Friday, May 16, 2008

What Are You Resisting?

This self-inquiry can be applied to your practice and brought into other areas of your life.

By Sally Kempton

When you notice yourself feeling constricted, or stagnant, or stuck—all words to describe the same phenomenon—ask yourself what you are resisting. You'll probably know the answer right away. It might be a change of some kind: perhaps a shift in diet or in your personal practice, or maybe in your attitude toward your family life, your relationships, or yourself.

Once you've noticed the arena of resistance, let yourself feel the sensation of resisting. What does the resistance feel like in your body?

Having reached into the feeling space of resistance, ask yourself, "What do you have to tell me? What is this resistance about? Why are you there?"

Ask the questions and then just wait to see what arises. It may be a feeling, a thought, a belief, or a fear.

Keep asking until you feel that you've sensed as much about the resistance as possible. Feel that you are listening to it.

Then ask the resistance, "What would happen if I let go?" Notice what arises. Then ask yourself, "Would I be willing to let go—just for a moment?" Notice what arises in the wake of the question. There should be a sense of ease and relaxation, perhaps small, perhaps greater than you thought possible.

I've found that as I practice being present to my resistance with this questioning attitude, something does let go. Resistance eases. Just as people want to be heard, so do our psychological states. Sometimes just listening to what your resistance wants to tell you is enough for it to open the gates and free you.

Sally Kempton, also known as Durgananda, is an author, meditation teacher, and the founder of the Dharana Institute. For more information, visit Sally Kempton.


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