Is Desire the Same as Resistance?

by Michael Simmons on Aug 27, 2009

For the past few months, I’ve been keeping up a regular practice of daily meditation. I do 30 minutes in the morning and thirty minutes in the evening. I also strive to meditate throughout the day.

One technique I’ve been using is simply to observe the feelings in different parts of my body and not judge them positively or negatively.

One result of doing this, is that I start to notice patterns in how my body feels when different events happen or when I’m in different states.

One thing I just realized is how desire actually feels similar to resistance. That makes sense, but I never thought of it that way.

I’ve always thought of desire as a good thing. I’ve thought that to get something, I really have to desire it.

If we desire something, we feel that we must have it and what we have now is not enough. This is similar to resistance in the sense that we don’t want what we have now.

The paradox I’m still processing is, “What happens to the thing you wanted when you let go of desire for it?” My fear was that then I wouldn’t achieve the thing or I would just do nothing. Oddly, I’ve found that letting go has actually accelerated the acquisition or at least not stopped that which I wanted in many cases.

For example, when I first started a business, I used to dream of being on the cover of business magazines for the sake of being on the cover. As I’ve received more media, I valued it less. Yet, the amount of media increases.

It seems the opposite is true the other way. A lot of what causes suffering is our resistance to pain. When we let go of our resistance, our suffering goes down. I’ve definitely seen this in arguments. At the point I stop fighting for the thing I’m mad about and see the other person’s side, the argument ends.


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I'm the co-founder of Empact, one of the leading entrepreneurship education organizations in the world. I'm obsessed with understanding how we all can lead meaningful lives that have a positive social impact. I love probing into the truth of how we experience life. I believe that challenges are what make us grow the most, and I openly share my experiences. Continue reading…