A number of years ago, I heard the saying, ‘what you resist, persists’. When I first heard it stood out but it didn’t really mean much, but as time has gone by and my understanding of it has changed, it has gradually come to mean a lot.
Anyway, a few days ago I came across this quote whilst I was looking through Carl Jung’s work. I have been amazed by his quotes over the years and I was surprised that this quote, if not the concept, was created by him.
A longer version of this quote is, “what you resist not only persists, but will grow in size.” Taking this into account, if someone doesn’t want to experience something, just about the worst thing that they can to do is to resist it.
What they will need to do is to take their focus and energy away from what they don’t want and to direct it towards what they do want. But, while this may be the case, it goes against conventional wisdom.
In general, it is believed that if someone doesn’t want to experience something, they need to do what they can to change it. On the level of the physical, this makes sense; if someone has a table that is in the wrong place, they will need to use their energy to move it somewhere else.
One is then focusing on the problem and using their energy to solve it. In this case, not facing what is going on and purely focusing on where they do want the table to be is not going to solve anything.
However, when it comes to the unconscious mind and the universe as a whole, there is no such thing as negation. In other words, it doesn’t matter if they don’t want something or are trying to change something, as they are still energetically feeding into it.
Ergo, consciously they will be clear about what they don’t want, but at an energetic/emotional level, they will be sustaining the very thing that they don’t want. And through putting so much energy into what they don’t want, it will stay around and expand.
Trying to resist and to change something may seem like the right thing to do, yet it will be the wrong thing to do. This approach is going to lead to a lot of anger and frustration and one could believe that they have no control over their life.
Still, if this approach has permeated the society that one lives in, why wouldn’t they behave in this way? In addition to how this conventional wisdom affects individuals, there is also the impact it has on different causes.
Changing the World
For example, it is not uncommon for an organisation to say that they are fighting ‘poverty’ or ‘inequality’. Once again, energy is being channelled into resisting what is not wanted - as the word ‘fighting’ denotes – and this just leads to an increase of what is not wanted, keeping the old reality alive in the process.
What would far more fruitful would be to focus on creating more wealth or equality. This way, an organisations focus and energy won’t be feeding into what is not wanted and more of what they do want will be able to manifest in the physical realm.
With that said, is there an area of your life that hasn’t improved because you have tried to change or resist something instead of putting your energy and focus into what you do want? If so, there will be no need for you to shame or blame yourself; this is simply about you becoming aware of what is going on and making the necessary changes.
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Oliver JR Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 25 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.