Resilience is the capacity to flow, to bend in the winds of change, and yet remain centred, equanimous, clear and resting in kind-fulness.
Resilience, like antifragility, means we don’t just survive – we thrive in the face of adversity, difficulty and complexity.
The great teacher of resilience is life itself. Either we go head down, build resistance and protect ourselves – or we grow resilience. We have a choice.
There are ‘spiritual’ teachers out in the world telling us we have no free will, no free choice. This is true if you have not yet had the good fortune and practice space to find deeper awareness.
Deeper awareness is found first in the awareness space between stimulus and response.
So instead of just stimulus-response, it becomes stimulus-awareness-response. In fact, it eventually becomes…
…awareness-stimulus-space-awareness-space-options and choice-response-awareness.
If we are still living out the conditioning and patterning of our culture, family and schooling, our choices are made by those patterns. Those patterns and conditioned stories, beliefs etc., may choose well, or not. But we don’t personally know until we deconstruct them and create the awareness-space for authentic choice.
So, eventually we do have a choice. But to find the choice available in awareness-space – the zone between stimulus and conditioned response – we first have to want to. We have to believe it is possible.
We have to cultivate practices that enable us to experience awareness-space. We have to find comfort rather than fear in spaces where we become nobody, where we are not chasing the feeling of existence, running from the feeling of non-existence and not worried about being anyone or proving anything.
There are two kinds of resistance.
One is a defence, a way of creating more and more protection for my self-story. It is like building castle walls. We are desperate to prove something about ourselves or our beliefs or our world right. We have to shore it up and protect what we believe is true.
The second is a kind of guerrilla warfare, a relentless insurgence, a sabotage of difference in an attempt to feel safe and prove that we are okay and above all right.
Yet, we can learn from resistance – in fact, it is sensible to learn from resistance. Resistance exists for a reason, so let us learn from it.
What is being resisted?
Who is resisting?
What is the function of this resistance, what is it trying to do and why?
These kinds of questions help us to understand. Understand resistance per se, understand ourselves, understand growth and development and understand life. It is through understanding that we can see our own resistance and seek more evolved solutions – solutions that allow us to be comfortable and thrive in diversity, difference, the unknown, in complexity.
We no longer have to armour up, hunker down, or sabotage. We can relax into change, celebrate change, celebrate diversity and complexity and drop the fear.
Resistance primarily comes from fear. Fear as resistance is contraction. Resilience is expansion, connection and openness.
Dropping the resistance, we can start to find resilience as part of our solution to managing change.
Resilience is not just weathering the storm – it is thriving in the storm.
The principle of antifragility is that we grow through challenges, diversity, complexity and dissonance.
Resilience is an openness and celebration of life.
Awareness-space is a requirement for the full engagement and celebration of change and of life. After all, life is change – relentless, continuous, unpredictable change.
How do we grow awareness-space and find resilience as a natural outcome of this? I know of three powerful pillars that create a triangle of awareness-space, which are…
- Embodied Awareness – finding fleshy awareness as the body. If there is not awareness in the flesh, there is unawareness, the unconscious patterns of mind and body playing out through resistance and sabotage.
- Meditative depth – finding awareness in the inter-synaptic space of brain traffic. Awareness-space here gives us radical neuroplastic choice, the creative choice of each arising moment.
- Conscious Breathwork – facilitates deep awareness-space as it links body-emotion-mind and environment, and reminds us of the inseparable matrix of existence, of which we are a holon. It also gives us the neurological gears to be fully in acceptance of change, be fully in presence, and also move and change states on demand. Focus on demand. Relaxation on demand. Compassion on demand. Broad and wide presence on demand.
The triangle is the strongest geometric shape. These three pillars support each other and enable us to be the most evolved possibility we can be. And, we are not alone in the world. This capacity for potent resilience is in community. Always.
Building communities and relationships from the base of these three pillars is the work of us consciously evolving our species, in relationship to the ecological integrity of our planetary home.
This gives us a pyramidal shape, the base of embodied awareness, conscious breathwork and meditative depth and the peak of conscious and evolutionary relationship with each other, and all lifeforms of our planet.
This is where the practices become a key element of who, what, why and how we are – individually and together, here on Planet Earth.
Be part of Embody Evolution
I teach the above three pillars – embodied awareness, conscious breathwork and meditative depth, in my Embody Evolution membership. Come and learn with me. There’s a 7-day free trial and you get two live Zoom sessions with myself and the group each week, plus free monthly one to ones, and more. Find out about the Embody Evolution community here.