Tag Archive | Non-Resistance

Non-Doing

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“What is Non-Doing?”

“I use it with a double meaning.

Non-Doing is Effortless Action.

The conscious and the unconscious mind complement one another. They form one process. The conscious mind has querying power; the unconscious mind has processing power. 

The more harmoniously the conscious and the unconscious mind work together, the better your outcome. If the conscious mind overextends, trying to overcontrol the process, it interferes with the unconscious mind, which produces an imbalance.

When you perform a precision jump in Parkour for instance, the role of the conscious mind is to set the intention, form a clear desired outcome, then get out of the way. The more conscious effort you put in, the less effective you are. Doing, in this case, is non-doing – letting happen. This requires trust.

What we call confidence is essentially a deep trust in your unconscious mind.

Non-Doing is Absence of Action.

Emotions come and go, outside our control. What we control is how we respond to them. 

Unpleasant emotions hold the key to inner peace. 

When unpleasant emotions occur, the default tendency is to resist them. We feel the impulse to do something about them – anything – to make them go away. This however has the opposite effect. The more effort we put into resisting them, the more we amplify them – and the more we deny ourselves the opportunity to learn from them.

What makes those emotions unpleasant are unpleasant body sensations (a big idea I know from Joan Rosenberg’s book 90 Seconds to a Life You Love). That’s what we want to get away from. The implications of this idea are profound. Most of our failings are the result of our incapacity to fully experience emotional body sensations.

What you resist persists. Non-doing, in this case, is non-resistance [<link; medium read]: lovingly, non-judgmentally, and curiously observing the emotional sensations without doing anything about them – they inevitably go away. This builds trust.

What we call confidence is essentially a deep trust in your capacity to deal with any emotional outcome.”

Non Principles

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“What are non principles?”

“Principles expressed with a specific structure:

Non-x

Non-Resistance [<link; medium read]
Non-Action

Non-Desire
Non-Judgment
Non-Expectancy
Non-Attachment (Detachment)
Non-Assumption
Non-Anticipation

Non-Thinking
Non-Doing

They are essentially attention-directing tools [<link; medium read].”

“Can you give a few details on each?”

“Sure.

Non-Resistance is how I called the principle behind a powerful idea:

Suffering = Pain x Resistance (Kristin Neff, Self-Compassion)

The resistance to the unpleasant situation is the root of suffering. (Ram Dass)

Our resistance to pain amplifies pain. 

You can think of it as Action/Reaction. Our attempt to get rid of the pain – the Action – produces a proportional Reaction – more pain. The more we struggle, the more stuck we get. Counterintuitively, the way out of this conundrum is Non-Action

Non-Desire is the principle behind another powerful idea:

Desire is a contract that you make with yourself to be unhappy until you get what you want. (Naval Ravikant)

Desires, expectations, judgment, attachments, assumptions, anticipation… all these bring about imbalance. The practice is to be mindful (and selective) of them, and to gently let them go. This is what their ‘non’ counterparts encode.

Non-Thinking is the practice of disengaging the conscious mind. Another name for it is No Mind. This is what happens when you’re in Flow.

Non-Doing is a counter to our compulsive tendency to do, and a gentle reminder to simply be.”

Non-Resistance

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“What is the difference between Tranquility, Serenity, Stillness and Inner Peace?”

“They all mean the exact same thing. A state of deep calm and relaxation. 

They are different in that they express it using different metaphoric models.

Think of the opposite of that state. (Inversion) We can metaphorically express it in many ways:

– Imbalance
– Storm
– Tension
– Turmoil
– Turbulence
– War

What’s important is the essence.”

“In my readings about achieving that state, I keep encountering three concepts: Acceptance, Letting Go, and Surrender. What is the difference between them? Do they also mean the same thing?”

“Again, let’s focus on the opposite.

Things are in a certain way.
You desire or expect things to be other than they are.
This creates tension. Or, using a different model, we might think of it as resistance.

It is this resistance that brings about imbalance. 
It is desire or expectation that brings about resistance.”

“What is the difference between desire and expectation?”

“When there’s a chain of occurrences, this forms a certain pattern. Through an inductive process, we tend to project such patterns into the future. 

This has occurred repeatedly, therefore it will continue to occur indefinitely.

Expectation is a predictive model – often misguided.

Back to Acceptance, Letting go and Surrender.

Regaining balance is a matter of
accepting what is,
accepting things as they are, without wishing they were different.

Expressed differently, it is a matter of
letting go of the desire / expectation for things to be other than they are.

The third uses the ‘war’ metaphoric system to express the state of imbalance. It is ‘Surrender’ that brings about ‘Peace’. This is the most ambiguous, the least clear in what the practice entails.

There’s a fundamental principle behind all these. I call it the principle of Non-Resistance.”

Spiritual Reps

Flow with whatever may happen, and let your mind be free: Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing. This is the ultimate. (Chuang Tzu)


Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“How can I deal with these negative thoughts?”

“What’s within your control?”

“I can’t keep them from appearing, so that’s outside my control.

I guess what I can control is how I respond to them.”

Always focus on what you can control.

Don’t resist them. Flow with them.

Accept and appreciate them, for they are manifestations of the Inner Obstacle.

Every encounter with the Inner Obstacle is a Beautiful Opportunity, an aspect of the Beautiful Practice. You could call them spiritual rep(etition)s.”