Guided resistance is what brings us to our goals.
Resistance defines a direction out of the pure flow that is reality. It is the necessary “friction” that steers our mind and therefore our life. Resistance is the counter balance of flow. Learning to blend these two elements is how we accurately and effectively create our life purpose.
Understanding resistance allows us to give form to our path, it allows our steps to have direction and shape, it is what we use to create a journey of purpose and meaning.
Essentially resistance is about choices. We express what is meaningful to us by choosing the paths that have reason and purpose and leaving the paths that do not. This is guided resistance. Resistance is also what is needed to transform patterns and beliefs that no longer serve us. Finding the right balance of flow and resistance allows us to understand how to divert an object be that emotion, thought or feeling from it’s current course and into a new direction.
Application of resistance for best results is something that must be understood through experience. Sometimes we would benefit from an intense burst of resistance. Like taking massive action to get ourselves motivated and moving. In the long term however a balanced and sustained approach is what will prevent burn-out. Rather than meeting a force head on, we apply resistance at points that we understand to have the most significance and that will result in maximum results with minimum energy used. In a sense we are understanding how to use leverage to move and transform our minds. In the long run sustained action will prevail over bursts of inspiration. This being said however there may well be times when we choose to experience high intensity in order to grow in other ways. Opportunity for realizing power is present in every moment.
The most basic focusing meditation teaches us to leave everything as it is and simply hold our mind on the object of focus. Even this basic exercise contains within it the principles of balancing resistance with flow. The foundation of this practice is to allow all extraneous forces to simply be as they are – to not let the mind be involved in their struggles. We do not seek to play or communicate with the chattering mind, we do not feed limiting emotions, thoughts or feelings. We just let things be as they are. This is the principle of flow in action. At the same time we have an objective. We are focusing on an object be it our breath, the building of inner strength or clarity. This focus is direction, it is resistance.
As we advance in practice we develop the experience to know how much to give (resistance) and how much to take (flow). This sensitivity can only be gained from actual practical experience. We need to feel the pull of the opposing and contradictory forces of flow and resistance and how they affect us achieving our goal. The exact same principles are expressed in any journey of self-growth. As we learn to refine our application of the principles we will experience a reality that is congruent with our desires.
The balance of resistance and flow is the balance that allows us to reconcile self-acceptance and striving for more than what is. These two contradictory forces pull us in seemingly opposite directions. Self-acceptance seeks to accept what is. Striving for more seeks just that – more than what is.
Sensitive guiding of resistance is the practical application of looking honesty at what we are not and what we choose to become – and then tempering this with acceptance and compassion.
It is the accepting of the process even while extending ourselves toward all that we dream for. Interestingly it has been said that one of the last things that Buddha needed to let go of was his craving for enlightenment (or it could be argued his aversion to suffering!). The irony can be seen here however because it was this very desire for enlightenment that brought him to that point.
With acceptance and compassion we avoid beating ourselves up for not being everything that we want to be today and right now. With honest appraisal of where and who we want to be we give ourselves the opportunity to actually acknowledge and therefore create what we want.
If self growth is something that we desire then developing resistance is something that is necessary to the path – even if the destination of that path is one of non-resistance. Resistance is our vigilance that keeps us on track. Resistance is what allows us to stretch in new directions and explore potential and possibility.
Developing the mind to be able to move from fierce resistance to gentle means at will means that we will have more choices. We will have greater flexibility. For example the blend of flow and resistance when meditating in a quiet room is one thing, but a different combination of flow and resistance is needed when accessing this mind-state when we are sleep deprived and catering to a room of crying babies! Similarly the blend used when creating a mind state of enthusiasm and initiative will be different than when creating a mind state of deep peace. We need to work our capacities of flow and resistance within their respective ranges of motion. This is what brings these concepts more and more into practical and usable reality. Other wise a common situation is that people find that they are able to focus well in one or two environments, but that they “lose” their mind in others.
Make it a staple to first work with the mind in a quiet space. We want to stack the cards in our favor! Then we would explore practicing the same exercise when we are highly agitated, angry or sleepy. Likewise we could practice in a busy, bustling room full of people or on a train, or while our boss is screaming at us. We can even do it while talking to people. Each situation trains the mind to find different ratios and balances of resistance and flow.
Understand what it is that you wish to achieve in each experience and extend and direct your mind and energy accordingly.
In the context of realization, resistance is the part of the mind that “holds” the imagination or visualization. Flow is the part of the mind that balances this by keeping the resistance as effortless as possible. Expressing the two seamlessly is what gives us power.