Resisting resistance…

The truth that we are not what we take ourselves to be is glaringly and painfully obvious. The ego has no answer to this simple truth, but it does a have a typically effective solution: it just obliterates the question from our consciousness.

This is why most of us go through life without facing up to this question.

And this is why we suffer.

But at some point life gets painful or boring or absurd enough, and we open up and consider who we really are.

Awakening begins. Awakening for most of us is a journey. It is a journey of letting go of resistance.

What is your particular resistance right now? Are you angry? Are you pissed off because you’ve been practicing the law of attraction and the muscled metrosexual with the Ferrari still hasn’t shown up, the rude bastard? Or are you pissed off because the spiritual identity you have been building up for years is now beginning to crack? Are you feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, anxious, despondent? Is there inertia, low-energy, lassitude? Is life running in the same old cycles? Is it three steps forward, two back? Do you have doubts about this awakening thing you’re doing or not doing? Did you just realize you’ve been fooling yourself?

My resistance at first was intellectual. There are deep patterns of conditioning which can manifest as depression and anxiety and fear. There are addictions. After the initial awakening insight, there have been periods of peace and confidence and high-energy, and periods of great inertia and insomnia and doubts and frustration. Deeper and deeper patterns come to the surface, and are released.

These days I know that the least amount of suffering, the smallest feeling that something isn’t right, the barest nudge that my life is not working, is an indication of resistance in me.

That’s how it goes.

What can you do?

It isn’t what you do. It is what you stop doing.

You stop resisting. You stop resisting resistance. You learn to let go. You find that place within you which can allow. You love. You be patient. You watch, with dis-attachment. You allow.

44 thoughts on “Resisting resistance…

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Resisting resistance… | beyond karma --

  2. Rizal Affif - The Soul Sanctuary

    Hi Kaushik,

    I agree that the barest nudge that life is not working, is an indication of resistance.

    Usually, to transcend resistance, I sit, meditate. It works very well–even better when I can spot which chakra is the issue 😀
    .-= Rizal Affif – The Soul Sanctuary´s last blog ..Joy =-.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Rizal,
      Yes, exactly. I have not written much about meditation–I think in the next few articles I will write about effortless meditation.

      Thanks for your insight once again!

      love and peace,

  3. Aurora

    Good Monday afternoon to you Kaushik,
    Yes, a very good point to make…
    I’ve found when there is an issue and I stop resisting it, I get an answer, something unlocks.
    My behaviors/reactions/responses change and peace takes the place of stress.
    If I am off course, the Universe is gently letting me know by my level of negative emotion. This actually gives me a good chance to address it, and clear the karma that came with seeing the situation in a w ay that was ineffective for me.
    So while I love the tranquility that comes from doing the work, I also welcome the ‘heads up’ of resistance that really is just something waiting to be cleared, that can be with understanding of the layers of the situation.

    For example, last night I lay in bed and was very angry at someone for not wiring me money he’d promised to last Friday.
    Then I realized my anger wasn’t going to change anything last night. My anger was just keeping me from sleep.
    I could address it in the morning. I knew I’d get the money. There was really no reason to fume, except habit.
    With that, I let go and felt peace come in.
    .-= Aurora´s last blog ..Sneaky Is as Sneaky Does – A Very Long Post =-.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Aurora,

      That’s a good point. Resistance is a message. We can use it help release. You give a very authentic example, and in yours there was seemingly a tangible cause. I’ve found sometimes in releasing that anger or annoyance comes up which is based on nothing tangible, nothing going on now, but on old stories. I watch it, recognize it, laugh at myself, and release it.

      Thanks for a very insightful comment!

      love and peace,

  4. Janice

    Okay, I do not understand the first sentence at all. Is it the way it is worded or maybe I have read it so many times I am overthinking it.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Janice,

      We create an image of ourselves in our minds. This is the ego. We believe we are a bunch of thoughts, emotions, concepts, beliefs, and labels. This is the basic delusion. Awakening is ultimately about seeing through this delusion.

      I think Einstein said it well: “A human being is a part of the whole called by us “the universe,” a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separate from the rest – a kind of optical illusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening the circle of understanding and compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

      This is in fact what Eckhart Tolle, Adyashanti, Gangaji, Leonard Jacobson, Candice O’Denver, and many other “non-dualists”, Zen, and Buddhist teachers talk about–how to see through the delusion. A first step is to see that we are highly identified with the mind, and so we cannot see clearly. This is why I talk here about Awareness, and about letting go.

      I hope this helps. And I hope you’re doing well!

      love and peace,

  5. Janice

    Yes, actually that does help. I have learned from you that the labels we apply to ourselves are just that, labels. I think I understand a tiny bit that I am a piece of the “whole”. But what I don’t get is, once I come to these realizations what do I do with the information? I have had glimpses of being part of the bigger picture and the feeling is really nice and mellow BUT I still don’t understand my “job description” inside of that awareness. Do this make any sense at all?
    Also, the thing I have been wanting to ask you lately is, how do I listen with my body? You say things like that to help me, but I scratch my head and get confused.
    No wonder people give up on this information, it is not the easiest concepts to understand.
    I think I need pre-school awareness camp.
    Thank you, Thank you

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Janice,

      I think we all go through that, where we try to understand a lot of this stuff conceptually. This is why I tell people to be careful about getting attached to particular spiritual traditions and methodologies–that is all conceptualizing, trying to understand something with the mind. We hear of things like oneness and bliss and awareness and release and awakening and delusions and we try to understand it, we try to conceptualize it, and we really cannot understand it in that way.

      One place to start is to forget about all of these concepts. Start with the insight that you are highly identified with your thoughts, and this causes thoughts to be compulsive. Observe thoughts with dis-attachment, as a witness, in presence, and with practice thoughts will diminish and the gaps between thoughts will expand, and another dimension of consciousness becomes apparent. Or try this excellent meditation by Adyashanti:

      Another good place to start is to remember how to let go. We all have the natural intuition to let go, we’ve must forgotten. Start with letting go of hard emotions like anxiety, worry, fear, anger and so on: As we learn to let go, we soon realize we can let go not just emotions, but also thoughts and concepts and labels and ideas and beliefs. We believe that these enhance our intelligence, but they actually cloud our awareness.

      The books/CDs I usually recommend to people to start with are: Eckhart Tolle’s Power of Now, The Sedona Method, and Adyashanti’s True Meditation. There are of course numerous non-dual resources on the web–the External Resources page is a good place to start.

      love and peace,

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Jodi,
      Yes, same here, sometimes I resist the resistance, and then realize it and relax about it, and it’s much easier to release. Letting go is it!

      I hope you are well!

      love and peace,

  6. Janice

    I feel like I should pay your mortagage payment this month. You have given me so much understanding, patience, time and endless support. My thoughts sometimes get jumbled and there are times when I don’t know how to articulate the question, no matter how confused I get I never feel bad about myself. And that is because of YOU. You make everyone feel important and worthy. Also, you are kind.
    Thank you. I am going to follow up with the Allowing Everything to Be As It Is. Also, I cannot count how many times I have read and re-read the “How to Release Big and Small Emotions”, I think I make this so much harder than it has to be.
    Much respect and great regard,

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Janice,
      You say everything with complete openness and that helps everyone who reads this. Thank you for that.

      The meditation is excellent, and I think that is one of the three techniques Adyashanti talks about in “True Meditation.” Another valuable resource I forgot to mention is this Eckhart Tolle forum, where like-minded people share very openly.

      Janice, if the releasing method is not making sense to you right now, let it be. Come back to it at a later time. It’s a strange thing but many people who want to try it, don’t because there is resistance. Some people can get actually get angry while reading about release–that’s the ego’s fear. Some feel they need to understand it thoroughly. Some feel the need to dissect it. It works when we simply try it a few times, but I recognize that many of us will resist getting started. If that’s the case, rest, try something else, come back to it. There is a breathing-release technique here under the section marked “Breathe”–try that first.

      with love,

  7. Janice

    I practiced Wendy’s breathing technique a couple of times in the last few weeks. It really is amazing, once you settle into it.
    Did I tell you on Sunday I was doing my quiet time and my Aunt Lily came to be with me. She passed on several years ago. I never felt particularly close to her but she was there with me and it was good. No rainbows or unicorns, no boogy man frights. Just me and my Aunt Lily. Kinda cool.
    Now why in the world would I not have a million questions about that experience but I talk about how to breath until I beat the life out of it?
    You don’t have to answer that question, the thought just popped into my head.
    Take care,

    1. Kaushik Post author

      It’s a wonderful technique, and I’m glad it’s working for you, Janice. Yes, I’ve had those “high-states” experiences in meditation. You experience them fully and let them go.

  8. Masi

    Hello Kaushik!

    It’s me again! and I want to share too 🙂

    I find that thoughts and emotions are still there but I am learning to “see” them and “let them go”. What is significantly different about the way I am experiencing life lately is the practice of remembering to “let go”. Breathe. And let go. This led me to realize that there is a place within me that “allows”. And that I can go to this place of stillness and peace whenever I choose to. I do not have to cling to any thought, emotion, or experience, to label it and make a story of it. I now see thoughts and emotions arise, I remember to allow them to unfold, I see them pass. Sometimes when I feel I do not have the energy to see something in particular that I notice pop-out, I find myself making mental note to go back and attend to it later. I think this is where a daily meditation practice at the end of the day can really be helpful — note to self 🙂

    I recently experienced “allowing” see me overcome what could have, to my mind, easily become a major unconscious fear in my life. So, I’ve only recently started driving! And in Kuwait, which is not one of the safest places to drive. On my second day driving myself to work, my leg (the right one!) starts to shake uncontrollably. I decided to put what I’m learning to practice and I let the sensation be. And I actually observed the shaking “rise and pass away” several times, at varying intensity. I allowed my fear unfold all while I drove myself safely. I did not let fear take me over but I gave it my attention, and in order to do so I changed my route so that instead of taking the busy u-turn I drove straight and let it unfold-and-pass away and then I got back on my way to work. Now I notice the fear with driving retreat in my smorgasbord of life experiences 🙂 It still shows itself occasionally but not as intensely or urgently. And it is not a new sensation anymore now that I am more familiar with it. It is just there. I see it when it arises, I give it some attention when it is really loud, and I let it go, I move my focus elsewhere as this sensation passes away. This reminds me so much of the teachings at Vipassana 🙂 Anica. I am starting to “see” what anica means! And I am thankful.

    Thanks so much for this. Like Janice said thanks so much for being so kind and supportive, and for always welcoming us to share, and in my case to think out loud even. You are a caring teacher. And I am grateful for your being in my life.

    And I really really really enjoyed your discussion with Janice 🙂 I found even more gems there!

    with Love.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Masi,

      Thoughts and emotions never go away completely. Thoughts diminish greatly, and emotions are just feelings–intuitive messages in the present, and we see through them, as you say. Observing thought, being present, allowing, releasing–all these practices really delve into the same thing, they all lead to effortless, innate Awareness.

      I like the way you say you’ve found the place in you which can allow. I think I heard that on Adyashanti’s “True Meditation” CD. It’s a good way to allow.

      I love these sort of very open comments, and I recognize it is not always easy to be open. The more I talk to people the more I realize that awakening just is, and the reason we don’t feel awakened and present is resistance. Resistance shows up in many different ways: fear, thought, the past, clinging to concepts, clinging to methods, and even clinging to spiritual identities.

      I’m very glad to hear from you, Masi. It’s good to know you’re doing well. Good luck with your driving–you’re brave!

      love and peace,

  9. Brenda (betaphi)

    Hi Kaushik
    My lovely post-Victorian neighbors of twenty years recently decided to engage me in a niggardly property rights dispute, which has literally sucked the joy out of me, I suppose, because I expected more of myself and them. A friend pointed out that it’s merely generational; old-timers tend to put much more emphasis on where one property ends and another begins than we moderns might. Regardless, the observe and release method has failed me; apparently I want to stay with this grievance for some reason. Reading Aurora’s comment, I wondered if habit is the thing making me hold onto this pain. After all, it has been my habit in life to react negatively to the verbal assaults of others. I’d like to recommend ‘habits’ as a possible topic for a future post. Your words speak so clearly, and I’m grateful to you for that.
    .-= Brenda (betaphi)´s last blog ..Hay! =-.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Brenda,
      That’s funny, I recently started an article in which I wrote: Awakening is rising above our patterns and habits so we can see the truth of our being.

      The mind is a fast habit-computer. The first reactions which come up are habit and conditioning.

      When we get into awakening, we sometimes have a tendency to over-think our actions. We wonder: is this compassionate? Is what I am feeling/thinking right? Shouldn’t I be more charitable, less angry, more inclusive?

      There is a battle going on inside.

      Follow your intuition. Don’t over-analyze. Keep releasing, release the negative feelings, but that will not preclude you from taking action to defend and protect yourself.

      When you left your comment, I was reading an article by Anthony de Mello about negative feelings:

      Auroro is right. It is all habits and patterns. What we can do is watch, and release, and develop self-honesty.

      I am really liking the openness and sharing in the comments recently.

      love and peace,

  10. Janice

    I just read the article you mentioned by de Mello. I am feeling the piece below….

    You don’t have to do anything to acquire happiness. The great Meister Eckhart said very beautifully, “God is not attained by a process of addition to anything in the soul, but by a process of subtraction.” You don’t do anything to be free, you drop something. Then you’re free.

    How many times have you told me this information? Well probably 10X on this site and I’d say 1,0000X in a past life. Well, you would think I just heard it for the first time.
    It blew my mind. Maybe there is hope for me yet. I think I see a tiny light shining in the distance.
    P.S. I hope I don’t get so excited I blow it out.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Janice,
      It’s funny how we don’t get something and then it suddenly resonates with us when we are ready. Adyashanti also talks a great deal about subtraction. We need not accumulate, memorize, conceptualize; it’s more about dropping all that. That’s good news. It’s much less effort.


  11. Patty - Why Not Start Now?

    Hi Kaushik – Let’s see…inertia? Insomnia? Doubts? Check, check, check. I do my dance with those on some days, and other days they just fall away. Maybe that’s when I stop resisting the resistance and simply notice it, as you say. When I started playing with my Warrior Woman, I began to see that she is a big part of the noticing. She is calm and grounded. But every day I have to remember that she is there. Btw, I loved your line about the muscled metrosexual in the Ferrari!
    .-= Patty – Why Not Start Now?´s last blog ..Meaning Mondays: Creative Chick Meets Warrior Woman Edition =-.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Patti,

      Ah yes, always good to have good writing noticed by a writer.

      Yeah, the Warrior. But Warrior does take reminding, but after some practice, noticing is effortless and innate.

      Great Warrior article!

      love and peace,

  12. Janice

    Okay, I have a great idea. I am going to Florida soon for some time off. I love going to the beach and feeling the sun, watching the waves. But, I get anxious sometimes because I think I am too fat to wear a bathing suit and I get kinda neurotic about it.
    So, my idea is I think you should create a Kaushik action figure. That way I can put you in my beach bag and when I get anxious I can take you out and remember who I really am.

    What do you think?
    Of course, this is a joke. I am in great mood today and I wanted to thank you for all your support.

  13. HappinessandWisdom

    I love your advice to simply ‘stop resisting.’ In my experience, the harder we try to do anything, the harder everything seems to get. We get so caught-up in getting everything right, anticipating all eventualities, worrying about things that we cannot control that we create our own resistance to the very outcomes we desire. Simply letting go, focusing on the present and trusting that the best solution for us will materialize is what I’ve found to be the best approach. In doing less, we can actually accomplish more!
    .-= HappinessandWisdom´s last blog ..Tip About Happiness – The Power of ‘I Want’ =-.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      That’s excellent advice, to accomplish more by doing less. All resistance is unnecessary, but most of add yet another layer to it. We are unhappy about being unhappy. Letting go is a great way to lighten up. It does take a little practice to learn, or more accurate to remember, to let go again, but once we remember, we find that it is the most natural thing in the world.

      Thanks for your insightful comment!

      love and peace,

  14. Sophie


    Thankyou for all you write about here. Your writing is simple and makes sense alot of times…and the times when it doesn’t I have learnt from you that the time is not right and thats OK too..

    I feel fully accepted here though I don’t leave comments as I feel out of place. Unlike many who come here, I am neither a writer nor a blogger, just an everyday person who feels life is boring enough that I am open to find out who I really am. But this time I had to comment cos when I read what Janice and Masi wrote, I thought they were talking about me and so I felt I am not abnormal in any way………So a thankyou to them too….


    1. Kaushik Post author

      Thank you, Sophie.

      Most of us in our quiet moments know that something is off. We are separated from our true nature, and this causes unease and fear, and many of us simply ignore this or we substitute desires and accumulations to try to overcome it or we simply say, well this is just the way it is. When we come to the insight that we feel this way because of a delusion, it can be a relief, but it also brings up resistance. Sometimes the resistance shows up as frustration–as something we sort of understand but not quite, and we want to desperately understand it. Sometimes resistance shows up as doubt–do I really understand this? Am I fooling myself? Do others understand this more than I do? What am I missing?

      I agree with you that the openness in the comments of Masi and Janice and many others is very valuable. It helps everyone who reads this. I join you in thanking everyone who comments and shares!

      And thanks for saying the writing here is simple. Simplicity is something I have been actively working on!

      love and peace,

  15. Megan "JoyGirl!" Bord

    I enjoyed reading this – a sort of validation for what’s been happening in my life lately. Yesterday I had to say the word “surrender” to myself because, just as you described, I could feel resistance poking its head up, could sense myself getting wrapped up in it, and then felt it carry me away from the present moment. I laughed when I recognized what was happening, and reminded myself to surrender. And yes, in some cases, I’m asking myself to surrender to the resistance of resistance!

    Much love to you, my friend.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Megan,

      I was in the bookstore and looking at Geneen Roth’s “Women Food and God.” The title is a little too close to “Eat Pray Love” but nevertheless this is a fine book. Thought Geneen never uses the words awaken and surrender, what she talks about is surrendering to awareness and the body knows how to take care of itself. She says many of our patterns and habits are our patterns and habits about life.

      I’m have also been listening over and over again to Adyashanti’s “True Meditation.” Allowing is surrendering.

      Thanks for the lovely insight. I hope you are well, joygirl!

      love and peace,

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  17. Masi

    Kaushik, I must say I agree with you I was brave indeed, it felt like I was performing surgery on myself while driving!

    I also would like to tell you my latest experience…. I was feeling resistance brewing 2 days ago and couldn’t figure out what I was to do and why I was feeling that way. My mind was trying to put together a story out of my feelings and devise a plan of action but my heart felt there’s more to it than meets the eye. Soon after the moment I surrendered it all and wondered aloud “what is going on?” I watched myself step back to allow events unfold. The situation resolved with all the pieces falling into place beautifully and I witnessed myself let go of what (belief) really was holding me back.

    To Sophie, welcome and it’s so good to hear from you! I sometimes feel embarrassed of my writing but your comment encourages me to share what I can.

    Janice, I love your idea of action-Kaushik! Hope you’re having a wonderful time in Florida. And I look forward to your chats with our Mr. K 🙂

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Masi,

      Yes, resistance is like that. We put together stories and emotions and the past and pretty soon the whole thing is very confusing. I’ve been listening lately to Adyashanti. He says as we let go of thoughts, and emotions, and beliefs, we soon see that the “me” which resists has no reality in first place. When we’re in the middle of resistance, it may be hard to see it that way, and that’s why I think these release methods are excellent.

      I agree with Sophie. The openness that you and Janice and many others courageously show in your comments is contagious, and very helpful to all who visit here. Thank you!

      Keep us updated on your driving adventures!

      love and peace,

  18. Lloyd

    Its amazing how skilled we are is at hiding things from ourselves, this aspect of our being most hold many secrets. But I think it is trying to do the right thing by us, but as we or this conscious gains more awareness our conscious mind seeks more control, this my be why we find, resistance.

    Love and Peace,

    Lloyd C

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Lloyd,
      Yes, I agree. The Sedona method says we are driven by the need for approval, control, security and wholeness; and, often their opposites. The need for control is a big one–it is what drives us to fix ourselves. But we never really can because we are trying to fix a phantom image of yourselves into a different phantom image. This what the entire dieting industry, and self-improvement industry, and often even the profitable industry of spirituality depend on.

      When we can give up the drive to control, to fix, to be more spiritual, resistance begins to fall away. We simply watch, witness, allow, and just be here and inhabit our bodies completely. Of course most of us find this fearful. Oh my god, what would I become if I didn’t try to control myself? Isn’t that how I got into this mess in the first place?

      There is a paradox here which can’t be explained. It has to be experienced.

      Thanks for the very insightful comment!

      I hope you are well.

      love and peace,

  19. mike michelini

    hi Kaushik ,
    graet article, I am going to reference it in my next blog post!

    you know what I can’t stop thinking of….is the movie FIGHT CLUB…..and especially the scene where Brat Pitt is driving the car….


    of course, its a bit different as we don’t want to let go of the steering wheel in life and fly off the road into a ditch…

    But that movie has inspired me, and this post has also made me realize – we have to just be the people we are meant to be, and comfortable being.
    .-= mike michelini´s last blog ..More and More People Google Their Own Name =-.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Mike,

      Chuck Palahniuk is an excellent writer and he has many references to letting go in his books and movies. He tries to shock people into realizing their own assumptions.

      We’re afraid to give up control because in the mind we think think giving up control is disempowering. It isn’t–it actually gives us clarity. But the dualistic mind will not understand this.

      Thanks for a great comment!


  20. Janice R.

    Dear Mr. K.,
    Subract, Subract, Subract.
    Well I went and did it. I subracted something that has been on my mind for a long time. See I hurt my friend, maybe like 3 years ago. I knew I did it when I did it. I just could not figure out how to undo it. I have prayed about this and tried to practice a million times how to say I am sorry. Well, today I am waiting for the cable guy to get here and fix our land line. With no planned or clear thought I sat down and started writing and wrote a letter to her. I told her I am sorry that I knew all along that our break up was my fault. I was a croward and could not face up to her. She was always a very good friend and I really let her down. I did not tell her I was sorry to make myself feel better ( I knew that would never work in this case ) I told her I was sorry because she deserved an explanation and I needed to affirm to her what I did. Of course, I hope she forgives me, but, actually I just hope she feels better, if that is what needs to happen. I feel shakey now, like I cannot believe I dropped the letter in the mailbox. I did not even trust myself to go in post office and purchase stamps. So, I put two .41 stamps on the envelope and dropped it like a hot potato in the mail slot.

    You know that quote by Adyashanti: “Whoever said spirituality is not a bloody mess?” I feel like I am living that line of words right this minute.
    Thanks for always being there,

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Janice,
      No matter how your friend reacts, you have been able to release. That’s wonderful. Thanks for this very uplifting, open and helpful sentiment.


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