Do you think it’s possible to live your life free of stress, problems, fear, and melodrama? Michael Singer tells us that a peaceful life is possible if we stop resisting life’s events. In his chapter entitled, The Spiritual Path of Nonresistance, Singer warns that resistance is a tremendous waste of energy.
“The fact is, you’re generally using your will to resist one of two things: that which has already happened or that which hasn’t happened yet. It is not life’s events that are causing problems or stress. It is your resistance to life’s events that is causing this experience.” ~Singer
He’s right! What’s the point of lamenting over something that’s already happened or wasting time and energy worrying about events that aren’t likely to happen? If there are lessons to be learned from the past or plans to be made for the future, those are best done in the present moment where your true power resides.
But let’s explore this idea of using our “will” to resist life’s events. Singer talks about how we can use our will power, or the Power of the Self, to block our own energy. This happens when we hold onto our thoughts and emotions instead of letting them pass through us.
“Stress only happens when you resist life’s events. If you’re neither pushing life away nor pulling it toward you, then you are not creating any resistance. You are simply present.” ~ Singer
We can also use the Power of the Self, to examine what we resist in life. Why do we resist some events and let others pass through without notice? Why do we care what some people think and not others? What offends us and causes us to become defensive? This process requires self-reflection without judgment.
“You will be surprised to find that in most situations there is nothing to deal with except for your own fears and desires.” ~ Singer
If you look deep inside, your fears and desires will reveal themselves, unearthing the seeds of your suffering. The reality is, you have to stop watering the seeds! Through the process of awareness, you can stop the seeds from growing by letting the energy pass through you rather than resisting.
I’m reminded of the Taoist concept, “Wu-wei, effortless effort” which is another way of saying “do nothing and let go”. In Taoist terms, there is a recognition that this world is beyond our control and to live a more peaceful existence we must practice patience and acceptance.
I don’t know that my life will ever be completely free of stress and drama but I take comfort in knowing that the extent of my mental suffering is based on how much energy I give my thoughts and emotions. I may not be able to control the world around me or the people in it, but I can control where I focus my energy.
This week try practicing the art of awareness. Stop and reflect when you find yourself pushing life away or pulling it toward you. Then, let it go. Be patient with yourself and others as you walk the spiritual path of nonresistance.