The word reminds me of an experience I had the other day. On my morning walk, I met a dog owner with her dog, and we started chatting. After a while, we set off again in different directions. I went home to shower and breakfast, and she planned to continue her walk. At least that was her intention. Her dog, however, had a very different idea of what to do next and lay down. He had had enough and was looking forward to a warm place, probably some food and a blanket to have a nap.
It brought to mind the different ways animals resist doing what we humans want them to do. We all have seen dogs that had to be dragged along. We have heard about cats that didn’t touch the delicacy in the food bowl, even though someone had advertised it as irresistible.
Similarly, there can be plenty of things in life that we resist to accept the way they are: Behaviors of family members, a friends’ perspective, the developments in business, inconvenient road works, politics, the list is endless. We want the world to go a certain way so we can feel safe, comfortable, and cruise through life. We start to complain and get into a control mode when someone or something falls out of line. Our ideal line. Of course, in reality, there is much less we have control over than we would prefer.
Whenever we resist something that we can’t change, the negative emotions related to that resistance drain our energy, the internal battery. It is even worse when we ignore the inner voice telling us to express our needs, act according to our values, or live our truth because we are afraid to rock other people’s boats, hurt their feelings, or fear being rejected.
The amount of inner tension and stress that goes along with resisting that inner urge to show our real self is immense. And it continually drip-drains our energy resources within.
How to stop the leak?
It is helpful to remember that:
1. We may not control what happens, but we can control how we react to the situation.
2. We all are all unique. We are here to learn different lessons; we have different perspectives based on our upbringing, environment, and life experiences.
3. Change is constant in life.
Therefore, rather than resisting what is there, approach the situation with acceptance.
Ram Dass describes it beautifully:
“When you go out into the woods, and you look at trees, you see all these different trees. And some of them are bent, and some of them are straight, and some of them are evergreens, and some of them are whatever. And you look at a short tree, and you allow it. You see why it is the way it is. You sort of understand that it didn’t get enough light, and so it turned that way. And you don’t get all emotional about it. You just allow it. You appreciate the tree as it is.
The minute you get near humans, you lose all that. And you are constantly saying ‘You are too this, or I’m too this.’ That judging mind comes in. And so, I practice turning people into trees. Which means appreciating them just the way they are.”
Appreciating them just the way they are is more than merely accepting. Appreciating that others are different is to see the beauty and value in them being different; to be grateful that they are in our life even though they may have different opinions, different ways of going on about life. When we relate to others with a sense of appreciation, not only are we open to learning from them, we can also live life with more ease and happiness, which recharges our internal battery.