Yielding to Change

Have you ever decided to make a change in your life only to find letting go more difficult than you expected? Maybe you need to end an unhealthy relationship or break a bad habit. Maybe you need to learn a new skill that doesn’t excite you. Or, you need to stop being mean to your spouse or avoiding your father’s calls.

You decide it’s time to make a change. You move forward with determination, to do what you need to do. Depending on your tenacity and the attraction of the temptation, you either succeed or you don’t. Maybe you end the relationship but find yourself attracted to someone just like them. Maybe you take your dad’s calls only to find yourself throwing verbal jabs.

The problem with this approach is that it isn’t addressing the problem at all. What we do may seem to be the source of our suffering, but we do the things we do for a reason. No one wants to be a drug addict or a jerk to their husband or wife. We do those things because we have beliefs that drive our actions. Non-resistance is the key to allowing what lives under our actions to emerge.

“All suffering is resistance. The first step in healing is awareness followed by simply accepting what is through non-resistance.” –The Power of Forgiveness: A Guide to Healing and Wholeness

Non-resistance simply means allowing what is to be. You can’t get any traction unless you’re standing on the truth. But it also isn’t the same as rumination, a common response to the understanding that something deeper is driving our actions. Some reflection can be useful but only if we are yielding or making space to see what is really there. Mental activity is often more of a block than a source of clarity and strength because we have been taught that our power is in our thinking capacity;  this is only true if you also listen with your heart.

Authentic and lasting change begins from a place of allowing and acknowledging what is. This form of acceptance makes itself known in the absence of judgment. As we yield to what is, we find a higher-level understanding. We tap into our intuition and strength in a way we cannot when judging and rejecting.

Not resisting does not mean we do not actively make choices or exert effort. The effort just comes from a different place. Like a well-trained fighter or athlete, the energy applied is focused solely on what needs to be done, and nothing else. We do not make declarations and run around telling the world what needs to happen. We do not judge or evaluate the situation. We simply make the changes we need to make, which is, interestingly enough, forgiveness, more often than not.

Developing a habit of non-resistance creates extraordinary power in the forgiveness process. Forgiveness is change. When we choose to forgive, we are transforming our lives in fundamental ways. We cannot change the past but we can change our relationship to it. As we evolve—as we heal—so does that relationship.

Non-resistance is also a powerful way to live. Approaching life with what the Buddhists call a beginner’s mind, manifests a much different world, one more grounded in possibility and beauty, compared to a world where we think we know how things are.

Change begins with yielding to what is. This is both a peaceful and scary experience because what is has often never been acknowledged. The impact of your parent’s divorce or heartbreak in eighth grade may be what makes itself known. Suddenly, we have the power to create lasting change by forgiving what needs to be healed. We try again to be kinder to our spouse or take that class, only to find joy and exhilaration in the process. Non-resistance is falling in love with life just the way it and moving forward from there with grace and gratitude.