“What you resist persists”
– Carl Jung
The resistance and I go way back.
I have been very creative in finding ways to avoid and delay important work.
I have also been very creative in finding ways to identify and dismantle limiting beliefs and feelings so that I can move past the resistance and get things done.
Recently I noticed that I was avoiding doing some important work, then I noticed that I was avoiding working with the resistance and that got me thinking.
Our culture is full of references to working / fighting / overcoming the resistance to get to our goals. Books like (the excellent) “The War Of Art” by Stephen Pressfield talk about overcoming resistance, pushing through the things that get in our way to reach our goal.
We are encouraged to resist our resistance, to struggle with it and overcome it (even if that feels like wading through treacle).
Unfortunately, I’m rather more lazy than heroic, so my struggles have often been half hearted.
I realised that all the time I spent struggling with my resistance could be better spent doing the thing I was resisting. It dawned on me that struggling with my resistance was a large part of the resistance.
So how do (did) I struggle with my resistance?
I came up with this list of the ways in which I related to the resistance.
- I hate my resistance
- I try to get around my resistance
- I avoid my resistance
- I worry about my resistance
When I gave these ‘struggles’ the zero to ten scores I was surprised to see how much energy was invested in them.
- I hate my resistance 7/10
- I try to get around my resistance 8/10
- I avoid my resistance 9/10
- I worry about my resistance 8/10
What could I do to release this wasted effort?
If I were to follow the standard tapping protocols I could tap for each of those statements, search for significant emotional events where those beliefs / feelings were formed and slowly but surely clear them out.
I decided to adopt a different approach.
Since my resistance to the resistance represents an emotional ‘attachment’ to the resistance I decided to use the Intention-based Energy Process (IEP) developed by Steve Wells which simply and directly addresses the emotional attachment to issues.
In this context ‘attachment’ means our emotional involvement with the issues. If you are hanging on to an issue or trying to push it away you are connected with it and ‘attached’ to it.
IEP is designed to release that attachment to our difficulties so we can deal with them more flexibly.
I used a slightly simplified version of his protocol you can find out more about the ‘proper’ version in this recording of one of Steve’s webinars.
There’s no setup statement, I just said “I release all my emotional attachments to X” while tapping on the eyebrow point, followed by a round of silent tapping noticing what arose in consciousness.
I started with:
“I release all my emotional attachments to ‘I hate my resistance'” … tap, tap, tap. All the charge dissipated from that statement in one round of tapping.
Then I processed each of the following:
“I release all my emotional attachments to ‘I try to get around my resistance'” . The charge on that statement was neutralised in one round of tapping.
“I release all my emotional attachments to ‘I worry about my resistance”. Once again the charge neutralised in one round of tapping
So far all the tapping rounds had gone smoothly without any other issues arising. I started “I release all my emotional attachments to ‘I avoid my resistance” and as I was mid-way through the tapping round the thought “I am afraid of my resistance” came to mind. In keeping with the IEP process I fed that statement into the next tapping round.
When I tapped on “I release all my emotional attachments to ‘I am afraid’ of my resistance” I had a very strong physical reaction, I felt as if I had just downed a triple-espresso in one!
I just sat with the sensations for a while aware that something was going on below the surface.
I added those sensations into the next tapping round “I release all my emotional attachments to these sensations”.
The sensations faded and I felt that I no longer had any resistance to my resistance.
Because things had gone so well I wondered if I could apply IEP to the resistance itself.
“I release all my emotional attachments to my resistance” … tap, tap, tap … I had a very strong reaction to this tapping round and the thought “Oh, no I don’t!” arose.
So I continued with the next round “I release all my emotional attachments to ‘Oh, no I don’t'” .. tap, tap, tap.
After this I felt that my resistance had greatly reduced.
I spent a few minutes feeling pleased with myself and realised that there was another issue that was related to the resistance. Now the resistance was reduced I was aware of my inertia.
Inertia is the force that has to be overcome to get things moving. If you have ever had to physically push a car you will know that the hardest part is getting the car to move in the first place, it gets easier once the car is moving.
I realised that I had a lot of inertia, I needed quite a lot of force to get me moving on any task or project.
So I applied IEP to the inertia: “I release all my emotional attachments to my inertia” … tap, tap, tap. Part of the way through the round of tapping I had the thought “but it’s not safe”.
I applied IEP to “It’s not safe” and as I was processing that statement the thought “I need to move” occurred to me.
On the face of it “I need to move” sounds quite positive, but if you compare the feeling of “I need to move” with “I want to move” you may notice a difference.
‘Need to’ has a flavour of compulsion “You need to clean your room”, “You need to get your taxes done”, etc. As someone who doesn’t like being told what to do, thinking the thought “I need to move” would provoke a resistance of it’s own.
So I used “I release all my emotional attachments to ‘I need to move'”, tap, tap, tap.
I got the sense that I’d finished with the resistance and the inertia.
That was a week ago.
Since doing this process I’ve not felt the wading through treacle feeling and I’ve been getting stuff done. It’s still an effort to do stuff but that’s just the effort of the thing that needs doing not the thing that needs doing + the resistance to doing it.
I think that is a good result for half an hour’s tapping (that is a British understatement).
Needless to say I think Steve Wells’ Intention-based Energy Process is a great invention:
- It is simple in principle
- You can start global, the aspects will unpack themselves naturally.
- It works well with ‘vague’ issues that can be hard to unpack in other ways.
- You don’t have to go looking for specific events to process
- A few rounds of tapping is usually enough to get a result (that could just be me, your mileage may vary).
It is fascinating to me that at no time did I tap directly on the resistance or inertia, just my attachments to them. Non-attachment allowed them to change, as a Buddhist I shouldn’t have been surprised.