Friday, 20 January 2017

Resistance, Effort and Opportunity: Part-1

A path is rarely seen with a red carpet laid on it, padded with rose petals, mostly, especially for new travellers, it is full of thorns, pits and steep climbs. It may sound discouraging and ironical since this blog is about encouraging people for taking up a path. But then, instead of showing a rosy picture its better to share something useful which provides you instant solutions in case you fall, and something which warns you beforehand, to prevent the fall. Following is a brief write up of things I found that may cause trouble and some solutions that I found useful.

Listen on YouTube


Resistances are events or actions or thoughts that prevent a seeker from gaining some important piece of knowledge. Knowledge comes from experience, and resistance means that the seeker is unable to experience something crucial. He acts most reasonably in the light of his existing knowledge, and only an  experienced teacher can see his error and warn about it or can help to overcome it. Resistances can be either internal (originating in the mind) or external (originating in the world), but by now you must have realized that such demarcation of internal and external is meaningless, it all happens in the non-local Mind. Anyhow we will use those words merely for convenience. Internal resistance is one where the seeker himself prevents his own progress or at least seems to be doing so. He acts and thinks in ways which always take him away from the knowledge. He is unaware of this fact, he cannot see it. He remains unaware of it even after it is made clear (by a teacher or anyone else).

Doesn't it sound like a belief? There is an important difference, it is easy to see beliefs when someone points them out or when you yourself encounter them. Beliefs are ideas or actions that do not stand on a direct experience, and hence its easy to spot them and merely seeing them kills them. Resistance is a beast which remains invisible even after it is made very clear that you are facing one. Is there absolutely nothing one can do? Fortunately, there is one thing which we are still capable of doing in such situations, which is to question it honestly and openly, even if it sounds ridiculous and insane. Question it, why is your teacher saying something that sounds so funny and insulting at the same time? A question opens up the Mind a bit and quickens the way out of resistance. That’s all you can do.

External resistance is the type where worldly situations or people prevent one from reaching towards much needed knowledge. One might think that it should be very easy to simply see the external hurdles that stand between a seeker and his goal. Unfortunately, its not that easy, as the situations stand right in plain sight but are seen as acts of nature, not resistance. No amount of explaining will make it clear for a seeker, he cannot be convinced. Such events and situations are external and appear in the world but are acts of his own mind that materialize as resistance. Let’s take some examples for both kinds.

A common case is repeatedly taking Mind as Self – thinking, imagining, perceiving, and even the extraordinary experiences that the Mind provides are mistaken as experiences of knowing the Self. The expressions such as, I’m sad, I can’t clam my mind, I feel the Self in that exotic state, etc. are evidences that the seeker is confusing mental activities with Self. This is a direct experience and seems logical (who else is doing all that after all?, the resisting one thinks), so is not a belief, just a mistake.

Fully knowing everything that can be known, fully aware of it all, some seekers consciously set goals that fall short of their maximum potential. For example, after knowing the illusion of a world and a worldly life, some seekers still carry on with their old lifestyle, running after stuff and relations. Can be some greater worldly goal (serving poor?) or can be family or a job or some practice or tradition. The seeker continues on the old path with a proper justification, such as “I must do it”, “I’m destined to live like this” etc. This is a case of failure to embody the teachings and experiences that result from them. Such seekers resist the next step which comes after realization.

When an experience arrives via a certain practice, an attachment to that practice happens and there is a resistance towards letting go of it. This comes from the belief that a simple practice cannot result in a "rare" experience. A common example is mistaking mental states for “states” of consciousness (Self). Many seekers are convinced that the only way to experience the Self is via some strange altered state of the Mind. This is a resistance to willingly try a simpler route because the more exotic route is more satisfying for the mind/ego. This halts their progress because the abiding in Self cannot happen most of the time in day-to-day living, but only on rare occasions when they achieve the "right" state.

Not setting high enough goals and not being ambitious can be seen as a form of resistance. Some seekers approach a teacher asking for a solution of their everyday misery, some domestic issues, trauma or inability to do this or that. When pointed out that these are merely symptoms of ignorance, and a total solution exists which will make petty things a moot matter, they still want to treat the symptoms, expressing their inability to “practice” since they are facing a bad situation. The reason is perfectly valid and logical from their point of view. They wait for the “right time” when the external situations will be perfect, when finally they can know the “advanced” stuff. Usually it makes no difference when pointed out that the only time there is, is now – the eternal moment, and that the knowledge is simple, direct and effortless, not advanced or complicated. The result is that they spend a long time patching up an old garment rather than throwing it away and getting a brand new one.

The acts of Mind go deeper than the Mind can know. Situations and events manifest that prevent a seeker from meeting a master, for example. Flights are missed, cars break down, someone falls sick or needs urgent help, someone shows up and fills him against that master, he finds a “better spiritual distraction”, a more exotic and instant one. Sometimes, strange bodily phenomena appear that mimic a disease, sometimes the Mind stops working, is unable to decide anything. An irrational anger (or fear) can suddenly develop that makes him hate some bit of knowledge or facts or practices or useful/helpful people.
The list of such happenings can be varied and such events almost always appear as “unusual coincidences” or acts of nature. I do not advocate that you take every such act that stopped you on your path for a while as Mind’s hidden resistance, you may go insane. However, when a very-very strange coincidence occurs just when you are all set to make a big leap on your path, I suggest you pay close attention. Do not dismiss it, do not forget it, write it down. Try the exact same thing again after a few days and see if any external resistance appears again. Experiment !

Efforts and opportunities will be discussed in next part of this article.

No comments:

Post a Comment