In another reflection, I suggested that there are various angles on resistance, and that has been my own invitation to reflect on how I personally encounter resistance. In my life, it seems that resistance can come from three places, and only one of those requires me to dig in and continue the force of resistance. I want to talk about the first of those three places: my own ego.
We all have personalities that have been built and which we continue to build around many experiences, things and people. A significant part of the search for truth and meaning is excavating all those experiences, things and people. We are often surprised, shocked even, to discover that we are investing a lot of energy into maintaining a piece of our personality for the sake of an experience, a thing or a person that–now that we can see it–is not what we want for ourselves. If we truly do not want to be that sort of person, we have to find ways to let go.
I find that a primary form of resistance in me is around some part of myself that stands up to object when it is being threatened. That can happen on a small to large scale depending on the circumstances, but in any event, I rise up to say no because something or someone threatens some part of myself that I fear I can’t get along without. I find those kinds of ego-structures are often attached to phrases like “but I ALWAYS do XYZ.” With those words, whether they come out of my mouth or just appear in the theater of my mind, I have identified a piece of my ego that is attached firmly to something that someone else wants to be in charge of. And so, I resist.
What to do? Worst case scenario, I become vocal about the invasion of “my” turf, and begin to create difficulty, harm even, between me and whomever I perceive as the threat to “my” turf. In the best case scenario, I observe the inner conflict and move away to some quiet space so that I can take a closer look at this attachment to my ego. In that space, perhaps over many visits, I need to do some excavation: how did this become such a part of who I am? How important is it to me? How would I be in the world if I let it go? Can I let it go?
In this instance, resistance has acted as an onboard warning system that is telling me that I have something in the way that I operate that may no longer serve me and might, in fact, cause harm unless I find ways to let it go.