Like several hundred thousand people around the world, I'm attending on an online virtual class with Oprah and Eckhart Tolle every Monday night for ten weeks as they engage listeners in discussing the content of Eckhart's book, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose. I first read this book in 2006, a year after its publication date. I am an avid fan of his previous book, The Power of Now, and looked forward to continuing the journey with this somber, yet insightful being. I wasn't sure, having gone through a 15 hour review, the book would provide any more value for me, but I'm glad I took this opportunity. Like any powerful book, each reading reveals new experiences and deeper relevance.
Today, I want to talk about one element of last night's class. It's funny how a simple word can have such profound significance in the context of one's life. Resistance. According to Eckhart, A Course in Miracles, Buddhism and just about every other spiritual source you'd ask, resistance is the root of all suffering. Yet, we seem convinced that resistance to what we don't want will make it go away. Perhaps it's our childhood remnants of hiding beneath our bed-sheets until the boogieman left? Denial at its best.
But, in the most fundamental sense, what is IS. Oh, we'd love to push the rewind button or grab the Swiffer and make it all vanish. And it feels so powerful to fight against a reality we won't want. But, it's futile to channel all our energy and attention into resisting what already exists.
Does this mean we have to suffer through it for life? No. But, it does mean we must surrender to it first. Another concept that seems so perverted to our human mind. Surrender to what we don't want? Doing that seems to invite it to stay.
But, I've found many erroneous cause-effect misunderstandings since looking at the world through a different lens. The very thing we think makes the situation remain is what will help diffuse it and allow us to move on.
Stop Resisting - Surrender - Accept
Nothing in our ego-centric mind will tell us that acceptance is the path to freedom. Which is why so many of us are still stuck in lives and situations we don't want. Resisting puts all our attention on the problem and directs all our energy into trying to change history. To accept what is as reality allows us to turn our creativity and power in the direction of solution.
This may seem like a subtle exercise in semantics, but it's not. When our creativity and action are steeped in the anxiety of resisting what already exists, our results are weakened, our focus is diffused, and our experience is struggle. But, when we accept the Now, we focus on what's next, not what is. We aren't plagued with resentment or hatred or righteousness. With our minds clear and our emotions clean, the power to take effective action is far greater.
What are you resisting? Is that working for you? If not, and I'm guessing it isn't, then you might try something that seems counter-intuitive. All things make sense when viewed through the right lens. You're struggling unnecessarily. Struggle will achieve little more than emotional exhaustion. Turn your energy into pro-activity, not reactivity. Accept what is and then envision and take action on what you want instead. You'll be amazed at how quickly things change.
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