The stronger we resist, the harder it is to change what we do not agree! In English it is said shorter and rather clearer: What you resist will persist!
When we see something that does not serve the purpose – especially at us but around us as well – we either pretend that we do not see it (a momentarily seemingly useful reaction but a toxic one on medium and long run), or we stand out against. If we try to resist to guilty desires, addictions, generally unpleasant things, they will not only continue to attract us, but will become even stronger. It does not matter if we start to be aggressive with them or hate them. Still they’ll grow up! The general principle is: on what we concentrate, we give energy to it (as in the ancient parable with the white wolf and the black wolf).
In the business environment the situation translates into the famous managerial approach, “Tell me what happened, because it is inadmissible and should not have happened!” which precedes the establishment of the culprits and the announcement of the verdict (which, by the way, rarely includes the manager…). Well, what happened really happened, and that’s an undeniable reality! Everyone now knows that! And as if we could turn back the time…! How about giving less importance to these situations (obviously on a case-by-case basis, respecting the regulations, of course)? How about taking immediate action and just fixing it? How about not seizing of or carrying domineering attitudes and punitive intentions (which come “packed” with obviously unwanted consequences – on ourselves and our colleagues and subordinates)?
Internally, things are a little bit more complicated because the guilt and penalties are manifesting into ourselves.
Let’s think over a bit…
When do we realize that we are wrong? We become aware of a mistake later on, in other words, at a moment when – most of the time – the mistake is consumed (we felt its effects, otherwise we did not know that was a mistake!). We are, therefore, practically out of the primary error!
Instead of going all the way to the past, wouldn’t it be more profitable to acknowledge the situation and say: “Okay, I was wrong! Now what? Staying here or move forward?”? What options do we have? Either remaining stuck in a continuous whining (“Oh, my God, I made such a stupid mistake, how could I do that ?!”), or deny or hide the reality and start searching for favorable circumstances, in order not to feel guilty. But neither does this option help us because any justification we find, we actually know that it is just a plea and, slowly, a sense of guilt squeezes and takes control over our behavior. It’s like hanging around with a dead fish in a bag: the smell is getting more and more annoying. And let’s say we alone can resist (for a while…!). But if someone comes around, the person immediately catches on something is wrong with us or around us. And what do you think the person will do? If he cares about us, he tells us what he sees or feels; if does not care about us, he goes away! The person does not even suspect that in both variants he risks getting a stinking fish in the head! And if the person gets it, how will he react? Will say: “Ah! Thanks for the gift, how nice of you!”? Or will he raise it up and put it on our forehead? And so, it is that we are strengthening a state of mind that escalates to a higher level, even more difficult to fight on!
Still, there is a solution: to accept discomfort or guilt, to accept pain, dissatisfaction or sadness in all their manifestations and dimensions. In this process, it would be better to be alone (not to contaminate / inflict / injure others). Its duration is desirable to be short – I don’t know, a few deep minutes, no more, because if we take it for a long time, means depression and in these circumstances another approach is needed. After that, we will get out of there almost effortlessly, for sure! Guaranteed! Because (as I once heard from a professor of neuroscience): “Everything we do in life is governed by the brain to reduce the danger and to maximize the benefits.” Exactly this will happen: by staying in our contemplation, accepting (perhaps self-compassionate) mood, the mind will detect “DANGER” and will start, by itself, alone, to find way out.
NB. From what I read*, it seems that many spiritual practitioners are making their first steps into their journey right this way: they become conscious-dissatisfied with their inadequacy and they accept everything as it is. The more advanced ones go to the next step: letting go.
* I was inspired to write this article by reading the books of David R. Hawkins