The Gift of Resistance

Wendy Knight Agard DMH, DHHP

Also see the video Video: The Gift of Resistance.

Please join me in a little visualization. Imagine your ‘happy place’ – that place you go in your mind when you’re sitting in the dentist’s chair with his or her hands in your mouth and that ridiculous vacuum that seems likes it’s actually going to suck your tongue out of your mouth. Imagine yourself in that place (not the dentist’s chair – the happy place) in complete contentment. Next, invite your loved ones into that space. You might invite your life partner, your kids, and your friends – everyone with whom you want to share this lovely space. Now, visualize a translucent bubble around that space. Imagine that this bubble is extremely powerful and protects all occupants from any kind of pain or suffering. There is no anxiety, depression or unhappiness here. There is no cancer, heart disease or digestive upset here. You can eat all the chocolate and cookies you want with no repercussions. If chocolate and cookies aren’t your favourite things then insert yours into your visualization – maybe it’s pickles and sardines…

Now, imagine that some time goes by and life is great in your bubble and you have everything you ever wanted. But one day you realize the inevitable: you’re bored. Nothing ever changes in the bubble. The chocolate that you couldn’t get enough of at first is now bland and uninteresting. You’re actually tired of the perfect weather and of everyone being so darned nice all the time. You know where I’m going with this right? We can’t truly experience that kind of joy if there is no sorrow, we can’t truly appreciate something if we don’t know what it’s like not to have that thing for a while and we can’t know pleasure if we haven’t experienced pain.

We all know this on some level, and yet we judge so many things that happen to us in our lives as negative. We become fixated on eradicating certain symptoms or conditions and on chasing the illusion of a so-called perfect life. Our whole lives become built around the illusion that pain and suffering are bad such that we will do anything to avoid them. Most marketing strategies are centred around providing the perception that whatever you buy will eliminate or prevent some kind of pain. Why do marketers do that to reach people? Because even though everyone knows we can’t have pleasure without pain, we are stuck wanting exactly that. We are trapped in this illusion that pleasure without pain is the ideal, not wanting to accept that pain is a form of resistance and resistance is necessary.

Why is resistance necessary? Because without resistance, we cannot grow. We can’t evolve. If we want to strengthen our muscles, we subject them to resistance, which breaks them down a little, but in the re-building process, they actually get stronger than they were before we subjected them to the strain. Think about the birthing process. Why does the baby have to got through such a long, arduous journey, where it’s squeezed and subjected to all of the pressure and resistance of the birth canal over hours and hours in most cases? Why doesn’t it just pop out when it’s ready? I know that’s what I was thinking when I was in labour! The reason is that difficult journey is required to prepare the baby for life on the outside, in the real world. Our birth is our first exposure to resistance. The baby has been in a bubble of sorts, like the one we visualized earlier, but at birth it is called to engage in the resistances of real life.

There are many resistances, but one that I’d like to explore in this article is the resistance of the false ego. It’s the false ego that creates the illusion that there should be no pain or suffering, or that our lives need to meet its arbitrary definition of perfection. The false ego is with us from day one, as a guardian of sorts, protecting us until we’re fully developed. But there is so much going on as we mature into adulthood that we tend not to notice its presence. Everyone knows about our physical and emotional development from birth to adulthood but it’s important to remember that our soul/spiritual development is in the mix as well. The problem is that so few of us consciously support the spiritual development of our children in our society. It is a critical piece that is missing from our parenting and our education system. In fact, I would argue that it’s even more important than the typical public school education we provide our kids, because if you study dynamic physiology (which is the true science of physiology), you’ll come to understand that all of our physical and emotional problems originate at the level of the soul and/or the level of spirit.

If that’s true, it’s worth exploring dynamic physiology and the development process. From birth to age 7 our development is really just about the physical body. Our immune system matures, our bones solidify, we get our first set of teeth and so on. From 7 to 14 we’re developing the etheric body. Think of the incredible creative imagination and ability to see things that are not in the material world that comes about at this age. Children see fairies and pixies and imaginary friends. They tend to have great insight into things that are seemingly well beyond their years and we accept this as perfectly healthy. That creative imagination is coming from the etheric body.

From age 14 to 21, the development of the astral body takes place, which is largely concerned with matters of the soul. The soul is all about our feelings. This is why teenagers are all about feeling. They are dramatic and their lives revolve around their emotions – what boy or girl they like, which pop star they’re in love with, and so on. We’ve all heard a conversation between 2 teenage girls that goes something like this: “I like Jayden. “ “You mean you like-like him? Seriously?” “Seriously, but, like, Britanny went for him even though she knows I like him, so I’m going to go for Tyler because Britanny went out with him last week after he broke off with Kaitlin, so ya – I’m going for Tyler” “Seriously?” “Seriously”. That conversation sounds ridiculous and inconsequential to us, but to a teenage girl, it’s an emotionally-charged issue.

Thankfully, we move past that stage. We reach a pivotal point at age 21. The false ego that has been acting as a guardian of sorts for us, needs to be transformed into the true ego, or what is specifically called the ontic organization. This is when a healthy sense of self is supposed to take hold. Note the phrase “supposed to”. For most of us, this doesn’t happen because of the lack of attention to our soul/spiritual development that I mentioned earlier. So we continue on our journey with the false ego running our lives.

The false ego is attached to specific outcomes in every situation. It wants complete control of things, it cares what others think of us and it’s the source of what I call “the should voice”. “I should take this job because it pays well”. “I should volunteer to coach my child’s soccer team because I should get involved in my community. I should call my mother every week.” I challenge you to listen to your inner dialogue for the next week and recognize how often the “should voice” dictates your decisions. You will hear it in small, everyday situations and that will provide the opening for you to see how it has shaped some of the more significant decisions in your life.

The false ego operates at the level of the intellect or the brain-mind. It has no connection with the wisdom and truth that is held in the body-mind. Did you know there are more neuro-pathways going to the abdomen than to the brain? That tells you something about the incredible wisdom that is stored here. The creative imagination that kids develop around the age of 7 is still with us as adults, it has just been shut down by the intellect and the false ego. We can learn to engage our creative imagination and develop our etheric thinking as adults. The goal for us as adults may not be to see fairies and pixies (although that might be fun from time to time!), it’s to be able to understand the true nature of our existence and all of the influences that come from the non-material world. When we are connected with those non-material influences, we can then combine the wisdom inherent in them and our body-mind with our intellectual thinking so that we experience the world in a whole new way.

Now that we understand what the false ego is and how it influences us, the challenge is to consciously engage in shrinking it. The challenge is also to recognize that we do need the false ego for a time – we need resistance, remember? We can’t develop a healthy sense of self without working through the resistance of the false ego. A healthy true ego is connected with the truth of who you are and what you are meant to be doing here on this earth in this lifetime. As the true ego develops, the false ego shrinks. This is where we all need to get to in our lives.

As you think about your life and your health on all levels (physical, emotional and soul/spiritual), as you think about the things you don’t like in your life or in your relationships, ask yourself this question: “How is this situation supposed to help me evolve into becoming my true self”? Specific language is important here, because if you ask this question in slightly different terms, such as “What am I supposed to learn from this situation?” the question does not connect as deeply with the real issue. For example, you may learn that you have a pattern of being treated badly by people in your life. But to evolve from that situation you may need to decide whether or how to hold the people who have treated you badly accountable for their behaviour, whether or how to forgive them and then examine what role you had in creating the situation. So evolution and developing a true ego is something that goes beyond simple awareness and learning to a deeper place of knowing and accepting responsibility.

It’s important to remember that the riches are in all parts of the journey. So the next time something difficult or challenging happens in your life, congratulate yourself and recognize that you must be ready to meet that resistance, otherwise it wouldn’t be there in front of you. Consider the gift that resistance can bring, if you choose to transform it from the false ego perception as negative into fodder for developing your true ego. We started with a visualization and now I invite you to join me in a another one: Imagine being in a state of mind where you have a deep connection with yourself on a physical, emotional and soul/spiritual level. Imagine that you know what your truth is and you are living it. Imagine that you have moved beyond simply existing to truly living, as a healthy sense of self begins to take hold and the false ego shrinks away. It’s there, waiting for you.

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Please join me in a little visualization. Imagine your ‘happy place’ – that place you go in your mind when you’re sitting in the dentist’s chair…

 
Wendy Knight Agard

Copyright 2006-2017 Wendy Knight Agard.