Whatever we resist, persists. This is a common adage used in counselling circles. Examining our thinking when we notice resistance rise up and choose to get curious about it, can be helpful. By asking some questions like: “what is it there for?” “Why is it important to hold onto?” “Is it helpful, or harmful for me to hold on to it?” Becoming aware of the resistance, and leaning into it by asking questions in order to understand more clearly, is how we can move through it, process it and allow it to strengthen our thinking and increase our flexibility, malleability of mind. This also helps us bypass the human automatic system of avoiding anything that causes us pain.
Humans are wired to move away from pain and move toward pleasure. As we know, not all things that cause us pain are bad for us. Exercise is one great example of this.
We can relate resistance to our bodies, our muscles and how they react when we work or stretch them. If you have spent any time working on stretching muscles you will know that it takes time; not just in days, months, or years of time practicing, but also in the length of time holding the stretch. Not holding a stretch long enough, and the muscle goes back to exactly the same as before you stretched it, no gain occurring. When a muscle is held in a stretched position for long enough, you will notice other muscle groups working to give this stretched muscle some relief; an offering of resistance. Part of the practice is allowing your body to settle into a stretch, relax into it, hold it, and breath. This is not only body work but mind work as well.
As we focus on strengthening our bodies, organically we also strengthen our minds. Learning to recognize and roll with resistance is powerful and worth the effort.