Something I've encountered a lot as a Hypnotherapist is resistance. Some people don't want to change and so they don't, not straight away.
I used to get frustrated, seeing the same person not progress every week and I would passionately try to make them see what I could see. If only they would do what I suggested they would feel so much better!
I was trying to force something to happen.
There's a Taoist concept known as Wuwei which roughly translates as non-interference or going with the flow. There are times when, I'm sure, many of us experience this state of being, and when we do life is much easier.
It's so tempting to meet force with force, to try and change someone's opinions but it rarely works and uses up valuable energy.
When I advertise my self-hypnosis for anxiety course on Facebook I always get comments from people who seem resistant to change. 'It won't work! Nothing will work! I'm an anxious person and that's that!' Is the general message from such people.
Maybe it seems easier to stay where you are. To completely identify with your problems and even though you feel miserable it's familiar and on some level you enjoy it.
Positive change takes effort and it takes humility. Maybe you're wrong. Maybe there is a way to change.
Until someone decides to help themselves there's little that can be done and I won't waste energy trying to convince them of anything. I've tried that and it doesn't work.
It's the same with Tai Chi. I used to be evangelical about it. 'You've got a bad back? You should do Tai Chi! It's amazing! Everybody should do it!'
Of course, when I stopped trying to get everyone to do it, they suddenly became interested.
I love teaching Tai Chi but only to students that are engaged. If you want to learn then I'll teach you and I'll give you my full attention. If you're not that interested then, unfortunately, neither am I.
Years of Tai Chi practice has taught me to be non-resistant. It is, in fact, one of the most important principles in the art. During push hands we practice staying calm under pressure, staying rooted to the ground but not tense, not resistant. We try to use structural alignment to absorb pressure and redirect it.
The better you get, the less effort is required and so you're not resisting someone pushing you, you are accepting it and gently guiding them off balance whilst remaining balanced yourself.
The more this ability manifests physically the more you find that you embody it in other ways. Interactions with friends and family change. You don't need to argue so much. It's interesting to see the look on someone's face when you don't put up any resistance when you're attacked verbally and you don't fight back. You let them fall into the void. Arguments dissolve when one person isn't playing the game of meeting force with force.
Without being conscious of it, I think I've used wuwei in my creative pursuits for a long time. Music writes itself, Art has a mind of it's own and writing flows freely.
When it comes to self-help there seems to be a paradox. You need to take action. To take control of your life and not surrender to negative thoughts and feelings. At the same time, you have to let go and recognize that you can't control everything.
I make plans but then I let them change.
Many times in my life I've lost bits of writing, deleted pieces of music that can't be replicated, lost money and possessions, and have found that these are moments of learning. When things go wrong you are faced with a choice: Freak out or accept it.
You can resist all you like but it won't make any difference.
It's the same when the weather is cold. Why tense your muscles? It won't make you any warmer. Just relax and accept what's happening.
Change what needs changing if you can. If not just go with it.