Resisting Your Thoughts is Futile
Damn! Why can't I ever stop thinking?
This was my mantra at 7 am as I tried in vain to meditate.
Some days I'm able to get deep into the zone of a meditation where my thoughts slow and then stop for a while. These are the best meditations. I'm detached but present in the flow of Universal Mind. I feel a clarity and a sense that all is well - just the way things are. Perfectly imperfect.
I am aware of a connection to all life which gently gives way to a quiet joy. I ride the waves of this Universal flow as long as I can before thoughts get the better of me again. I take the quiet joy with me out into my day and go about my business.
Today I could not surf that wave. It was just one big thought after another knocking me off my spiritual surf board until I got tired of trying to climb back on and gave up. All I kept hearing was: I have work to do. I need to exercise. I'm running low on milk. Got to get to the ATM and deposit that check.
With each thought I squeezed my eyes tighter and said NO not now! But, they wouldn't stop. I followed my breathing again and my thoughts slowed somewhat but not to the extent where I could make that connection to the soothing calmness I craved.
Later while journaling it hit me. I was trying too hard. You cannot force yourself to get in the flow - It just doesn't work that way.
It reminded me of getting injections at the doctor's office as a little girl. The idea that my little fanny was going to be pierced by a long shiny needle terrified me. And, no matter what my mother said, or the nurse about relaxing I'd tense up anyway which only made it hurt more.
It's the same with those pesky thoughts. I was forcibly trying to resist thinking which makes no sense at all. The idea is to let them come and then go without reacting to the intrusion in your meditation. All pain comes from resistance. I knew this, so why wasn't I doing it?
Resistance is a form of control. To resist your thoughts is the same as trying to control them. You can't control your thoughts anymore than you can control another person or situation. All you can do is be present, observe and let them go, be it a person or situation. As soon as you start tangling with them it becomes a battle of the wills. Then the ego gets involved - and the ego hates to lose.
Resistance can crop up in any area of our lives - not just morning meditation. While journaling I started thinking of all the other areas in my life where resistance had caused problems. I was reminded of how I'd clung to an unhappy relationship because of my resistance to accept that it was over. I also thought of how long it took me to stop resisting that it was time to sell my house and move on, and how I'd resisted following my heart in my choice of career for so long. This brought me full circle to realizing that the mornings that I got the most out of my meditation it came naturally without any resistance to my thoughts. They popped in - and they popped out.
I saw so clearly that resisting anything dams up the natural flow of our lives. The energy we expend to dam up the flow sucks the joy out of any experience in our lives. What a useless practice this is. Resistance is futile because in resisting we hope to avoid pain in some area of our lives, but what actually happens is the complete opposite - we create more pain that actually seeps into every area of our lives. Pain should be a warning that something is wrong, but when we dam up the feelings and get used to the pain it becomes all too familiar. No more of creating pain for me. After this realization I'm adopting new mantra in meditation and in life: Resist nothing.
Are there any areas in your life where you've been resisting change? Can you see how it has it affected you? How will your life change if you stop resisting and release the waters from the dam?
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