Alan Watts was a writer and speaker who shared Eastern traditions in the Western world in the mid-20th century. He is quoted as saying, “Most people walk around in constant opposition to themselves.” As a therapist and coach, I find that he was right on the money. Let’s break this idea down to see what it is really all about and what it means for each of us.
As we move through our lives day by day, there are so many ways that we dishonor what our bodies are asking for in order to stay in good health. We may be tired, but we continue to work or to watch TV. We may need to go to the bathroom, but we continue doing what we are doing for the time being, putting off the body’s natural urges. We may know that when we eat certain things, they do not help us feel better, but we eat them anyway. We may know that a relationship is not healthy for us, but we continue on with it for longer than we should. We may feel that our job is not a good fit for us, but we stay put out of fear.
All of these are examples of how we are living in opposition to ourselves and this pattern creates dis-ease in our system. We function our best when we are living in rhythm with our bodies and honoring the innate wisdom of our body’s knowing what it needs to move toward balance.
Living out of balance and in opposition to ourselves creates more difficulty for us to overcome. Thus, most people walk around making things harder on themselves than they have to be. Our bodies naturally work toward homeostasis or balance, but when we live, day after day, in ways that work against our true nature, this shows up as allostasis, or the stress load that is taking a toll on they system. And this creates inflammation.
This concept of living in opposition to ourselves goes beyond the habits we have around our physical body. Our thoughts and emotions can and often do pull us out of rhythm. We are not only vibrating, energetic beings, but also emotional beings and our emotions are very powerful in shifting our vibration. Our thoughts are tied to emotions and when our regular experience skews toward negative- anger, doubt, shame, fear- we are living in opposition to our innate ability to feel bliss, joy, and peace.
We are creating situations that are more difficult than they need to be as we are practicing the low and unhelpful vibration of living in negative emotions. We can get stuck in patterns of deep fear and excessive worry or of anger and frustration at things that are out of our control or of feeling that we are the victim in our own lives. In our universe, energy moves from subtle to gross and our cognitive and emotional patterns impact our physical bodies. Living in the vibration of negativity and opposition to ourselves in our minds and emotions creates inflammation.
The good news is that once we recognize how we are living in opposition to ourselves, we have the choice to change what we are doing and to find more ease. Redirecting our habits and our mental/emotional patterns will take attention, effort and practice, but as we listen to our bodies and look for the good, we can recalibrate and repattern how we are living. We can shift our thoughts and rewrite the stories that we are buying into in our minds.
This means following through on things like going to bed early, eating foods that we can digest, moving our bodies daily, but also really taking the time to assess our mental and emotional patterns. When we can recognize the ways that we are fighting against ourselves and our lives, we can begin to shift and to heal by redirecting ourselves when we are making things harder than they need to be.
Journaling, talking about our experiences, and taking time at the end of the day to reflect and “close” the day can be very effective in shifting our relationship with our experience of life. Practicing gratitude, self-compassion, empathy, and connection will move us into the vibration we desire in our mind-body system.
This week, start to notice how you may be living in opposition to yourself. Make the choice to move toward cooperating with yourself, your body, and your deepest desires.
I will be noticing and practicing right along with you. Reach out any time to have support in your journey.
Chat again soon,