From Resistance to Acceptance and Resilience….


At the root of all resistance is suffering. From the yoga perspective, suffering is caused by various afflictions of the mind known as kleshas.

There are two distinct kleshas that make up resistance: raga (attachment) and dvesha (aversion). Raga (sometimes spelled raaga) is characterized by craving, clinging and greed; a kind of grabby, anxious energy that pulls us away from life as it is. On the other hand, dvesha is the tendency to lean away from things or bury our heads in the sand, anything to avoid a direct experience of what is happening right now.The constant tug-of-war against the present moment keeps us almost continually uncomfortable in our own skin.

Of course, resistance can sometimes be useful. From an evolutionary perspective, it is a large part of what has allowed us to survive in the face of danger and uncertainty. However, if we allow resistance to drive our decisions and behaviors without awareness, it’s all too easy to become agitated, restless and ill at ease.

When our actions are guided by idealized notions of how things should be, we become separated from a real and direct engagement with life, exactly as it is. Both attachment and aversion tend to color our perceptions, making things appear worse than they really are. As such, it becomes impossible to enjoy our mind’s natural equanimity.

Whilst more resistance ultimately leads to more suffering, actively choosing a path of less resistance builds tolerance.

If we can learn to be present with our emotions and sensations rather than trying to escape them or change them into something else, we have an opportunity for growth. We develop a capacity to push our boundaries that little bit further.

In transforming resistance, a mindful and non-reactive approach is key.

Simply tracking sensations can help us to see that resistance often shows up as an embodied, physical “squirmy” feeling. Notice how each part of your body is feeling and try to determine where there are areas of tension or tightness – perhaps at your jaw, your chest or your belly. Instead of judging what comes up, open yourself to simply experiencing it. Get intimate with it. Remember – it’s not about making it go away. Instead of always analyzing and critiquing what you find, approach yourself with a childlike sense of curiosity.

More often than not, the simple act of observing and accepting the presence of resistance is enough to make it evaporate. After all, it is as transient as everything in life. Realizing how quickly it comes and goes can turn down the volume of suffering in itself.

When we learn to accept rather than resist the present moment, life becomes more fluid, more malleable, and we gain a greater tolerance for change.

Excerpt taken from

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