Saturday, January 12, 2008

Resistance is futile

I'm tempted to create some giant flash cards with sayings like "You'll feel so good once you've done it!" and "Just get started!" and possibly even "Fear is the mind killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration." Something I can look at when I feel the haze of distraction coming over me to drown out the siren song that is making me want to play video games or fool around on Facebook instead of doing my morning pages or cleaning out the linen closet. This week I've been so aware of the demon of resistance raising its ugly head. It is completely insidious, and sometimes almost impossible to spot.

If you've read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy trilogy, you might remember the Somebody Else's Problem field. I always loved this concept of an invisibility field that worked because people's eyes would just slide off of something that they thought was somebody else's problem. That sort of slipping around or off of something is how I often feel when resistance is coming up. I'll be sitting at my desk cleaning out my inbox and getting organized for the day and I'll say okay, now I'm going to do my physical therapy exercises. Without me consciously noticing, my mind will throw up the equivalent of an SEP field that makes my mind slip right past that thought and remember something it wanted me to google or something I "should" do on Facebook. An hour later I'm looking back over my list of things to do today and I notice "exercises / ice" is still there. I pick up the pen and start to cross it off when it occurs to me I haven't actually done them yet. I feel a bit like I've just had a prank pulled on me and I'll get up to do my exercises and almost immediately a haze comes over me and... I have to shake myself and force my legs to carry me into the other room and start doing my work.

Resistance has one goal -- to keep us from changing. My husband likes to quote Wayne's World saying, "We fear change." And it's true! Our ego is invested in us staying the same, keeping things comfortable, and ultimately keeping us small. Our spirit is invested in us becoming more, growing and learning and expanding into the people we were born to be. When we try to follow the voice of spirit, our ego digs into its bag of tricks and starts throwing road blocks in our way. Some of them are obvious -- I've learned to recognize the voice of fear in my head and know that if it's telling me not to do something, then that's exactly what I need to do. But resistance is usually a lot more subtle, using highly honed skills of rationalization to hide its true nature. The more I pay attention to what I'm doing, thinking, and saying, the more I can recognize when I'm in resistance. I'm getting to the point where I often notice the SEP field within minutes and I can get myself back on track, but it takes practice -- give yourself a consciousness vacation and see how quickly the roots of resistance coil back around your mind. For me anyway, it's all about creating new habits. Even if they're in keeping with your spirit's goals for you, your ego recognizes them as routines and relaxes a little bit. And the more you practice staying in the present moment and truly pay attention to what's happening around you, the more prepared you'll be when your ego throws up its next resistance smoke screen. You can look the resistance right in the eye, tell it you know what it is doing, and move through it towards your goal. I promise, each step out of resistance is easier than the last, and while practice might not make perfect, it definitely does strengthen the tools you have at your disposal to release resistance more and more quickly.

Wish me luck in shifting my habits. And please, send out a search party into the lands of resistance if you don't see me for a few days. Namaste.

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