What you resist, persists.
I’ve heard this phrase so many times and still don’t really understand it fully. Jung puts it another way…
“When a situation is not made conscious, it happens outside, as fate.” ~Carl Jung
The longer quote is “The psychological rule says that when an inner situation is not made conscious, it happens outside, as fate. That is to say, when the individual remains undivided and does not become conscious of his inner opposite, the world must perforce act out the conflict and be torn into opposing halves.”
Jung is talking about our shadow here. The part of ourselves that we love to discredit, disown and disassociate with. The part we don’t know, but once we begin to wake, we begin to suspect is actually driving the bus.
I wrote a few days back on the Buddhist practice of getting to know our inner self through meditation and introspection, the examined life. Sorting through our stuff is not about getting caught up in our story though, clinging to our past to excuse us from following our dreams. It’s about dealing with the stuff and learning to move past it, to live without relying on the old patterns.
But just thinking about our past or present situations isn’t going to help, especially if anxiety and depression are present. As Alan Watts says a person who thinks all the time has nothing to think about except thoughts. We have come to completely over-identify with the constant stream of thoughts that run through our mind when they are really just excretions of the brain. Our kidneys perform important actions too but we don’t over-identify with urine!
Our brain is really good at working things out, but unless we have the tools to change the patterns that have created the current situation, we’re just going to end up in a loop, ruminating on a problem, real or imagined. As Einstein said, you can’t solve a problem with the same mind that created it.
Finding a great therapist is important and there are many great modalities, books and courses out there. But there are things we can do at home to help with the process. I have found that stream-of-consciousness writing works to process and quieten that running commentary due, I am told by various experts, to the linear nature of writing. The mind gets in a loop, and writing it down seems to smooth out the thoughts. Plus I am happy to report that after about 6 months of this daily process (and meditation) I noticed that the “hamster wheel in the brain” was quietened. What a relief!
As an added bonus, I can’t tell you the number of times I have done this daily practice and experienced in the last few sentences an answer to a problem, an idea for a post or story, or an insight into something important. After nearly 3 pages of waffle, a little gem finds its way to the surface! My reward for persevering. Great for creatives! Julia Cameron, the author of The Artist’s Way, started this process around 30 years ago, and has since written more than 30 books!
I am going to throw down a challenge to you. If you are not already, I am challenging you to join me in writing each day, journaling daily in a fairly structured way – 3 pages, long-hand, stream-of-consciousness writing. Writing whatever comes into your mind, even if it is simply describing everything in the room. Whatever comes up and with no judgement and no resistance! Write it down then burn it if you have to, but just write it.
Every few days, the universe sends me messages via the wonderful Mike Dooley.