Resistance can get such a bad reputation! It’s often seen as something to just ‘push through’ and ‘get over.’
I think this understanding arises partly from our culture. Earlier today I was listening to an On Being interview, and heard a psychologist describe Western culture as ‘a mastery oriented culture.’ We really like to fix things, to find solutions to problems, and to be in control!
Problem solving and mastery are great for building bridges or performing surgery. Not necessarily so for the human heart.
Why fixing is not a solution
The challenge with a mastery mindset is we can apply it to things that don’t need fixing – like our own being.
When we approach ourselves with a ‘fixing’ mindset, our humanity – and all its inherent contradictions, messiness, and vulnerability – becomes something to master and control.
Things that seem to ‘get in the way’ – like emotions, resistance, and inner conflict – are approached as problems to hack or fix. We want a solution, process, or tool to get rid of them!
Ouch – it’s really painful to approach ourselves this way.
Embracing vs. problem solving
I think being human means to practice love – to embrace and care for these things that we’re trying so hard to erase and overcome.
For we are a part of this living, dying, ever changing world – and this includes our inner world. In our own inner ecology, like the ecology of our mother earth, there are many different species and life forms trying to co-habitate together.
Trying to eradicate our messy, painful and difficult parts – like our inner rebel – can be a form of ecological genocide – where we decide which parts of ourselves can stay, and which parts need to be eradicated.
And trying to force, push and overcome these parts of ourselves separates us from our own inner life, from each other, and from our inherent beingness.
The inner rebel – like all our challenging parts – is, at its root, an invitation to connect – to deepen into our inner ecology, not go to war against it.
When we shift out of a control mindset, the heart turns. We turn away from fixing, away from attempts to control, and turn towards these places that scare and frustrate us.
We choose to stay, to relate, to wonder, and to be with.
In this being with, we find wisdom. We lean closer. We listen to what resistance, the inner rebel, all these inner nos are saying – and we become curious about what they’re pointing to.
Yes, this takes courage.
We have to be willing to dive, to go under, to go behind, to go underneath – to tenderly and warmly invite what lives underneath resistance, to invite it to come forth.
But, oh the reward: a deeper intimacy with ourselves, with being human, and with all of life. We can start to see these species that stay more hidden; we can see and touch and taste our soft underbellies.
Rather than going to war against our resistance, against our softness, against these species we don’t like, our inner landscapes become more vibrant, rich, authentic, and full.
And from this place we have a better chance of embodying our natural power, sovereignty, and wisdom – to steer and steward our lives.