Stress is the consequence of resistance. Learn how to stop expending energy resisting your life, from Gary Zukav and Linda Francis, authors of The Heart of the Soul: Emotional Awareness.
Write down everything you can think of that you feel stressed about, for example:
My mate’s habits
Lack of time
Color of my car
My child’s behavior
My busy schedule
Save this list.
When you accept the circumstances in your life, you do not squander your energy resisting them. Resistance is the loss of energy that results when you attempt, with your thoughts and your feelings, to change a person, event, or circumstance. You reach out with your energy to make that person, or experience, different than it is.
Go back to your list of circumstances, things, and people that you feel stressed about. Consider each of the items on it, one at a time. For each item, scan your energy system. What physical sensations are you feeling and where are they located? Write down what you discover. (Is energy leaving your energy system in love and trust or in fear and doubt?)
Then say to yourself, “These are the circumstances, things, and people that I resist in my life, and my resistance to them is what causes my stress.”
No amount of energy can change the circumstances in your life in the moment that you experience them, or the people with whom you interact. There is no if or but to that. When a circumstance in your life does not meet your approval, it is nonetheless what it is. You lose energy by resisting it, and the consequence is the experience of stress.
You may be able to influence future events, or the way individuals interact with you in the future, but that is another story—the story of the pursuit of external power: the ability to manipulate and control. That, also, is an expenditure of energy that cannot produce a constructive consequence.
Attempting to change circumstances or behavior through manipulation and control always produces results that are violent and destructive—that are painful. Stress is your indication that you are resisting your experience in the present moment. Your resistance to your experience is futile and costly. It costs you your health and your ability to create constructively. It keeps you confined to a smaller, more constricted, less satisfying, and less productive life. It prevents you from expanding into the fuller potential that is your joy and your fulfillment.
Resisting the circumstances of your life is the same as saying to a river, “You should not be flowing here. You should be flowing over there.” The more you distress yourself over the course of the river, the more energy you lose. You see the river and where it is flowing. You do not like what you see.
Resistance is the second part of this equation: You do not like what you see. Seeing the river and where it flows does not produce stress. Not liking what you see does. Not liking what you see is a loss of energy, not the sight of the river. The flowing river is what you see. The rest is what you add to what you see. When you add dislike, distrust, fear, disdain, disapproval, or any other judgment, you lose energy. That loss of energy is the experience of stress.
Accepting the river as it flows is relief from stress. Relief from stress is freedom. It is the ability to breathe deeply and enjoy the river. It is relaxing into the present moment. The present moment cannot be divided into parts. When you resist anything, you resist the present moment. The present moment is the entirety of your experience. No experience exists outside of the present moment. Memories, regrets, fantasies, and contentment all exist in the present moment. Anger, judgment, disdain, fear, joy, appreciation, and love also exist in the present moment. Every experience that you have, no matter what it is, exists in the present moment.
When you resist anything that you experience, you resist the present moment. When you resist the present moment, you resist your life. When you resist your life, you create stress.
Resist your experience → Resist the present moment → Resist your life → Stress
Accepting the present moment does not mean that you cannot change your life. On the contrary, it allows you to see clearly what needs to be changed. Changing your life is a journey. To make that journey you must travel from where you are to where you want to go. You cannot get to where you want to go unless you know where you are.
Not accepting your life and wanting to change it is like wanting to travel to Chicago but not knowing if you are in Los Angeles or Amsterdam. You cannot get there because you do not know which way to go. Accepting your life allows you to know where you are. When you know where you are, you know which direction you need to travel in order to get where you want to go.
To change your life you must accept your life. This appears to be a paradox but it is not. Once you accept your life — greet it without resistance — you can determine what you need to change in order to create the circumstances and experiences that you desire. While you resist your circumstances and experiences, they repulse you, disturb you, and agitate you. You want to change them, but you cannot know how to do that. Your situation is the same as wanting to travel to Chicago but not knowing where you are. You know only that wherever you are, you do not like it.
Accepting your life means being present in it, moment by moment. Changing your life begins with accepting your life as it is. When you do that, you are in a position to change. You know where you are, in addition to where you want to go.
Read the Introduction to The Heart of the Soul: Emotional Awareness
See the book’s Table of Contents
Watch the video: Gary Zukav, The Seat of the Soul
Browse more books by Gary Zukav