My last post on Why I (Keep Trying To) Meditate included the following passage:
I know that my resistance to meditation is an indicator that it's a healthy practice for me, and the fact that it's difficult for me to do it daily is one of the primary reasons I keep at it. I'm not saying I should force myself to do all the things I resist doing. Helping people deconstruct a rule like that--a powerful mental model, by the way--is something I do in my coaching practice, and I strive to do the same in my own life.
Rather, I'm saying that there are some specific steps that occur in the meditation process that are valuable for me to experience precisely because of my resistance to the practice.
Which prompted Richard Winters to note that it reminded him of Steven Pressfield's War of Art. I wasn't familar with Pressfield, so I looked him up. He's an accomplished writer of historical fiction probably best known for golfing tale The Legend of Bagger Vance, but he also served as a Marine in the 1960s and has worked "as an advertising copywriter, schoolteacher, tractor-trailer driver, bartender, oilfield roustabout and attendant in a mental hospital." What a life!
And I was deeply struck by the power of this quote on his About page:
My writing philosophy is a kind of warrior code—internal rather than external—in which the enemy is identified as those forms of self-sabotage that I call "Resistance" with a capital R (in The War of Art). The technique for combating these foes can be described as "turning pro."
I don't know what Pressfield means by "turning pro," but I completely resonate with the idea that our greatest enemy lies within and that we hold ourselves back primarily through self-sabotage. I'm reminded that in my work as a coach it's essential to meet any form of resistance--especially my own--with curiosity. Just digging in and pushing back harder generates a lot of heat but rarely results in actual motion.
Photo by Bailey Weaver. Yay Flickr and Creative Commons.