Resisting Ourselves

It’s been a good couple of weeks for resistance, the fingers-in-the-ear, la la la I can’t hear you variety. I’ve been putting some pretty serious energy into noticing others’ faults, imagining different ways to order the world, and telling myself I should be doing almost everything better or at least differently.

During these times, I usually ask myself, “Why am I doing this?” a question that feeds the dissatisfaction loop while allowing me to believe I’m on the track to self-improvement. Practice with a seasoned teacher before attempting this advanced technique alone.

In the midst of this fight with reality, a new question occurred to me, “What am I resisting?” The answer that came back was “myself.”

Only one thing is happening in the cosmos: incarnation—divine love being poured out as our every breath and heartbeat, as Jim Finley would say. In other words, to quote those great spiritual teachers the Borg, resistance is futile. We can’t resist our own coming into being, can’t order the enzymes in our cells to stop breaking apart and putting together molecules. And yet I often approach life as if I can.

We are always on the leading edge of becoming, not through any effort of our own but because we are part of the continual process of creation. Life is movement. Each ending begins the next step, and so we are always incomplete.

Perhaps resistance isn’t resistance at all but a misunderstanding of the yearning that comes with our always transitory state. Life draws us forward; Love won’t let us rest unless we enter into the movement we are already a part of and accept that in our unfinished nature, we are already whole. This is not resignation but recognition that creation is not about completion, and that includes us.

We are not a life but the flow of life. We are here not to satisfy a yearning but to yearn. “The palms of your hands are God’s horizon,” Finley says. Horizons are never reached. God is always moving toward us. We are always moving toward God. Resistance is futile.

5 thoughts on “Resisting Ourselves

  1. Excellent!! I can tell, when you are in the midst of Flow, because many sentences are koans! One question: when you say, regarding ordering your intracellular enzymes around, “… I often approach life as if I can,” who is the “I?”

    • Great question–a koan for a koan. Someone once told me a similar question got Eckhart Tolle started on his spiritual journey. Also interesting, I almost took that sentence out.

  2. You offer a perspective on life in which yearning is an animating theme. Buddhism offers a perspective that is inspired by ongoing investigation. We have questions and confusion about our lives; we also have a framework of assumptions that are often unquestioned, taken for granted. Rather than getting mired in the anguish of existential questions on the one hand, or arrogantly embracing certainties on the other, the Middle Way engages the mind in a stance of investigation of life and experience. I see this as the interplay of faith and doubt. The phrase, “Small doubt, small enlightenment; Great doubt, great enlightenment”, describes a disposition that is on a journey of investigation and discovery.

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