One thing I am certain of it is that, for the vast majority of us, practicing the art of non-resistance is undoubtedly one of our greatest life challenges. From the time we learned to read and count, we were taught that if we do not agree with something, we must change it. Similarly, if we have a problem, we associate the issue with the concept of pain and apply judgment rather than simply recognizing that the suffering we feel may originate from the thoughts we have regarding the situation itself. We reach for solutions in the external world in the same way someone with a headache might reach for an Advil to band-aid their pain. Little do we know, however, when we actively resist the present, we in turn block our capacity to learn and to grow.
While no one enjoys failure, loss, or pain, actively resisting the emotions that these experiences bring creates a void between ourselves and our ability to alchemize our lives. Furthermore, as Carl Jung said, “What we resist persists.” Resistance, therefore, lays the groundwork for all kinds of unease, which is only partially why it is so vital to learn to let go and radically accept what is.
Here are the three main reasons why non-resistance is an important part of living a more mindful and satisfactory life:
1. Thoughts create suffering
When we apply judgement to something, we create more suffering simply because the very fact that we are judging the situation in the first place means we have created a story around it—albeit a rather sinister one at that. For example, if we lost in a competition or failed an exam, we usually tell ourselves that we are lacking something, such as intelligence, creativity, or skill, for instance. With enough emotion and repetition of specific negative thought patterns, we create self-fulling prophecies that manifest in our physical reality. When we learn to practice non-resistance to what is, we allow emotions to pass through us like water flowing through a river stream. We allow ourselves to feel them and simply let them be when we fail to give them any emotional charge, and with time, they lose their power over us.
2. Pain can teach us
As much as we resist the idea, pain can be—and often is—our greatest teacher. Without it, our lives would remain stagnant and we would never learn to become our own alchemists. Furthermore, pain often serves as a warning on a dashboard, alerting us to either lean in or become more proactive.
3. Non-resistance brings us back into the present moment
When we practice non-resistance, we ground ourselves back into the present moment more seamlessly. This is especially important because the present moment is our access point to anything and everything we could ever possibly imagine. Without this presence, we do not and cannot feel fully alive, heal, or grow, simply because we can’t access the deeper layers of ourselves that can only be tapped when we remain in stillness.
If we are to live truly meaningful and fulfilling lives, non-resistance must be at work. When we learn to surrender, we cease to suffer and can better access our point of power, which can only be found in the here and now.