When new information is compatible with your “map of reality” it is accepted, when it is different to your preconceived ideas or past experiences it is ignored or resisted.
Our understanding of our map of reality helps us to understand why there is so much resistance to change. The way we perceive things to be and our map of reality are a synopsis of our whole life and we are only capable of seeing things through this structure that we have created.
Most people don’t like change and feel threatened by it because they feel comfortable and safe the way they are. When change occurs, fear and the resistance to change follow, even if it appears obvious that some benefits would be gained. Whenever people resist something they inevitably experience discomfort and suffer.
Whenever people do not behave in accordance to the way we believe is right, or something unpleasant happens that we dislike, we automatically build up our resistance and blame the other person or the incident for our discomfort and suffering.
Yet in truth our suffering is not caused because of what happens outside of our self – it is the effect of our internal resistance. Because we believe that the cause of resistance lies outside of ourselves, we also believe the way we react internally is normal and acceptable.
The following Serenity Prayer holds so much wisdom:-
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
Different ideas will constantly be dismissed until the proof of the need for change is so overwhelming, that a paradigm shift has to take place. If we let ourselves look inwards with a lack of involvement, this will enable us to observe our individual patterns of resistance.
Meditation helps us to gradually release backlogs of stress and suppressed emotions. In order to do this, suppressed emotions will at some point be brought to the surface during meditation to allow them to be released. With this in mind, you may occasionally feel irritable and restless or agitated during meditation. If this happens it means you are resisting something. It isn’t the actual suppressed emotion that is making you feel like this; it is the resistance itself that is causing the discomfort.
Always remember whenever you feel any discomfort in meditation, it simply means you are resisting and it is the resistance itself that is causing the discomfort.
The solution to resisting is to simply and unemotionally observe your thoughts and feelings with unattached curiosity. Simply accept whatever thoughts and feelings you experience, and just observe them, unemotionally. Just be aware of them and watch them with great curiosity and indifference. When you consciously and calmly observe anything that does not serve you well it will simply fritter away.
For the majority, meditation becomes a wonderful part of life bringing endless benefits. Meditation cultivates the inner observer, and by observing this process we can realize a whole range of ingenious possibilities of dealing with each situation in life instead of resisting and suffering.