I don't know about you, but learning the art of non-resistance hasn't been easy for me. I grew up with a father who was strong-willed and stubborn, and he imprinted me with a tendency to question the status quo. Always striving for the best of everything, he had an aversion to anything average or mediocre, so people and situations were always frustrating him. He was in an almost constant state of agitation that things weren't different than they were. I picked up on this and carried it with me into adulthood. It's taken a good part of the past decade and a half to unlearn that posture and practice a more Zen way of relating to the world.
Resistance serves no one and it adds unnecessary pain and hardship to whatever's going on in the moment. As author and spiritual teacher, Iyanla Vanzant, says, "It's not helpful."
Why do we do it?
I guess I used to mistakenly believe that not liking something, being critical of it was purposeful because it taught me to discern, to understand that something was not ideal or that it could be improved. Discernment is fine, but only as a learning tool. The problems start when we take it too far. In my case, when the stakes were high, I used to resist a situation until I ended up having an outburst, tantrum or meltdown none of which are helpful.
I now see the folly in this type of behavior--I spent years totally unconscious about my investment in (and time wasted) creating drama. Maybe it's my hormones, but I don't have time or energy for that stuff anymore. I prefer peace and quiet now over long hours of long drawn-out discussions and lost sleep.
I like this quote by author Dan Millman, “Pain is a relatively objective, physical phenomenon; suffering is our psychological resistance to what happens. Events may create physical pain, but they do not in themselves create suffering. Resistance creates suffering. Stress happens when your mind resists what is... The only problem in your life is your mind's resistance to life as it unfolds. ”
Saying yes to what is exactly as it is. Nothing more. Nothing less. My mind/ego doesn't like that, because it prefers conflict. It's my heart/soul that enjoys the serenity of non-resistance. So when I'm spinning in circles over a situation I don't like but cannot change, I have to find a way to move out of my monkey mind and get into my heart, FAST. Otherwise, my mind, if left to it's own devices will take me on a joy ride into stress and agitation.
Spirituality is SO much more than meditation and prayer or attending sacred services. It's A LOT of daily work and practice. It's a lot of four steps forward, three steps back. It a lot of falling down and getting back up, staying in the day, being conscious. It's a lot of learning how to lift yourself out of your drama for a moment and view it from above, laugh at it or cry or SCREAM--whatever it takes to let it go.
The upside of resistance is that it give us something to push against. We don't need to be angry when life throws obstacles in our way...we can see them as soul strength builders. See the whole world as a huge cross-fit gym designed to help your soul evolve by challenging you.
Back to my father. Once when he was in the midst of a power struggle against a situation that he couldn't control, he exclaimed, "It's my ego or my life." He died not long after that at age forty-three, showing me one final time that resistance was a futile game that had no winners. Winning is overrated anyway. Just being here is enough.