Resistance versus Openness

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I picked up a book from Sounds True not long ago, and this morn­ing I read, 

“Regard­less of how much pain or plea­sure the moment brings you, the truth is that you are open­ness. When you resist any aspect of the moment, when you close to an emo­tion, a per­son, or a sit­u­a­tion, then you deny the open­ness you are. You cre­ate sep­a­rate­ness and suf­fer­ing — you do sep­a­rate­ness and suf­fer­ing — even though you may be sit­ting in a hot tub with a beau­ti­ful lover eat­ing grapes. … Chron­ic dis­sat­is­fac­tion is how you sense you are liv­ing this [the tense lie of clo­sure] lie. No mat­ter how much plea­sure or pain comes your way, dis­sat­is­fac­tion means you are resist­ing the open­ness of the moment, the open­ness who you are, the truth.” 
David Dei­da, Blue Truth, 12–13

If you have read my book, This End­less Moment, you’ll know that I am a “pres­ence” junkie. I admit it. Being present is, I believe, the only authen­tic goal for liv­ing. And by pres­ence I mean the inten­tion and prac­tice of being open, clear and aware of each moment, no mat­ter what the con­tents of the moment.

To make that a bit more clear, let me offer the fol­low­ing con­cept, tak­en from Chi­nese medicine:

Every­thing in the world is a dynam­ic shift­ing between yin and yang. 

Yin Yang
Left Right
Female Male
Cold Hot
Dark Light
Down Up
Intu­itive Log­i­cal
Feel­ing Think­ing
Yield­ing Pen­e­trat­ing
Dark­ness Light
Open Closed

Each thing we know, we know because of its oppo­site. And for me, the key dynam­ic is between open and closed.

Ben Wong once said, “All ill­ness is the result of the tight­ness of the closed box.” The closed box is short­hand for what we do to our bod­ies, minds and spir­its when we tight­en and amour our bod­ies in an (always failed) attempt to keep pain away. In a sense, we learn as chil­dren to tight­en down and clamp down, to repress our emo­tions, and to run from things we assume are painful. 

Accep­tance is noth­ing more than phys­i­cal and men­tal open­ness to the real­i­ty of the present moment.

Most peo­ple are “painful­ly unaware” of their hold­ing patterns. 


We are con­di­tioned to make our­selves obliv­i­ous to pain. In oth­er words, we numb our­selves to the phys­i­cal expe­ri­ence of the tight­ened and blocked places, and because of this, it is neigh to impos­si­ble to “feel” our way into releas­ing what is blocked beneath the pain. We feel the pain at an uncon­scious lev­el, but block our aware­ness of it. 

The Chi­nese Med­i­cine sys­tem of merid­i­ans and blocked chi has, for mil­len­nia, thought that emo­tions exist in spe­cif­ic organs. For instance, the “wood” merid­i­ans of the gall­blad­der and liv­er have “anger” as their emo­tion. This sys­tem is actu­al­ly say­ing what west­ern Body­work­ers say – there is an inter-rela­tion between the body, the mind, the emo­tions, and the spirit.

I received an e‑mail yes­ter­day, and a fol­low-up this morn­ing, from a per­son request­ing a refer­ral to a Body­work­er in Van­cou­ver. The writer is expe­ri­enc­ing depres­sion, and is deter­mined to use Body­work to break through the block – indi­cat­ing that talk ther­a­py has only gone so far.

I sug­gest­ed down­load­ing my book­let on deal­ing with depres­sion through a men­tal process I call The Watch­er. This process requires lots of breath and pres­ence. I would then cou­ple that with Bodywork.

I’ll quote my e‑mail in a sec­ond, but I want to remind you of one real­ly impor­tant point. Peo­ple resist let­ting go of past trau­ma. Part of the fear is, as I said above, that if they let go, the feel­ing and the repressed sit­u­a­tions will “take them over.” Anoth­er rea­son they resist is that to let go is also to let go of blam­ing, which means one has to accept that what is hap­pen­ing inter­nal­ly is “mine.”

I sub­scribe to a dai­ly health e‑zine called, “Dai­ly Health News.” On Tues­day, the arti­cle con­cerned how fibroids are thought by some to be the result of repressed trau­ma and emo­tions. I could­n’t find a link to the arti­cle online. Here are a few paragraphs:


Fibroids can be a real pain both lit­er­al­ly and fig­u­ra­tive­ly for many women. Some­times they cause no prob­lems at all, but in oth­er cas­es fibroids lead to uncom­fort­able symp­toms such as heavy men­stru­al peri­ods and pelvic pain. Although there are now many alter­na­tive approach­es — from myomec­to­my (sur­gi­cal removal of fibroids with­out remov­ing the uterus) to ultra­sound to sim­ply wait­ing them out — many women still have hys­terec­tomies (sur­gi­cal removal of the uterus) in an effort to just “be done with them.” 

Why do some women devel­op fibroids while oth­ers remain fibroid free? One school of thought links fibroids with emo­tions, in that unre­solved emo­tion­al issues get “stuck” in the uterus, the wom­an’s cen­ter of cre­ativ­i­ty. The impli­ca­tion: If emo­tion­al issues can get the fibroids there, then resolv­ing emo­tion­al issues may be able to help them go away. 


While no one claims that emo­tions alone cause fibroids, research indi­cates that these tumors are more com­mon in women with unre­solved issues and trau­mas, such as rela­tion­ship prob­lems, con­cerns about sex­u­al­i­ty or a his­to­ry of sex­u­al or phys­i­cal abuse. There may be trou­bling ques­tions about child­bear­ing, which vary from woman to woman. Are you expect­ed to have chil­dren, but are not sure you are ready? Do you have more or few­er chil­dren than you want­ed? Do you har­bor a fear of child­birth? Or has child­bear­ing pre­vent­ed you from pur­su­ing the career you wanted?

Interesting, eh?

I wrote a long e‑mail to the per­son look­ing for a Bodyworker:

As to your depres­sion, I do believe there is a genet­ic pro­cliv­i­ty to cer­tain emo­tion­al states (ala Can­dace Pert — trust­ing you have watched “What the Bleep”) The mes­sage is that the hard-wiring of the neu­ro-addic­tion to a par­tic­u­lar emo­tion­al state can be changed, and takes approx­i­mate­ly 25 days — the nor­mal peri­od for chang­ing a bad habit or addiction.
Body­work allows us to access the places in the body that have tight­ened around the blocked expres­sion of some emo­tion or emo­tion­al state. We hold on because we fear let­ting go — typ­i­cal­ly, “If I don’t keep my self under con­trol I’ll fall into (fill in the blank) and nev­er get out.” 

Car­olyn Myss sug­gests emo­tion­al and devel­op­men­tal issues are par­al­leled in the Chakras. I would there­by locate depres­sion between 3 and 4 — the inter­face between the phys­i­cal and spir­i­tu­al. In oth­er words, If I do not have my

1) Root Chakra — Maslow’s base­line sur­vival needs, as well as a feel­ing of groundedness, 
2) 2nd Chakra — rela­tion­ships, sex, and relat­ed­ness, and 
3) 3rd Chakra — self-esteem 

worked through, it is impos­si­ble to then move fur­ther. Mov­ing fur­ther requires drop­ping the grip one has on “iden­ti­ty” — the ego (the first 3 Chakras) Most peo­ple “hang up” on work­ing these areas through, and the depres­sion is a cel­lu­lar reac­tion to the ten­sion of “non-accep­tance.”

The key ele­ment, we believe, is to own up to our resis­tance to let­ting go of our ego, our pain, our sto­ries, our blam­ing, and even let­ting go of our sounds.

Sur­ren­der­ing and open­ing in Body­work is all about let­ting down the walls that we have built up, let­ting sound out, so that the old, tight, repressed, mean­ing­less sto­ries that bind us can be released. In this process, we begin to see how often we tight­en and close, out of some strange desire to pro­tect our­selves. And all we gain is pain and more and more isolation. 

For us, the key to becom­ing present is to allow one­self to open — on com­mand, so to speak, and the com­mand comes from me. I seek to be open and free, and to offer the pos­si­bil­i­ty of this to others.

From a Chakra per­spec­tive, this requires feel­ing ground­ed and worth­while, (Chakra 1), able and will­ing to main­tain deep and inti­mate rela­tion­ship and full and pas­sion­ate sex­u­al­i­ty (Chakra 2) and full, open and accept­ing self-esteem. (Chakra 3.) And then, we are half way there. 

The next step is hold­ing on to all I have just learned, while at the same time releas­ing my sense of ego pride, and arro­gance, and my need for praise and acknowl­edge­ment. Chakra 4 is all about agape (self-less love) – a love that is about uncon­di­tion­al, unques­tion­ing giv­ing of one’s essence, one’s true self. This is only pos­si­ble from an ego-less state of open giving.

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