The active engagement with yourself, however, is but one step on this road.
In awakening, everything gets churned up at once. That's why it's so intense. All of your light and darkness comes tumbling out, and you see all kinds of stuff about yourself that you never realized existed. Initially, we work through the phase of letting go of our voluntary resistance to both our light and our darkness. We stop saying, "I can't do this," or "This is how I am" (which has nothing to do with how you are and everything to do with an ego story). We see the habits that have gotten us where we are, and we begin to make changes. But then, other things start to surface. We start to notice where we are still resisting things, and after our initial inquiries, this can be quite confusing and frustrating. This is the beginning of the purification and releasing of your involuntary resistances.
What Is Involuntary Resistance?Simply put, involuntary resistance is your unconscious resistance. It is resisting yourself and not knowing that you are doing it. It is much more than the early phase when you think you don't know that you are resisting yourself. In the earlier phase, you know you want to ask that cute girl out, but you make up excuses not to. You know you want to apply for that amazing job, but then you create reasons why you are not worthy of it. You are still quite aware of how you are fighting yourself, although you may not want to admit it to yourself. It may seem involuntary, but it's not. It's pretty clear what the top-level issues are, and they require your attention first and foremost.
As we all heal from these initial issues and resistances, we go deeper into ourselves. It's kinda like in massage how the top-level knots must be released in the muscles before you can do too much with the knots that are hiding below them. And these other knots have been bound up and tense for longer; they may not want to go very easily. This is where things may start to get intense.
The Spiritual Path Gets More Intense?Yes, it does. It's not because it has to, but the deeper levels of healing are on a level all their own. In some ways, it's like you've already acclimated to the intensity of one level; now the temperature in your spiritual sauna is getting turned up to start a deeper level sweat. You can already feel the beads popping out of you now, can't you?
But I'm not saying this to scare you. I'm saying this to prepare you. You are facing your own involuntary resistance, and once again, the way to bring it to light is to look at it. You have to see what is down there. You put it there even if you didn't know you were putting it there. It may be the next level of self-worth issues. It may be the next level of an intense fear of the unknown or fear of death. But it is there, and it is also the puppet master of you. That resistance makes you avoid situations or changes your interactions with yourself, others, and life in general in ways you cannot possibly understand. If you ever feel like you're going around in circles and have done the top-level of work around voluntary resistance, then it's time to go deeper.
Healers, Spiritual Teachers, and Intense MirrorsThere are many types of mirrors in the world--mirrors, in this instance, mean people who reflect back things about you. Healers and spiritual teachers show you things in yourself consciously. Most other people show you things about yourself unconsciously, meaning that they don't know that they are reflecting something for you. All of them can be useful as you deal with involuntary and deeply unconscious resistance and pain that may be lurking within. The teachers specifically, of which I am one of many out there, are meant to truly help you know yourself and cut away any lies and self-deceptions. In cutting away these obscuring issues, you begin to truly see yourself and how you have created the you of this moment. And make no mistake about it, every moment we are making hundreds if not thousands of decisions about who we are, how we will act, and what type of life we want to lead. It is the immense and amazing truth that we can change all of this in an instance if we so choose. Isn't that extraordinary?
Of course, this is part of what is being shown to those of you in awakening. After the awakened light illuminated everything within you--and usually after a period of bliss, overwhelm, or a combination of both--the energy inside you started to shift towards whatever nature state of awareness you would have without all this inner resistance. For some of you, this makes the path intensely painful because of how much you are resisting you. It may also seem like all of this is involuntary resistance, but that is rarely the case. More often than not, most people know the main issues and stumbling blocks they have, but they don't think they can deal with them or will like the outcomes of doing so. Once again, this is still in the arena of voluntary resistance, and while it may seem crazy that we would voluntarily inflict pain on ourselves, let's just consider this little list:
- People do jobs they hate.
- People torment their bodies with workouts, plastic surgery, and other things to look a certain way.
- People stay in abusive relationships.
- People fight each other for fun or dominance.
- People speak cruelly about themselves, i.e. not being good enough in some way (not enough money, not pretty, and so on).
This is all voluntarily done. It's in plain site, and it is accepted as normal a lot of times. This has to stop before the involuntary resistance can truly come to light.
The Arising of Spiritual Realizations
I remember at one point in my life wanting to have spiritual realizations. After awakening, it felt like I'd get a half dozen a month. For those who haven't awakened, this may seem cool and amazing. It is, but it is also intense because you have to integrate each of those realizations into your mind, body, heart, and energy. Each level requires its own time and process to integrate, and each realization will shine new light on involuntary resistance within. Especially as the realization aligns in the heart and body, there can be new types of upset emotions and physical pain that you never knew you had. This is what lots of sites are talking about with endless lists of awakening or ascension symptoms. While I don't go into these details because your whole body can have any kind of upset feeling because of the shift into healthy consciousness, I would say that this is a natural healing process. This is where the light of you is now bringing awareness to resistance you didn't know you had. Voila! Here it is, and you are suddenly aware that you had no idea what this issue with your brother was doing to your low back. You may suddenly get intuitive information from this resistance about what the pain is, why it is there, and how long it has been there. Then you must trust this information and relax even more deeply into the unsettling feelings.
You see? There's a lot more to a spiritual realization than just collecting a new idea. The spiritual path certainly isn't a glorified information gathering expedition, which many spiritual seekers seem to think that it is.
Building Space to Be with Involuntary Resistance
To meet this unseen resistance, you have to deal with what you know. That's what leads you deeper into yourself. In awakening, you are probably being shown a half of a dozen things all at once. This will settle down as you are present and engaged with what you are being shown. As you go deeper, having time in your life to just be will be the best thing to do to find more of this resistance. I encourage you if you've arrived at this point to carve out an hour of your day to just be present. I'm not saying meditate. I think if you are in this space, you already know what I mean. You are simply being. Maybe you're sitting in nature or on your couch. You can have your eyes open or closed, but you're noticing yourself. You are noticing what you are thinking (mind), feeling (heart), and sensing (body). For those of you who have a strong psychic awareness, you will notice how your energy field feels and how the energy around you feels. I personally am very sensitive to energy, so I like to clear my apartment's space as I sit in being, and I like to connect to the divine and ground myself in the earth's energy. Then I see what I need to see.
Trusting the Intuitive Next Steps
As something comes up, then there may also be a knowing about what it is you need. Sometimes, a release simply comes and goes. There's nothing to do beyond that release. Sometimes there is a clear needed action, a remedy that must be applied in the external world, or a deep emotional release (such as crying). So you have to make space to allow that. In this moment, your intuition truly is everything. If you haven't been listening before, you must listen now. The old rational mind must be allowed to die to make space for human logic and divine wisdom. Human logic founded in your divine inner knowing is an immensely powerful combination. Human logic without divine wisdom is a flailing fish out of water that perpetually tries to control the world, relationships, and you with ideas. Your divine inner knowing must be allowed to arise, and you must allow yourself to trust it implicitly because ultimately, it means you are learning to trust you.
The Release of Involuntary Resistance
I once had an issue stuck in my wrists for a half of a month or so. It felt like carpal tunnel syndrome or something, and then one day it left. I think it had something to do with control. That's how it is with some of the more unconscious and involuntary stuff. It tends to have less and less story, and this shows you how limited a tool the mind becomes at the deeper level. There's much less to intellectually understand or conceptualize. You just have to be with it and listen to the wisdom to the aspect of you that is speaking--whether it is your body doing the talking, your heart, or some other energy sensation. There is so much more wisdom in us than what comes from between our ears.
In many aspects, involuntary resistance and pain is like the old black mold that's been hiding out in the corner of the basement. It's just been there long past the reason for it to be there had left. It is this left over old residue, and it can still cause immense inner suffering. When the issue I just mentioned left, I felt all this enormous flexibility and agility come into my wrists. It was extraordinary. They felt better than they'd ever felt in my life. That's another way that many of us get addicted to this path; each time you let go of pain, you feel so much better. Especially letting go of involuntary resistance and pain in the body, the body opens up and relaxes into such wonderful ease and natural flow that I cannot describe it in a spirituality blog post. It's just wonderful. I love it. I love being me.
And this is the point; releasing involuntary resistance is the continuation of you falling into love with you.
The Tenacity to Keep Going Deeper
I know some of you have found great pain and resistance within you. I can only tell you that you put there, and you let it stay there every day. Awakening doesn't cause symptoms and pain. For the most part, it is simply shining the light of awareness on the resistance and pain that you already have. While it does ignite your own energy to pressurize issues with this awareness and help you to move them, you are already in a lot of suffering if you have this pain. You just ignored it or covered it up. All the coverings are being taken off. All the lies are being exposed. All the broken pieces are being set and mended. The path to living your life as you is before you. I encourage you to embrace it all--light and dark, voluntary and involuntary parts of you. It is all sacred, and it is the only way to become whole.
This picture is gift from Becky Stiller. You can see more of her photography on this Flickr link.