… is always an interesting experience. Whether we experience that resistance within our own psyche and emotional makeup, or within the other. I have been studying resistance for a very long time. Mainly through self observation, because I am so very accomplished at it! I have made a very good subject for this study, and made it one of the five themes in my Silence Practice research thesis in 2010.
A new realization exploded within me around resistance during the final Tuesday of our Silence Practice group this spring. As is usually the case, a fresh experience is often a humbling one, as it brings new depths of understanding and compassion into awareness. The realization that “life,” and “my place in life,” are not what I had previously assumed, sends shock-waves of Reality through habits I have spent a lifetime endorsing: the need to be right, to compete, to know, to prove, to try harder, to judge and compare… etc. etc. I saw clearly that nearly every event in my life had become a stage for these conditioned patterns to re-enact themselves. From the more wholesome awareness of a spiritual awakening, these internalized patterns are simply seen as defensive “habits of resistance,” and have nothing to do with who I am.
If these habits/patterns are unchallenged, they can eventually run our life. They form the basis for decisions, conversations, and our social “glue” — what we hold to be real and important. For this reason, I have been expanding my explorations into silence practice to include the practice of dialoguing from a depth dimension. Not only experiencing it in our own private world of interior silence, but being able to live with and among others from this relaxed and trusting place — a place that is so pure and real, that our experience of it leaves us wanting to share it with everyone we meet. Evangelism however, never works!
I remember years ago hearing the story of the monk who lived in a cave for many many years. Upon his return to his nearby town, he met someone on the path who did something that annoyed him and he instantaneously struck out with verbal aggression. He displayed total intolerance for the very attributes he was likely seeking to avoid in himself, through isolation. So we need the “other” to expose the habits of resistance within ourselves. Anyone in an intimate relationship discovers the feeling of being “trapped” in something they don’t feel they signed up for! Our mutual habits of resistance have compounded to the point where they have taken over our relationship. Never a pleasant feeling.
So one has to ask oneself, what good silence practice or any meditation practice is on its own, in isolation? The traditional models of enlightenment are ones of retreat, so that one could “escape” the triggers of the conditioned self and the civilization that helped to produce it. In order to become a true agent of change for the world, we are challenged in two ways. One is to become increasingly aligned with (surrendered to) the depth of our autonomy in God — through Silence, stillness, and deep listening. And the other is to bring that direct contact alive within relationship (communion).
This combination of individual direct experience of depth and the struggle to birth it, is where many of us sit at the moment in our spiritual development. In order to awaken, many of us have “gone away” to India, to a group or cult, or secular and traditional belief-structures. But it is our alignment with the living expression of our Divine nature in the-moments-of-everyday-life where transformation occurs — personal and collective. It is our willingness to own and express our deepest knowing in a paradigm of mutuality that will change our lives in ways we could never have dreamed possible. In this, we are not evangelizing, teaching, or preaching. We are sharing in the mutual delight of knowing each other through depth, rather than through conditioned habits of fear and defence.
When we experience depth in relationship to the world around us, we taste Love’s true nature — which always gives Itself fully and completely in the moment. And if we are “doing good deeds” without the depth of wisdom and love, we are actually serving our own need to be needed. This can perpetuate a perceived lack within ourselves, and results in a constant state of agitation with our life. We are always trying to find “our place” as special and different from others. Competition in any form is the antithesis of spiritual evolution. It is an old, albeit well rooted, paradigm that does not heal or transform.
As we learn to trust in Silence — and the revelations of our authentic heart — we begin to hear and experience something new. The arresting quality of this direct experience cuts through the never-ending agenda of our separate-self stories and belief systems — including those we hold around God. Until we begin to trust implicitly in the depths of who we are in God (rather than who we believe we are), we will be unable to surrender to the magnetic quality of stillness and Silence. It is a profound intelligence that awaits within the Silence of our own heart.
Our authentic dialogue is crucial to our collective emergence. I would appreciate your comments or questions in the comment section below. Namaste, Laura …