Thursday, February 23, 2006

Working with resistance

I've noticed over the years that many people believe something is wrong if they experience resistance to meditation in themselves. Then just conclude that they're "not cut out for it" and give up. Actually everyone has times when it is difficult to meditate. Jeffrey Brantley speaks to this in his marvelous book, Calming Your Anxious Mind:
Expect to meet resistance. Your mind doesn't want to be trained. There will be doubt, boredom, irritation, desire for other things, restlessness, and sleepiness. Please notice your reaction to any of these or anything else. Make the reaction or the resistance the object of mindfulness just like anything else. Just keep practicing being present as best you can. Recognizing and staying present with whatever resistance you feel builds real power and gives you freedom from the unconscious patterns of reactivity that drive daily life.
And remember. Whatever form of resistance you have can be treated as a thought that you notice, accept without judgment, and let go before returning to the meditation support - breath, mantra, sound or whatever. Let resistance be something you have - not that has you! In other words, don't let the resistance hold you hostage.

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