flowers in a vase

The unconscious mind sends in resistance to meet us at the threshold of change. It’s not there to block us. It’s there so we can face that something from our past that’s mirroring the reasons why we can’t move forward. Once we take the time to pay attention to resistance, it begins to loose its power, and dissolve. Now the gate to our heart felt desire, can open.

As discussed in Part I, when we find ourselves face to face with resistance, we can:

  • Accept it as it is,
  • Be present to it,
  • Get to know it,
  • Move the energy,
  • Listen.

The question is, how can we do these things and make friends with resistance, without pushing our selves too hard too fast beyond our threshold of psychological comfort?

Accept it as it is: We can begin by accepting resistance just as it is. Like in any good relationship, we accept the other just as they are without trying to make them into something they’re not.

So too with resistance.

We acknowledge that it’s shown up and accept it for what it is, by calling it what it is. This is a key step in this process. We can’t change what we don’t know.

Similarly, we can’t change what we oppose. Rather than resisting resistance by saying, “What the bleep are you doing here?” we say, “Welcome.”, “Come in.”, “Make yourself at home.”

Be present to it: The attitude we bring to our budding relationship with resistance is pivotal to its success. We bring the attitude of, “I’m so glad you’re here. I want to get to know you better.”, to the encounter. Just like we would do in any other relationship we value.

What better way to be present to resistance than through Yoga. It helps us to create a container with our breath and body in which resistance can hang-out, and where we can be present, with an open heart, to what we find there.

Get to know it: When we’re in a Yoga posture, we can reflect on self-inquiring questions like: Where is resistance being felt in my body? What does it look like? What does it feel like? Even, is there anything resistance wants to say to me? Is there anything I want to say to it? I realize this may sound like crazy talk, but this is a sound way of establishing dialogue with a deeper part of our self that is struggling against our desire to move forward. If it is crazy talk, this time it’s with a liberating purpose.

Move the energy: This can be a good time to bring out our journal, and write down whatever comes to mind in the course of establishing dialogue with resistance. Any thoughts, feelings, memories, and especially, insights, that may arise in the course of this process, in order to get to know what is living inside resistance. We want to invite whatever is living inside of it, out, and into the light of day.

Listen: Once what is living inside of resistance flows out and onto the page, then we are in a position to listen to what it has to teach. Great insight can come from this process.

From here, now that we’ve received insight, and possibly guidance too, it’s time to take this very precious information and honor it, align with it, and take the action needed to move out of stuckness.

There’s no better guidance than that which comes from within, so treat it like a most prized possession. Give it its due, and listen to it.

These are some of the ways to work skillfully with resistance. We’ll save the others for another time.

Of course, working with resistance can also mean doing nothing about it at all. Leaving it be and living in it, being surrounded by our same struggles over and over. Eventually, things may shift on their own, or then again, may not.

Is this a chance worth taking? I for one am not sure I want to leave this one to chance. There’s so much living to do.