Resistance Part 1 by Jan Engels-Smith


Our perfect selves exist within us and our quest is to recognize, affirm, and bring it to full realization. We desire to find fulfillment in a unity with the wholeness of the universe and to achieve the completion of our destiny. We strive for the alignment that will empower us to be that which we were meant to be.  However, in even our most committed states and with our energies focused and our minds set, we may fall short of the fulfillment of our spiritual completeness and struggle to continue the effort of personal enlightenment. The universe is a place of opportunity and wonder; it does not create barriers to self-actualization but is a place where the prospects of spiritual fulfillment are real and waiting for us to show up. The universe does all that it can do to help us become aware, comprehend, and accept the ideal state that is our true self.  Where do the hindrances to our success originate? What are the deterrents to our unity with the universal oneness that is the natural state of existence? How can we deal with impediments to our spiritual awakening?

We cannot look outside of ourselves for the causes of our struggles. Although we possess within ourselves the unlimited power to become that which we desire and the spiritual world is an ally in our evolution to finding our true meaning in life, there exists within all of us a life history that has encountered pain, regret, and disappointment and in these experiences we had constructed false images of reality that caused us to imagine impossible obstacles and hopelessness.  Even as we move forward in our spiritual practices, the residues of these past incidents have left negative impressions and they continue to influence our current efforts.  These residual energies manifest in us as resistances (our own, not the universe’s) and our awareness and understanding of them will allow us to address their impact and, ultimately, to overcome their influence on our spiritual quest.

Negative and positive energies produce negative and positive vibrations and, once we recognize these energies, we have the power to determine their influence on our physical, emotional, and spiritual being.  Of the energies that emanate from us, our resistances are some of the most influential and often the most unrecognized. To become fully aware of our resistances, we need to see them as we imagine them (and we often conceive of them as external hindrances), then to take ownership of them, and, finally, to overcome them. I see resistances, especially with those on a spiritual path as taking form in the following examples as expressions of our self-doubt and our belief that we are victims of uncontrollable events:

  • A fear of suffering and physical death that depletes our positive energy.
  • Medical issues that detract from the focus on spiritual growth.
  • A lack of personal confidence and a tendency to be overly self-critical.
  • A smart, capable, and independent nature that can’t surrender its ego and is overly willful.
  • Seeing personal responsibilities as an excuse to avoid spiritual development.
  • Feeling not good enough to deserve perfection.
  • Procrastination and delay of effort.
  • Seeing oneself as a victim without recourse to change.

All of these resistances share many common characteristics, but the most significant of these is their common ironic nature. The irony of resistances is that the hindrances that we imagine as problems keeping us from our spiritual destinies can be resolved by the pursuit of our perfection.  For example, if we feel that we are not able to pursue spiritual growth because we have been ill or because we overwhelmed by too many problems, we fail to recognize that the very act of attending to our spiritual nature is the solution to these difficulties. By giving in to the resistances that we imagine as too great for us to bear, we have forsaken the very power that we have to overcome the problems.  We resist the empowerment that comes with our spiritual evolution because of other concerns (lack of energy, illness, self-doubt, etc.) which we believe prevents us from succeeding in spite of the fact that our empowerment is the solution to our concerns.  When we come to understand this simple truth then we have the means to address our resistances.