In exploring resistance, a few things stand out:
First, that whatever arises, and in particular emotions and strong sensations, are filtered by resistance. They appear in an often entirely different way when there is resistance and when there is not. With resistance, there are clearly recognizable emotions such as sadness and anger, and clearly recognizable sensations such as pain. When there is a heartfelt being-with of whatever arises, each of those are revealed as something else… for me, often as a sweet fullness which cannot easily be labeled even if I wanted to.
Then, that resistance is not what it appears to be. When I explore the anatomy of resistance, there is really not much there. That too, is a gestalt formed by a variety of components, and when these components and the ways they form a gestalt is clearly seen, resistance – as I knew it – falls away. As with a sense of a separate self, it falls into its components.
And finally, resistance is only resistance when it is identified with. Resistance without identification is only part of what arises, as anything else. But with identification, it becomes something that appears very real, solid, substantial, creating a clear sense of I and Other, and separation. In this way, it is no different from anything else identified with. (And all I can ever really identify with is a story, which makes it appear as if I am identified with something else such as resistance.)
There is a lot to be explored within each of these.
For instance, in investigating the gestalt I see that what appears as resistance often seems to be made up of…
- Stories taken as true, in an absolute way.
- Most obviously, the story triggering resistance. It can take many forms, but essentially says “what is shouldn’t be”.
- Then, the thought images of space. First, the basic ones creating a sense of space. Then, the ones creating a sense of split in space, of an I here with an Other over there, and even a boundary between them.
- Attention shifting
- Moving away from what arises, and is resisted
- Shifting into stories about what arises
- Sometimes shifting into something entirely unrelated, so as to not have to deal with it
- Used as an anchor for beliefs, and lending their apparent solidity to the beliefs
- Used as anchor for a sense of I with an Other, located at a particular area of space
- Creating a split between I here and Other out there
- Creating a sense of a center here and periphery out there
- Creating a sense (sometimes subtle) of an inside (this human self) and outside (wider world)
- Creating a sense of a boundary between I and Other, a gulf, sometimes even an opposition
- Sensations amplified through muscle tension
- To serve as a more clear and solid anchor for beliefs in space
- And the apparent solidity of the sensations lending themselves to give the appearance of solidity to the beliefs and appearance of split in space
And beyond this, there are other questions, such as: what are the mechanisms between the gestalt of resistance and the change in appearance of what is resisted such as emotions and sensations? Why does what is resisted take on such a solid and stable form, and then change into something entirely different when not resisted? One answer is that the attachment to particular stories about it filters what arises and makes it appear solid and stable. But there is also more going on.
Of course, with all of these inquiries there is not any final answer. That would be just a thought. Every time it is investigated, there is an exploration of what is alive here and now, in immediate awareness. And that is always new, fresh, different. Even if it sometimes can be expressed in similar sounding words. And there are always new layers to explore, new insights, making it all appear quite different from how it did appear in the past.