April 5, 2007

Resistance Is Utile

Estragon: I can't go on like this.
Vladimir: That's what you think.

—Samuel Beckett,
Waiting for Godot

In A Thousand Names for Joy, Byron Katie says, "When you know how to question your thoughts, there's no resistance. You look forward to your worst nightmare, because it turns out to be nothing but an illusion, and the four questions of The Work provide you with the technology to go inside and realize that."

You may be thinking, "I know how to do The Work; why, then, do I still resist what is? Am I doing this wrong?"

Not at all. You are merely witnessing a function of the mind. If you're doing The Work regularly, you have no resistance to the idea of inquiry; you're just reluctant to be wrong or to not know, sometimes. Some of us who have been examining our thoughts for many years still find areas where we don't want to surrender our righteous rightness.

"Yeahbuts" serve a very important function. For example, they let us know when...

1. We're not ready to know the truth; which is perfectly okay. You can't make yourself believe what you don't believe, or disbelieve what you do believe. "Children should not oppose their parents," for example; if you've got a kid with oppositional disorder, this one's hard to reverse, even if you know that "resistance is futile." (If you've noticed, so is resisting their behavior!)

2. We're not hitting the underlying beliefs that are keeping the central belief in place. So it's time to go more deeply into the thought and see what lies beneath. "I want my husband to stop cheating on me." It feels true, absolutely...because "Marriage is sacred." Or because "it means that...I'm losing him; I'll be alone; I'm not attractive enough."

3. We're defending something that doesn't exist. That's cosmic, but that's what's happening...and it's good news. Mind knows its days are numbers and it's not going without a fight. The introduction of the book A Course In Miracles famously says, "Nothing real can be threatened; nothing unreal exists." Ultimately the ego itself doesn't exist; we can know this when we question what we believe and the story of "I" changes. (Example: "I need" becomes "I don't need." Or, "I'm too fat" becomes "I'm not too fat." So what happened to that "I?" Poof!)

Resistance is one of those "compassionate alarm clocks" that lets us know we're in the nightmare of beliefs that are not true for us. Katie says, "If you feel any resistance to a thought, your Work is not done. When you can honestly look forward to experiences that have been uncomfortable, there is no longer anything to fear in life; you see everything as a gift that can bring you self-realization."

That's why "I (Heart) My Resistance." It brings me home, every time.

Deepening Transformational Inquiry: Name That Fear

Find a tough one, a thought that you believe to be true, absolutely. As you hold it against the four questions, notice if there is a fear to lose the belief. Name it: what's the worst thing that could happen if you no longer believed this thought?

Then, investigate that belief.

Example: if I still believe my body is too fat, after using the four questions and turnarounds (and three ways), I can ask myself, "What do I fear would happen if I no longer believed this thought?" You will come up with underlying beliefs that are holding your central belief firmly in place. Write them down and question them.

Fear named: I will always be heavy.
Fear named: I will die young.

Further deepening:

"I will die young, and it means that...I will not have lived a full life, I won't be there for my children, my wife will be devastated."

Thoughts to investigate:

I haven't lived a full life.
My children need me.
My wife will be devastated without me.

For more assistance with deepening inquiry, read the sourcebook for The Work: Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life by Byron Katie with Stephen Mitchell.

"No story: no resistance.
The story is what we resist, not the experience."

—Byron Katie

©2007 by Carol L. Skolnick. All rights reserved.


Molly Gordon said...

What a trip! Today I wrote about what fear can do for your business - using a similar frame. I love it - and you.

Jon Willis said...

HI Carol,

I love the title of this posting - it has been going around my head since I first noticed it didn't say 'futile' :-)

In fact, I just had the thought of wearing a T-shirt with it on the front - a useful reminder!

With love and thanks,


Marianne said...

Hi Sweet Carol!

Congratulations on your certification!