a leap of faith now. In these instances, the integrated healing approaches that I offer can help you release these energies at the causal level and do so quite thoroughly.
Accepting what is in your life requires emotional and spiritual maturity. It does not mean that you turn a blind eye, dis-engage, excuse, avoid self-responsibility or drop discernment. It does mean to face the truth of what is and engage with your Higher Heart and Higher Mind in peaceful inner communication, and hold neutrality with whatever is presenting itself. Then you can move toward meaning in life!
Be patient and compassionate with yourself when you find yourself arguing with life. Your God-Self does not judge you in your resistance. It’s only your ego that can twist itself into being both the cause of your resistance and the judge. Stay committed to your Spirit, and remember that life happens – it just is. While it can be a challenge, in many ways, your life is orchestrated perfectly for your soul’s growth. I see that so clearly for my clients at times. But what matters is that you choose to see your experiences that way. That’s your freedom. Your ego-self can try all it wants, but your God-Self won’t argue with that!
“Don’t use your anger to conceal a radiance that should not be hidden.”