On the surface, meaning seen through the eyes of the self caught up in a negative reaction, resistance to an unwanted revelation about oneself makes “sense” — as in when we “eject” an intruding pest from our house. But, as we’re about to discover, resisting our negative states doesn’t distance us from them, let alone remove them from our interior world; quite the contrary. Here are the three secret stages of psychological resistance, and why it is the “anti-change factor.”
Resistance separates, isolates, and finally crystallizes whatever is being resisted.
Now, here’s the key to changing our relationship with what’s ruining our wish to change: resistance to some unwanted psychological state does not distance us from its suffering…it attaches us to it. This kind of attention doesn’t just animate what it falls on; it actually helps manifest what would have no right to exist otherwise. So that the longer we attend to — resist — whatever makes us ache in this way, the more real it becomes.
Let me restate the above in summary form: psychological resistance fixes — makes as one –the self and the negative state it resists. This means that the solution to our unwanted suffering is in seeing our complicity with it. For only then are we willing to die to the part of us that believes it can free itself by not wanting to be itself.
In these times, where social appearance is more important than spiritual substance, what has become our longing to change is really the unconscious desire to control not just the shape of our bodies — according to prevailing values — but to dominate our environment as well, regardless of the cost. In case it’s not clear, such “control” is the antithesis of change; it is in conflict with it. Cases abound if we take off our blinders to see them.
Consider for a moment the growing popularity of “anti-aging” products. In truth, all these salves, pills, shots, and drinks do is one thing: mask the fact that from the moment it’s born one’s body is doing what it has been created to do: flower and fade away, having passed on whatever perfection of understanding it may have gained for what it went through on its brief journey on this earth. But dying is part of changing, not the end of it, as most fear. And, regardless of retarding the inevitable, one’s conflict with life’s natural changes still rages on beneath the skin in one’s heart and mind; covering a battlefield with plastic flowers doesn’t change what’s taking place there, or what lies just under its ravaged soil. Which brings me to the reason for this blog:
Something lurks within all spiritually sleeping beings that doesn’t just serve to limit revelation — to inhibit the real and meaningful changes it brings — but that acts, decisively, to prohibit this kind of deep transformation. What is this agent of spiritual darkness? We will call it…the “anti-change factor.”
Resistance to revelation is the anti-change factor; and since human beings tend to automatically resist anything unwanted — whatever it may be that reveals their character and lives are nothing like what they’ve imagined them to be — this means that all such revelations are rejected on the spot… [to be continued]
It isn’t something of which most of us are aware, but we human beings are “marked” with a certain strange feature: and that is…we want to change.
Perhaps you’re thinking: “What’s so strange about that?” After all, who amongst us isn’t familiar with this ever-present longing (of ours)? Granted, taken by itself, this desire doesn’t seem so strange; that is, until we realize the obvious: we are always changing. In fact, not a single moment goes by where who — and what — we are remains the same.
Statistics vary, but in less than seven years there won’t be a single cell left in any of our bodies that’s the same cell there today. This means that any human being who “wants” to change is like a mountain river wanting to reach the valley floor. It’s a done deal; that’s what mountain rivers do, and “changing” should be our first nature. Yet…
Any true longing we have to change is born of our innate wish to transcend our present level of being: on the one hand to know, consciously — unmistakably — that we are fulfilling some unseen, but higher reason for our very existence; and, at the same time, as a pre-requisite to this invisible mandate, to rise above those prevalent and often quite dark parts of us that drag us down, and that soil or spoil our relationships with others. Few would argue these points. Yet, this longing to participate in the perfection of our being has been subverted and, perhaps more truly spoken, stolen from out of our hands… [to be continued]
Every moment that unfolds in life presents us with an invitation to choose either the path of what will better us or a path that will make us more bitter — as when we unconsciously embrace a resentment instead of working to release it. To be Wise is to choose in favor of the Better Path, even though the bitter one often seems easier.