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Thoughts On Resistance

Resisting the way things are can be the root cause of the majority of mental suffering, wanting to change the way things are instead of accepting reality and going with it, the whole be the tree that sways with the breeze rather than the tree leaning into the wind dealio. But is it as simple and as cut'n'dry as 'if you cannot change the situation, leave it, but if you can, try'?

There will be some people who may argue that for example, if they would have accepted things, even though it seemed futile with no hope, they would not have their business now, or they would not have that job etc. What are your thoughts on resisting things?

SnakeskinShoshin

Comments

  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited November 4

    Resistance is futile. You will be enlightened.
    Dharma Borg

    Ohm mani padme hum

    UkjunglistDhammaDragonSnakeskindhammachick
  • @silver said:
    I don't think what the Buddha taught and meant about resistance had much to do with the ambition it takes to do what needs to be done to earn a living and that whole scenario you mentioned. I'm pretty sure it has mostly to do with acceptance of getting old, suffering diseases/conditions, and death.

    Most people have some sort of cause(s) near and dear to their hearts and I don't think they're wrong for writing/blogging/talking/protesting, etc. about them. But it's been said before here - it's about what are practical things that can be done.

    The whole career things was just an example. But yes in my own life recently I've observed certain situations and realised that me stewing over things, my mind trying to enter down various avenues to find a solution to a situation I had very little to no control over was futile. As soon as I realised this, things did get a lot easier there and then. From there on though, it's a task to keep reminding myself this simple yet helpful little gem of wisdom. It leads back to the teaching that enlightenment is there each and every moment, just that through ignorance we add layers of delusion over it, essentially masking it and causing suffering.

    DhammaDragonlobsterHozanSnakeskin
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran

    @silver said:
    I don't think what the Buddha taught and meant about resistance had much to do with the ambition it takes to do what needs to be done to earn a living and that whole scenario you mentioned. I'm pretty sure it has mostly to do with acceptance of getting old, suffering diseases/conditions, and death.

    I concur. =)

    The Blessed One said, "When touched with a feeling of pain, the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person sorrows, grieves, & laments, beats his breast, becomes distraught. So he feels two pains, physical & mental.

    "As he is touched by that painful feeling, he is resistant. Any resistance-obsession with regard to that painful feeling obsesses him.

    "Now, the well-instructed disciple of the noble ones, when touched with a feeling of pain, does not sorrow, grieve, or lament, does not beat his breast or become distraught. So he feels one pain: physical, but not mental.

    "As he is touched by that painful feeling, he is not resistant. No resistance-obsession with regard to that painful feeling obsesses him.

    Snakeskin
  • techietechie India Veteran

    @Ukjunglist said:
    Resisting the way things are can be the root cause of the majority of mental suffering, wanting to change the way things are instead of accepting reality and going with it, the whole be the tree that sways with the breeze rather than the tree leaning into the wind dealio. But is it as simple and as cut'n'dry as 'if you cannot change the situation, leave it, but if you can, try'?

    There will be some people who may argue that for example, if they would have accepted things, even though it seemed futile with no hope, they would not have their business now, or they would not have that job etc. What are your thoughts on resisting things?

    Maybe the serenity prayer best explains the Buddhist view?

    SnakeskinShoshin
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    Everything is the way it is because of all of the causes and conditions that come together to make it so. Everything, therefor, is perfect as it is because it literally can't be any other way. Our refusal to accept what is doesn't change anything. It only destroys us. That doesn't mean we don't work to make things better for people (etc) though. It means we stand for rather than actively resist. It's hard to explain but there is a definite difference in how it feels. When you are supporting something out of compassion and love, it is different than resisting against something with anger and hatred.

    For example:

    You dislike (intensely) the politics of a particular candidate.

    You can write that candidate and express how much you hate him, how much his policies suck, how he never should have gotten into politics if he didn't care about people.

    Or, you can write a supportive letter to the candidate you do support, expressing your appreciation for their policies and stances, and asking how you can help.

    One is an attack of resistance, the other is standing in support of. There is a major difference as far as how you feel, and what you are putting out into the world. Stand for what you believe in, not against that which you don't. It's much more effective. Not to mention the guy you hate? Doesn't care that you hate him and your hatred of him just fuels him even more.

    No matter how you use negative emotions, you are still mostly only hurting yourself. Turn them into something else for better results.

    What happens when you resist? You are effectively bracing, constantly. What happens to things that brace against forces? Not much good. This is why so often drunk drivers survive accidents while their victims do not. Because the victims have that second to react, they brace, and bracing against that force results in more injuries. Because reflexes are slowed in people who are drunk, they often do not have time to brace and react, so they are more like the tree that bends against the force of the accident, and they suffer fewer injuries as a result. The same is true in anything else. Learn how to go with the flow. When something needs changing, figure out what you support and stand for it. But continue to go with the flow because no matter what you try, we often do not have control of the end result.

    SnakeskinShoshinDavid
  • SnakeskinSnakeskin Texas, USA Explorer

    @Ukjunglist said:
    ... be the tree that sways with the breeze rather than the tree leaning into the wind dealio. But is it as simple and as cut'n'dry as 'if you cannot change the situation, leave it, but if you can, try'?
    ...
    What are your thoughts on resisting things?

    Another analogy: a boat in a river. Upstream needs a motor; downstream just a rudder. When pushing against the current, I try to see and accept it, mindfully be in it:

    Allowing restlessness and remorse, one dwells ensnared by agitation, with a mind outwardly tumultuous. One pollutes one's mind with restlessness and remorse.

    Then kill the engine and let the boat reverse course:

    Abandoning restlessness and remorse one dwells free from agitation, with a mind inwardly peaceful. One purifies one's mind from restlessness and remorse[1], peacefully resting in the present.

    The current is beyond my control, but I can nudge the rudder.

    1. Culahatthipadopama Sutta, translated by Bhikkhu Bodhi, from "In the Buddha's Words", p. 247.

    KeromeDavid
  • SnakeskinSnakeskin Texas, USA Explorer

    Excellent post, @karasti. I saved it to a file named "Stand for instead of against". Given the example, I'm confident keeping it in mind will come in handy.

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