“Resist nothing.” This is the message that came to Eckhart Tolle in his transformational spiritual experience that eventually led him to write The Power of Now. What would it be like to actually resist nothing? Is the opposite idea to accept everything? Does accept mean allow? Does accept mean to allow everything, even bad things? This thought came to me, by the way, when I was driving and my kids were being too loud in the back seat. Could I accept this?
I think the first problem is with the word “accept.” I think a better word would be “acknowledge.” I can acknowledge that things are happening. Some are genuinely bad and some are just things that I judge to be bad. What is genuinely bad? I define that as anything that intentionally hurts another person or life. Murder is genuinely bad. So is child molestation. Racism is genuinely bad. So are poverty, starvation, pollution, deforestation, disease and genocide. We don't have to look far to find what is genuinely bad in the world. I acknowledge that they are part of life. I don’t accept them. I would like to see them change and perhaps even help create change. This does not contradict the principle of presence any more than the growth of a child contradicts the laws of nature.
Evil is not the problem for most of us. Most of our problems aren’t that bad. They don’t fall under any of the categories just listed. Most of our problems are just unnecessary and annoying, such as my kids being too loud. Many more problems come from minds filled with fear. And most fears aren’t realized.
Today, for example, I was worried about money. But I ate good and filling meals. I have gas in my car. I have a place to sleep. In addition, I have books to read, a job, health and people who love me. I can exercise or sleep. I can watch a movie and even make popcorn without leaving my place. I have access to all kinds of knowledge, communication and entertainment. I can listen to music. And I don’t need money to enjoy any of those things.
Does this mean my money worries are over? No, it simply means that I don’t need to deal with them at this moment. There will come a time when I have to deal with them, but it’s not now. There’s an entire world of opportunity awaiting me right now and I don’t need a penny to enjoy any of it. Something that keeps me from resisting life is a lack of gratitude. There are so many things I have to be grateful for, but I allow fear, stress and unwillingness to take care of myself to cloud my judgment and twist my thinking. I forget how much good there is in my life. I focus on what I think is bad, which, as I said, isn’t bad, just inconvenient or unnecessary and I miss all the good.
It’s really the inconvenient or unnecessary that I resist and this causes most of my “problems.” I put the word in quotes because I don’t think we have as many problems as we think we do. Many of my problems are in the future, which, by definition, is always imaginary. I’m not saying that I shouldn’t prepare for possible problems or do my best to prevent them, but history has shown me that many of my past fears were unrealized or resolved.
In a recent blog I wondered why we create problems when conditions are good. The story of Adam and Eve and their fall in the Garden of Eden is a prime example of this. Whether you view this story as allegorical or literal (I choose the latter), the message is clear. We tend to mess things up, even when it’s not necessary. We do this on so many levels and it leads to all kinds of (literal) evil and unnecessary problems. We create pointless, meaningless drama.
Tolle offers us a different, more difficult but better choice.
“See if you can catch yourself complaining, in either speech or thought, about a situation you find yourself in, what other people do or say, your surroundings, your life situation, even the weather. To complain is always non-acceptance of what is. It invariably carries an unconscious negative charge. When you complain, you make yourself into a victim. When you speak out, you are in your power. So change the situation by taking action or by speaking out if necessary or possible; leave the situation or accept it. All else is madness.”
“When you create a problem, you create pain. All it takes is a simple choice, a simple decision: No matter what happens, I will create no more pain for myself. I will create no more problems. Although it is a simple choice, it is also very radical. You won’t make that choice unless you are truly fed up with suffering, unless you have truly had enough.”
I like the idea that this is a radical choice. It is also a courageous one and a constant one. It takes presence and Purpose. Incidentally, when I am in my Purpose, when I am writing or working towards my house on the beach or sitting with my Muse, then I am present. This is one of the reasons I like writing so much – when I am with my Muse, I don’t want or need to be anywhere else. I’m content. I’m peaceful. I’m grateful. Yes, it takes time, effort and energy, but it always renews me. It never depletes me. Fear does. Every time. My Muse keeps me in the Present. She makes me happy and content. She helps me realize that I will deal with issues at the right time and not sooner.
So I don’t have to resist anything. There’s nothing to resist. I can acknowledge that someone I love is too far away or that my kids are loud or that I need to get my car fixed or that I have a lot to do. I acknowledge all of this. I can choose to do something or nothing about each of these. Either way, I can Get Started and Keep Going…and resist nothing.