Differentiating resistance: to experiene, and the French

 

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This is something that is (I assume) clear to folks who have done some meditation practice, and (apparently) can be confusing to those outside looking in.

I just read an anthology of essays by and interviews with the Norwegian philosopher Arne Næss, where an interviewer refer to Zen as a philosophy of no-doing, which he (strangely enough) took to mean never getting involved in any sort of social action, and also watched a movie involving the French resistance, and the combination of the two brought it up.

When there is a reference to allowing in a meditation context, it means allowing experience… not resisting experience (including the resistance itself!) This is very different from allowing and not resisting circumstances in the world, such as social injustice and violence against living beings.

The two go perfectly well together. The Germans invade France, maybe kill or torture friends and family, and great sadness and anger may come up, and I can fully allow those experiences. To resist these experiences creates drama and suffering. To not resist them allows for clarity and a sense of ease, even in the midst of the intensity of the experiences and the situation.

What arises may also involve active resistance to the situation that is going on, including actively resisting the German invasion in different ways. In fact, not resisting experience is likely to allow strong empathy to emerge, within more clarity and less drama, which in turn translates to more effective actions in the world.

So there is a big difference between resistance to experience, which only creates suffering for myself, and active resistance to and engagement with circumstances, which may arise from compassion and clarity.

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