What You Resist Persists

It can be extremely counter-intuitive, but, it’s one of the most profound quotes I’ve heard in my life. It actually comes from Taoist philosophy.

For example, John Selby, in his book Quiet Your Mind talks about one of the most common ways that people become phobic and afraid or dogs, airplanes, or any number of situations or scenarios, is by allowing their mind to BEGIN the “movie in their head” of the dog biting them, or the airplane crashing, but they immediately RESIST that fear and try to stop the movie. He goes on to explain that when we allow ourselves to actually play out the entire scenario, with the dog ripping our head off, or the plane going down and an explosive death resulting, that our mind can finally realize that that feared situation is highly unlikely, and maybe even a bit humorous when we think about it and the reality. Therefore, once our mind recognizes that the feared scenario is so ridiculous, especially after repeating the same scenario ALL THE WAY TO THE MOST FEARED CIRCUMSTANCE in our heads, our mind also recognizes that there is no longer a need to resist the fear, and like magic, the fear dissipates.

Another common example:

A man sees an attractive woman and is interested, so he starts to approach her. But on his way over to her, he realizes that he doesn’t do this often so his mind tries to think of all the possible scenarios and, inevitably, most if not all of those scenarios are negative. He resists the negative thoughts, but instead of going away, they become stronger. The negative thoughts want to be heard now that he’s dedicating all this energy to resisting them! And, of course, he creeps her out because he’s using so much energy to resist the negative scenarios in his head that he is unable to be present to the moment and express his true self.

If the man hadn’t resisted the thoughts, what would have happened? Well, he’d allow the thoughts to pass through him, accepting them exactly for what they were, just thoughts, nothing more, and when he makes it over to the woman, he’s accepted whatever scenario may happen, he’s relaxed and present, and is able to express himself and have a positive interaction. After the couple hit it off, they start dating, eventually marry, and have a kid who becomes president of the United States.

Ok, well, maybe not that, but everybody loves a happy ending.

So when life is throwing you shit, which life will inevitably do, say yes to it. Just say, ok shit, I acknowledge you for what you are, I welcome you. And magically, the problems more often than not turn into way less of a big deal. They don’t necessarily disappear right away, but now you’re relaxed, you have all your mental resources since you’re not wasting most of your precious energy resisting the problems!

What you resist persists.

So welcome it. Whatever it may be for you.

Welcome it in this moment right now. Not forever, just for this one moment.

Breathe into it.

You’ll be surprised by what happens.

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