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Laws of the Universe #7: The Law Of Non Resistance

Today we consider the 7th in the so-called 'Laws of the Universe,' 'The Law Of Non-Resistance.'

This law basically states that 'What You Resist Persists'

I'm sure most of us have been in situation where something we value is challenged or attacked. It could be a physical threat or it could be a situation that challenges your values or beliefs about yourself or life in general.

According to the law, to the extent we resist, we experience discomfort. The more we resist, the more painful it is.

The origins of this are simple. When we are challenged we habitually choose either of 2 strategies: fight or flight.

  • When we fight, we experience anger.
  • When we flee, we experience fear.

Either way, these are forms of resistance, and both are very unpleasant experiences.

But as we go through life, we are always going to be facing challenges, being forced to 'go outside the box.'  Indeed life would be very dull without them.

So how to deal with it?

The first is as described above: to 'react,' and as I said, this is an automatic, learned behavior that produces a lot of discomfort.

The second is to 'respond.' What do I mean by this?

Where reactivity is simply amplifying the negativity of the situation - fighting or fleeing may work in the short term -  responding has the effect of neutralizing it.

In order to respond, however, you need to use your higher faculties such as thinking and intuition to counteract the emotions of fear and anger.

The first step is to recognize these emotions and accept that they exist. Be OK with them. Say to yourself 'There I am again, doing anger.' or ' I am doing fear but that's OK.'

We are trained by society to repress negative emotions, but your higher faculties are needed to let them happen without this repression. Once you have acknowledged these emotions you need to think your way to a solution to the problem.

Now in a combative situation this may be difficult to do unless you have had training - but this kind of training also applies to non-combative situations.

Take, for instance, boxing. In 1974, the great Muhammad Ali won his fight with George Foreman using a strategy called the 'Rope-A-Dope.' Foreman was considered to be the favorite to win the fight and Ali had to come up with a way to beat him.

Foreman could win by sheer brute strength so Ali needed a different strategy, which was to let Foreman exhaust himself by repeatedly beating Ali against the ropes. He was able to do this because the ropes absorbed most of the energy and minimized his potential for injury. It also preserved his energy to be used when it counted.

Ultimately, Ali did exhaust Foreman enough that he was able to take advantage of it and win the fight. Metaphorically, Ali was 'not resisting' in letting Foreman's 'negative energy' dissipate to the ropes. He used his higher faculties - in this case thinking - to respond to the threat, not react to it.

Often the Law of Non-Resistance is misinterpreted as cowardice or appeasement. After all, there are many passages in the Bible that say to 'turn the other cheek.'

In the lead up to World War II, two Prime Ministers of Britain were guilty of this: Stanley Baldwin and Neville Chamberlain. And many politicians in Britain today have an appeasement attitude towards Islamic Jihadists.

Clearly it is no solution to the situation. As Sir Winston Churchill said: 'An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.' 

In other words, the crocodile will not go away just because you're kind to it!

Churchill recognised the real threat by Hitler to overrun the UK. But he chose to fight and resist, even though he knew that there was pain to be had as a result, including the possibility of defeat.

In what may seem to be paradoxical, his actions could be considered 'responses' rather than 'resistance.' because he decided to show the  British spirit to Hitler - the spirit that showed that Britain would not be defeated.

In this, Hitler saw that his actions would not be the pushover that he experienced with the rest of Europe and modified his attacks. And as we all know, Britain's choice to persist turned the attitude of the country around dramatically, with the resultant and eventual victory in 1945.

So by not resisting we are not being cowards. We are simply allowing the negative energy to pass through us to be dissipated or neutralized.

And by choosing to 'persist,' we respond using our higher faculties.

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