Tuesday, February 06, 2007
The Ego's Resistance to Change
By now you have probably experienced the rebound effect, a regression into old behavior that happens when we attempt to move in new directions. Don't panic. Just let it ride it's course, knowing that you are more than the compulsive response of your ego.
The comfort zone that we create for ourselves is how we maintain a sense of feeling normal, adequate to the task of living. It is a function of the ego to try to maintain a sense of being in control so that this level of comfort can be maintained. But, when we take a look inside and decide that a few changes need to happen, often there is an experience of fear. That fear is you brushing against your ego. It whispers, 'Leave well enough alone, don't bother. It's too much work. Things are fine just the way they are.'
Often, when you open that door anyway and go through it, your ego gives it a push to hit you in the rear end as if to say, 'See, I told you so.' Yet, if you just keep walking in that new direction, the feeble attempt of the ego to keep you a prisoner of your own limitations will gradually subside, unable to reach you. The door is only wide enough to keep hitting you if you remain stationary on the threshold.
I notice this temporary change in behaviors right away when I try to change how I eat. It's about to be spring, and every year at the yoga studio where I teach we do a group cleanse. It's kind of like lent, only different. It's an opportunity to let go of the old and embrace the new by giving the digestive tract a rest. The choice of how to do that depends on the person. It could mean just giving up sugar or wheat for a week. What makes it difficult is wavering on the threshold of choice. What makes it powerful is commitment backed by clear intention. A leap of faith, if you will, that it will make a significant difference in the quality of your life if you stick to your guns.
What makes AWARENESS THROUGH MOVEMENT so powerful is that you learn to confront change as a practice. You learn to test what's safe and what's not. You venture into the realm of the New having assured yourself that it can be done, having tested the waters. You learn to apply the scientific method to your own experience to show yourself that there is another way. So, persist in your quest. Trust yourself. You are greater than your ego and your limitations both.
It's said that the only thing we can count on in life is that things will change. Part of what makes us old before our time is holding on to what once was, resisting the inevitable. It's our resistance that makes us rigid like a horse that braces and will not move. The more I work with people, the more I know for sure that it's our resistance to change that keeps our minds rigid and our bodies, being dutiful servants, simply follow the lead of the mind.