One of the most helpful spiritual questions I was ever asked is this: “What are you resisting?”
I can’t remember where I first read or heard that question, Pema Chodron maybe? Something Buddhist, I’m sure.
But it has remained in my life as one of the most fruitful seeds of prayer in the midst of pain or anxiety I’ve ever found.
What is it that I’m resisting?
The question has the power to stop me in my tracks in real time, in the very moment of my being angry at the world.
And asking the question also asks a second, implicit question: and why are you resisting it?
The subsequent questions ask themselves.
Is it worth resisting?
What would happen if you let this go?
Is what you’re resisting truly a threat to you, or simply an inconvenience, a discomfort, an irritant?
I’m usually awakened at that point to how easily and completely I’ve given myself over to the traditional three corrupting influences of “the world, the flesh, and the devil,” and by that I mean my selfish desires, my loud body and its preferences, and my cranky, needy ego.
I’m usually resentful of a phone call I need to make or a meeting I have to attend, unable to accept that I really will feel better if I eat well and exercise, or mad at my perception that someone is treating me dismissively or condescendingly.
What am I resisting? Trivial, trivial things.
And in the process I am resisting the glimpses of God that God is always ready to reveal to me in the midst of my trivial circumstances, if I would only open to them.
What are you resisting? Continue reading