Letting Go of Resistance and Welcoming This Moment
Last week I injured my back. It happened so quickly I didn’t know what hit me. I felt a shooting pain on my lower left side. It was more intense than anything I’d experienced in the past.
Before fully grasping what had happened, I started feeling bad for myself. The mind kicked in and the arguments came flooding.
Why did this happen right now? I have a lot of things I need to do. This will slow me down … so much for getting more physical and moving. All of these arguments and more added to the sense of helplessness.
What struck me more than the pain was the speed with which the victimhood feelings came up.
Then something interesting happened.
An inner deeper and calmer voice told me to just try and get up. I slowly got up and was able to stand. The pain was still there, but I was able to move.
At that point a shift happened. Instead of feeling helpless and stuck, I started to deal with the situation. And the first thought was: respect the pain.
By making this decision, I allowed the pain to be and I allowed myself to be—with doubts, fears, helplessness, and the deeper inner calm. I didn’t know it at the time, but in effect, I welcomed what the moment brought in and everything that followed.
Did the pain disappear? No. Did it get better? No.
But I felt calmer (instead of frantic) so I was able to deal with it, instead of fighting and complaining.
This is not positive thinking; it’ more of a realistic perceiving of what is happening.
To accept something is not to find the positive in it, but also not to focus on the negative. Look at it as a neutral experience here for a short period of time … a transient passenger that will move on at one point.
When we welcome what life brings us, we don’t expend energy fretting and worrying needlessly. We surrender to what is and allow it to be. And we open up to a far greater intelligence than what the meager mind conjures up.
I’m still healing, slowly. And I’m okay with that. The injury slowed me a bit, but I managed to keep going and do things the best way I could. Also, the pain showed me how much I overuse the left side of my body compared to the right. So it helped me correct some of the habitual movements that aggravate the muscles.
If you’re suffering from recurring situations in you life, maybe it’s time to drop the resistance and welcome the moment and the experience it brings.
Welcoming this moment
Life always happens right now. This is the moment of your life. You are the space of consciousness upon which life experiences itself.
Imagine each experience with its thoughts and feelings as a visitor. It comes into your consciousness, sometimes uninvited, but it’s there.
There are all types of visitors. On the two opposite extremes, there are visitors you look forward to, and the ones you want to avoid at all costs. In between there are all types of visits and experiences, but more likely than not, you can fit them into “I want more of this” and “I don’t want this”.
With all visitors, you can welcome them, or you can resist and try to kick them out.
The thing is: the more you resist and fight the visiting experience, the stronger it gets defending its presence and the harder it becomes for you to get rid of it. And you suffer.
Alternatively, you can be a gracious host and attend to your experience. You welcome it, without much fanfare or analysis, and you let it be. You allow the feelings and sensations of the experience to be there—no labels or judgments.
And when the feelings subside, you let go. You say goodbye to your visitor and allow the experience to go. And you welcome your next moment and what it brings.
Welcoming, attending, and letting go
That is all we need to deal with what comes our way. If we do this, we don’t get too attached to what we perceive as a good experience, and we don’t fight what we perceive as a bad experience.
One might ask: How can I welcome horrific experiences and really bad stuff?
How can I welcome violence, abuse, or devastation?
Experiencing violence is very painful. But from surviving a war, I can tell you this:
In moments of true and imminent danger, we act from a place deeper than anything we’ve experienced before. It’s beyond the subconscious survival mechanism; it’s a deeper knowing that acts upon faith (trust) and strength—without much thought and resistance.
When faced with life threatening experiences, we transcend the mind and deal with the crisis as it arises.
It’s after surviving these painful experiences that we start thinking about what happened. We try to make sense of things, argue with what happened, or wish things were different. And at that point the best thing we can do for ourselves is to surrender to the feelings. And ask for help if we need to release any stuck energy and painful memories.
The exercise of letting go of resistance applies mostly to the daily experiences that we perceive as struggles to avoid, or attachments to maintain.
Another point that might come up is resisting resistance itself. You dread something and then you start judging yourself and arguing with yourself as to why you’re resisting it.
Letting go of resisting resistance
Resisting what you’re feeling is a mind game. That’s all it is. If you catch yourself arguing with why you’re feeling this way, your mind has kicked in and wants to explain things. There is nothing to explain.
There is just a passing thought and an emotional response that needs to be attended to and then let go. So welcome the resistance and allow it to be, and do your thing.
Feeling stuck and resisting is a mental and emotional habit. It starts with resisting an experience, then the one after, and the ones after. Before we know it, it becomes automatic and we resist everything.
We are not the experiences, the pain, or the joy. We are the vast consciousness allowing such experiences to exist through us. We attach to them or fight them, but we can let go the moment we choose to.
Instead of attachment or resistance, we can try welcoming, and then letting go.
There is tremendous lightness in letting go of resistance and releasing what we’re holding on to for no reason, other than unquestioned mental and emotional processes.
At the end of the day injuring my back wasn’t a big deal. I managed, and I was fine. We all manage and we’re all fine, if we allow life to be—moment by moment, feeling by feeling and thought by thought.