In my last blog (“Why Does Inequality Exist?”), I left off in the inquiry of “how we, as individuals, can transform ourselves to operate so that we are not furthering (keeping in place) the conversations and realities of sexism, racism, hatred, bigotry, homophobia, etc.” As a recap, in that blog I wrote about the Chinese philosophy of Yin and Yang which are complementary opposites of a whole. I provided commentary from Wikipedia which read, “Yin–yang is not an actual substance or force, the way it might be conceived of in western terms. Instead, it is a universal way of describing the interactions and interrelations of the natural forces that occur in the world.” I devoted the blog to writing that the disagreement of a thing is actually as powerful a cause of that thing “living” in our reality as agreement is. I wrote:
Consider that the more we disagree with something, the more real it becomes. And, consider that disagreement actually holds agreement in place. (Remember our mantra?. . . the theory of renowned Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung who stated that “what you resist, persists.”) In fact, you may wish to consider that the primary function of disagreement is to create agreement.So, since disagreement is just another form of resistance, I want us to take a broader look at the nature of resistance. Firstly, let’s look at the definition of resistance. The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines resistance as:
1a: an act or instance of resisting : opposition b: a means of resistingSo, taking our queue from definition #3 above, for the purpose of this blog we’ll use the following as our definition of resistance: “the act of an individual using an opposing or retarding force against some one or some thing.”
2: the power or capacity to resist: as a: the inherent ability of an organism to resist harmful influences (as disease, toxic agents, or infection) b: the capacity of a species or strain of microorganism to survive exposure to a toxic agent (as a drug) formerly effective against it
3: an opposing or retarding force
4a: the opposition offered by a body or substance to the passage through it of a steady electric current b: a source of resistance
5: a psychological defense mechanism wherein a patient rejects, denies, or otherwise opposes the therapeutic efforts of a psychotherapist
6: often capitalized : an underground organization of a conquered or nearly conquered country engaging in sabotage and secret operations against occupation forces and collaborators
Now, to better understand the nature of resistance, let’s take a look at other forms of resistance that we use. (Some may even be methods or strategies we don’t normally think of as resistance but, nevertheless, they still are.) Some forms of resistance are: boredom, anger, jealousy, inflexibility, rudeness, complacency, stubbornness, changing, complaining, bitterness, back-biting, gossiping, “being right” (about one’s own opinion), self-righteousness, indignity, fear, manipulation, controlling, dominating, denial, and becoming resigned about the situation. Quite an interesting list, huh? You may have been surprised by the inclusion of some of these ways of being I listed here. If you’re still skeptical as to whether something belongs on the list or not, take a look at the definition of resistance we are using and see if you can find an example that might fit. If it doesn’t fit, throw it out . . . you won’t hurt my feelings.
So, if we’re looking to get past something (but we know that resisting it won’t work except to cause it to continue on, or persist, in our lives) the only way we can get past that thing is through transformation. This can be the transformation of yourself or transformation of that thing. (Just remember, that if you’re going to control the outcome of your life, the only person you have control over is you. So, it will be much easier to transform yourself than to wait for some situation outside of you to transform itself – if it ever does at all.) Remember in my very first blog on this site (June ’09), I wrote that transformation is “giving up one form for another” as in “giving up being an orange for being an apple” and I used the example of a caterpillar giving up the only form it knows to become something completely different (a butterfly)? Transformation isn’t the same as change because change always seeks to improve on what’s already there; it seeks to alter what’s already in existence. In this case, transformation will provide us the opening to give up one way of being and to choose another.
You can’t get around it or over it or to the side of it because those are all forms of resistance. So, transformation has to be present in order for one to directly impact the thing he is currently resisting. Instead of trying to change the issue or side-step the problem, the only way to not resist the situation at hand is to go directly through it. So how does one go through an issue he’s been resisting? Simple. . . he does so by using the art of acceptance!
(If you remember, I’ve blogged about acceptance on here a few times. If you haven’t read those blogs, just look over in the tag cloud on your right (the thing that has the orange words against the black background) and mouse over the tag cloud to get the labels to spin. When you find the word “acceptance,” click on it and all of the blogs in which I’ve written about acceptance will appear on the same screen for you to read. You may wish to read a few of these just to be sure you understand where I’m coming from when I write about acceptance.)
Check in here on Monday when I will post the final part of this three-part series. I will be blogging about what acceptance is/isn’t and I will explain all of the benefits of acceptance from the standpoint of transforming any situation you have been resisting. Until then, I wish you every good thing.
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