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Suffering is always due to unconscious opposition

Updated: Jan 29, 2023

Opposition is the name of the game when it comes to inquiry and shadow work. What we notice when we look within and explore the programming that binds us is that there is always some sense of pushing or pulling. This is exemplified in a basic way when we notice that there is resistance or a sense of “I don’t want this” which is pushing against something within our experience, such as a particular emotion (“I don’t want to be angry”) or a deficiency pattern (“I hate feeling defective”).

When we go even deeper and explore how the programming connects, we start to see that this opposition runs very deep and creates a sense of inner turmoil or friction. We can get very much stuck in this place of friction and start to feel very hopeless because the programming leaves us really with no options. It’s like telling yourself to “stop” and “go” at the same time over and over again. When this is happening unconsciously, we’re not aware that’s what it is, but we certainly do feel a tremendous amount of suffering. This can lead to significant feelings of depression, a shutting down and giving up because there are competing agendas and seemingly no way out.

For example, there could be a part of you saying “I hate feeling so tired or lazy” but this is pushing against a repressed pattern of “I need to be tired in order to get relief.” There’s always an underlying need to every pattern or emotion, and the resistance is pushing against this to no avail (hence it doesn’t work and only furthers our suffering).

Another really common pattern is getting stuck in a cycle where there is repression of emotion like anger (“I don’t want to or shouldn’t be angry”) which is pushing against the need to be angry. Anger is protective and is covering up sadness, hurt, or fear, so it has a very important purpose. But the repression pattern is trying to push away anger because it seems like this will lead to peace or relief, or perhaps there is a fear of anger hurting others (which is a perfectly normal fear). But the anger itself is trying to keep you safe and protected, which is why pushing it away will never work. The repression pattern is essentially pushing down the need to be safe.

Cutting yourself off from anger only limits your ability to protect yourself and set boundaries, but you can’t just allow anger if there is unconscious programming saying “I shouldn’t.” This programming needs to be explored with inquiry, brought up to be consciously seen and integrated. Seeing your programming clearly with awareness is essential to free yourself from it, otherwise it stays hidden and trapped in the body, felt as pain and discomfort, and when triggered will lead to unconscious behavior that goes against your values and what you truly care about.

So if you notice such opposition within you (like “I need to be angry, but I hate feeling this way”) you can start to explore both sides of this pattern. You can start with whichever side feels more charged, probably the “I don’t want it,” and ask with curiosity “what is this trying to do for me?” In other words, what is the ideal goal of this pattern? If I am not angry, maybe then I will finally have relief or peace. The utility of our patterns is always something basic, like relief, peace, freedom, control, safety, survival, etc. Always trust what words feel right for you, and just making that connection will provide for release. Stay with those words and include the utility, like “I don’t want to be angry to get relief” and just allow those words and the associated feelings until they are neutral.

Once that pattern is more neutral, you can then explore the other side of the pattern and ask “why do I need to be angry? What does this give me in a positive way?” Maybe I get protection, safety, control, etc. Explore with curiosity what the benefit is and allow those words. Notice what happens in the body when you do this. (Quick note: if the pattern still feels stuck in the body, then stay open to there being another utility or benefit for the pattern. There’s often more than one. Stay open to “what else could this be doing for me?”)

Remember, we’re not fixing or changing anything here. You do not need to argue with these patterns to try to change them because that’s only adding more resistance on top and does not resolve it. We need to fully allow the pattern, including what the opposition is, and seeing the utility of each side is the quickest and best way to do this. The body will release the emotional charge when we come into a sense of acceptance with each part of us by seeing what it’s trying to do for us, and the patterns will feel more and more neutral as we explore them in this way.

It may feel strange when I say that seeing the programming is enough because we’re so used to trying to fix and change ourselves (since our culture runs on shame). But it is true in my experience working with many different people that when we clearly see that the reason why we feel stuck is that there are competing agendas, a sense of “don’t be angry” but “I need to be angry” for example, then the suffering and tension melts away.

We get stuck because it seems like you have to pick one side. One of these has to be the right thing to do. But what if you just allow both to be here and notice that they are both trying to help? You do not need to pick and choose. You can just allow and relax, and something profound starts to happen. You start to actually feel some peace.

So whenever there is suffering, you can start to notice that there is always a sense of resistance or opposition. Noticing it, allowing it, and seeing what it’s trying to do for you will quickly dissipate suffering. But remember to explore the other side of it. Whatever the resistance is pushing against is there for a reason, and it’s always trying to help, otherwise it wouldn’t be here.

Stay curious to “what is this pushing against?” or “what is the conflict here about?” Do this especially when you are emotionally triggered and feeling stuck or trapped. The reason we feel stuck is always due to competing agendas or buggy programming. Seeing this is what frees us.

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Nov 21, 2022

That third to the last paragraph ♥️

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