What is resistance and what can I do about it?
I often hear people saying they have a resistance to something. They try to struggle with it and get past it, so that they can do what they really want to do. Perhaps you have experienced something like this. You want to take an action but something in you seems to be resisting it, or preventing you from doing it.
I had an example recently in my Focusing session.
I was feeling tired a lot of the time, and I know supplements can help. I burst out laughing in my session when I realised that I have several jars of expensive supplements in my cupboard, but I am not taking them. They sit there, gathering dust. The laughter came from recognising an incongruence in me. I wanted to be well, and pick up my energy, but I just didn’t get around to doing it.
So I enquired into myself, asking what stops me, and what I found surprised me.
There was a distinct felt sense in my body, that I would call an experience of resistance; a kind of tightening up inside. The energy felt sticky and not flowing.
I have an assumption that there is no such thing as resistance.
That word simply means that something in me doesn’t want to do something, or does not want to experience something. I am just not aware of what it is yet. I can find this easily when I am not taking an action that I know I want to do. And here was a clear example.
If you find ‘resistance’ coming up in your session, what might be helpful?
I suggest that you pay attention to it, notice how it feels in the body. How do you know it is resistance, and how would you describe it? You might find it as a sense of turning away from, or a tightening up against something. Often, I have observed it as not even wanting to be listened to. In that case, finding the right distance is what it needed. That is not about how close I can be with it, but more about what would feel more comfortable to it.
When it begins to open up, it can often start to feel like a ‘stroppy teenager’. It has strong feelings and it wants you to know about the feelings, but it doesn’t want you to come too close. It’s almost like it has its back to you. It might be turning away. This can be one way that something in you is showing you that it doesn’t trust you yet. It doesn’t know that you will really listen, without judgement, and without trying to force it to be different. Perhaps it has experienced that many times in the past. It makes sense if you recognise that another part of you has a different point of view, and sees this part as being ‘resistant’, and getting in the way.
So it needs to be listened to carefully.
I suggest that you attend to it with interested curiosity, and that you let it know you hear it. Receive the quality of its energy, and stay with the experience of it in your body. Listen to what it has to say, and also give attention to the quality of the relationship you have with it. Notice if you can be with it without judgement, in a light and friendly way. It’s more easy to do that if you don’t have an agenda that you are subtly trying to force on it, so you may also need to give attention to other parts of you that have a different point of view.
And the pills in my cupboard?
Oh they are still there. I need to give this part of me some more listening