You may think of nonresistance as an indifferent, spiritless yielding to whatever occurs. You may think of it as a teaching fit only for the unfit, and as a practice suited only to those who are incapable of self-defense.
If you so think, you wholly miss the meaning of the word and of the act. Nonresistance is stronger than resistance; its practice requires more mind capacity than is required for resistance; its appeal is to the divine thing in you. It is the essence of God.
You may think of resistance as the virility that asserts, attains, and maintains dominance. You may think of it as a teaching that will make you mentally strong, and as a practice that will gain for you the plaudits and the prestige accorded to the powerful.
If you so think, you wholly accord with the ideals of the fictitious world. Resistance is not strength; it is the weakness of ignorance that matches the puny personal against the all-conquering impersonal. Though it prevail for a day, a year, a century, it finally will fail. You, who survive the universes and inhabit eternity, should array yourself on the side of things eternal. You should know that a weak man fights and that a strong man governs himself to higher purposes; that the appeal of resistance is to the beast; that its essence is diabolic.
You may think of resistance as the clash of armed forces; as Titan writhing in the grip of Titan; as the opposing of human devices to the
moods of nature; as the bitter wrangling of verbal controversy. All these are forms of resistance. They are indicative of another form of resistance in which they have their beginnings. They are the surface ripples of a mighty current agitated by the fiction of swift tide and stony channel.
Resistance means, "To oppose ... by inertness or active force, physically or mentally."
You mentally resist more than you physically resist. You feel that you so much respect yourself that you would not engage in a fisticuff or in a cheapening quarrel. But for all this fastidiousness in your surface life, you may mentally resist with a fierceness that has on the temper of your life and on the material of your body an effect more demoralizing than that of pugilistic or brawling resistance.
Mental resistance is mental opposition; it is the animus that gives rise to physical and to disputatious oppositions. It is the spirit that steels your mind to rule or to destroy, that sets you as adamant against or for a thing; that diffuses in your consciousness a pugnacity that banishes mental quietude. Mental resistance is the fact and the act in all the resistance that you exercise.
Hurts are produced by resistance. It always takes at least two to make a quarrel. If you resist in any way, you make yourself a candidate for bruises, for buffetings, for postponements.
The things that you meet in life do not hurt you. They are powerless to affect you. But your reaction to them may hurt you. If you resist by active opposition, you most certainly will be hurt. Even though
you be acclaimed the victor, you will be scarred by the wounds of the contest. You will be hurt to the measure of the hurt that you would bestow; invariably you will be hoist by your own petard. You built your petard for hoisting purposes. In the relation of reaction to action, the instrument devised for opposition will oppose you. Carrying the teachings to a practical application, you may wish to ask in regard to physical oppositions, "Suppose that I am in unfamiliar territory; it is pitch dark; I run into a stone wall, and am hurt. Why am I hurt?"
The obvious answer to the question is, "The physical opposition of your body to the physical opposition of the stone wall produces the hurt." But there are other oppositions more potent than those. The impact of your body against the wall sets into action a sequence of thoughts, all of which may be resistant. Your mind flares in resentment against the darkness, the strangeness, the complement of circumstances that eventuates in the collision. Also, your instinctive thought is, "The wall is hard. Of course I shall be hurt." Resisting the teachings of nonresistance, you ask, "Am I to dissolve my body, in order that it may not resist the wall? Or should I dissolve the wall, in order that it may not resist my body?"
The nature of your mental reactions on striking the wall causes you to be hurt.
You are capable of developing nonresistance to a degree that will render your flesh impervious to hurt. Thousands of persons know how to be nonresistant to spattering drops of boiling oil, and are
unhurt by them. Thousands of persons are practicing the nonresistance that protects them from taking cold on being drenched by chilly rain. Thousands of persons know how to defer hunger and thirst; to have crushed fingers assume normality on release; to hold so calm a poise through nonresistance that the flesh registers no hurt in experiences that produce intense hurt in those who resist.
Out of my own experience with the protective nature of nonresistance, I give you the following:
I was due at an evening entertainment. I had turned off the lights and had reached the door. Then I remembered that my ticket was in a drawer of my desk. Without putting on the lights, I returned to my desk, stooped to open the drawer. I was moving rapidly. My cheek bone came into violent contact with the pointed back of a chair. I saw stars; I saw moons and suns; I saw the whole of the Milky Way.
Instantly I put my hand over my cheek, and said, "Let us see what my faith, coupled to the willingness of God, will do in the matter."
There was no hurting. Ordinarily I would have carried for days the mark of that encounter. There was a slight graining of the skin, but no redness, no bruise, no soreness. Had I made a fist and struck the chair, I should have had a discolored face and a blackened knuckle. As it was, the encounter left no visible reminder.
Should the blow on my face be repeated would the immunity from hurt be repeated? Not unless I again instantly could make myself nonresistant.
Mental resistance is the act of receiving hurt. Mental nonresistance is the act of refusing hurt.
The essence of nonresistance is unity. You are not isolated from the rest of the universe. You are an indispensable part of the universe, and as such the universe loves, protects, and cherishes you. In so caring for you the universe is self-preserving. You are safe. You are inconceivably valuable. Nothing opposes you. You are in the midst of friends.
The practice of nonresistance becomes easy when you take the attitude toward the universe in entirety and toward each entity of the universe in particular that the universe takes toward you. The universe is not isolated from you. It is indispensable to you, and as such, you love, protect, and cherish what it contains. Whatever of altruism distinguishes your attitude in this respect, there is a practical side to the attitude; the practical side is self-preservation.
The universe is safe. It is inconceivably valuable to you. You oppose nothing. You are one of the friendly host that environs all friendly things.
Nonresistance is not the line of least resistance. By following the line of least resistance you may be able temporarily to evade a responsibility. But no responsibility can forever be avoided. If the thing be disagreeable in contemplation, cease to contemplate it; go out to meet it, serenely nonresistant. You will find that your passage through it will be as uneventful as the passage of the Israelites between the walled waters of the sea. The line of least resistance may be the trek of the sea. The line of least resistance may be the trek of the coward. Nonresistance is the triumphal highway of the hero of the universe -- the
man that has won consciousness of his identity, his place, his everlastingness.
When you are nonresistant you do not oppose, mentally or physically. You are insured against the friction of resistance. Mental resistance excites your nerves, makes them tense, burns them out; you become irritable, apprehensive. It saps the fluids of your body, and makes your flesh sensitive. Your life takes on two interests: defense of what you call your rights, and defense of your body. Mental resistance challenges to warfare all the phantoms of the fictitious world. Nonresistance cancels all these, and brings you tranquillity in place of perplexity.
Nonresistance means not to oppose, mentally or physically. In nonresistance there is no misuse of power through combativeness or through defensive tactics. The strength of all your gifts can be turned to the creation of harmonies.
Nonresistance is the defense against which no attack can be launched. To the material and to the nonmaterial antagonists bred of resistance, it is as a cloak of light, impenetrable to eyes that see only in darkness. Shielded by the cloak you proceed with your mission. Nonresistance commands omnipotence. The strength of Jesus was in His nonresistant attitude toward God. "I am meek and lowly in heart," (Matt. 11:29) He said, not in any way opposing the only power that He recognized. He avowed that He was not doing the will of man, but that He was manifesting the will of Omnipotence as testimony of Omnipotence in the realm of impotence. "They crucified Him, therefore so much for
nonresistance," do you say? Those who tried to oppose Him could do no more than oppose their own ideas of Him. They could not find Him; they never so much as looked upon Him. He was hidden in the dazzling cloak of light that their eyes could not penetrate. Borne by the wings of Omnipotence, swathed in the light of heaven, He proceeded toward His objective. Had He resisted there still would have been Golgotha, but there would have been no Easter morning in the garden of Joseph.
In any warfare in which you find yourself engaged you are the one who wars and the one who is warred against. You war against you own thoughts of nature, of people, of life. The universe is at peace. Your skirmishes are on the surface; they do not reach into the heart of life. If you think that you hate others you hate merely what your imperfect vision claims to see in others. If you distrust others, your distrust is proof that you doubt the integrity of the universe. If you resist anything, you but resist the opinion that you have formed in relation to that things.
Only sophistry or ignorance would argue that the teaching here given incites to acts banned by the law. Nonresistance fulfills the law of the universe. When you cooperate with the law of the universe, you easily and naturally keep step with the law in all realms of your experience. You obey without wrangling; your understanding of the laws that operate in the real world gives you patience, and even sympathy, with whatever tentative measures may be adopted by worlds not wholly real. Living in
the consciousness that your interests and the interests of the universe are identical, adjustment precedes every act. Nonresistance preserves and prospers you.
You resist whatever you oppose, criticize, or resent. When you begin to practice nonresistance you find that you have been resisting in more ways than you would have enumerated. You find inconsistencies, contradictions. You learn that nonresistance applies where you would not have it apply, quite as thoroughly as it does where you would have it apply. Perhaps you are one of that large number who aver that they worship God in nature. If you worship God in nature, you worship Him in barren waste and in pestilential fen, as truly as you worship Him in majestic forest and in sunny meadow. If you worship God in nature, your vision penetrates the fictitious and discerns the real.
If you worship God in nature, you worship Him in weather, in cold that numbs your flesh and in desert blast that drives the stinging sand against your parched cheek; in prolonged rains, in droughts that sear the landscape, in lashing blizzards that obscure your path and push you into unknown regions, in hurricanes on land and on sea. If you resist, resent, grumblingly flinch before any of these, you do not worship God in nature. Nonresistance renders you impervious to the moods and to the inclemencies of weather. The Psalmist, knowing the value of nonresistance in a land semitropical, said, "The sun shall not smite thee" (Psalms 121:6).
If you have been ill for a long time, you resent the pain, the feebleness, the seclusion imposed. You
begin to recover; everyone is delighted; your friends felicitate you. Improvement continues; matters begin to move in normal routine. The tender attentions, the solicitous inquiries concerning your state, cease. You miss the deferences that you have been receiving; your memory is not yet cleared of your recent experiences, and you feel that after all you are not so well as people think you are. There are occasional recurrences of former symptoms, former sufferings. But your friends do not regard them seriously; they know that you are recovering. You feel that the world is callous; you are hurt, piqued. You resist returning health because it quenches the spotlight that has been playing on you. The state of your feeling is that of the woman whom a friend of mine tried to encourage:
The woman had been ill. She had recovered sufficiently to appear on the street. Meeting her, my friend said,
"Why, you're well again! How splendid!"
The woman said, "No; I'm not well."
My friend was puzzled, but hoping to make an encouraging suggestion, spoke of the change in the woman's appearance: "But you certainly are looking well."
And the woman who a short time previously had been confined to her home with illness, but who was now abroad attending to shopping concerns, answered peevishly, "I don't care how I look; I guess I know how I feel."
If you consider yourself poor and if you also resist the poverty that you have brought into your
life, you will have double work in winning your supply: You will have to dismiss the consciousness of poverty and you will have to become nonresistant to supply. So long as you treat poverty as an unavoidable experience, poverty will thrust its gaunt form before your eyes and will snivel in rags by your side. If you ask how you can become nonresistant to supply, the answer is:
Supply is a part of the universe; you are a part of the universe. The unity that prevails in the universe makes you and supply to be one.
If you criticize the religious faith of anyone, you resist his faith. Resistance to religion in any form makes you non religious. Religion binds; it does not separate. In every religion there are points that you can accept; the accepted points bind you to every individual who believes the religion in its entirety. The monist believes that one principle works in the universe; the deist believes that God exists; the Christian believes that God is and that He manifests as Christ. In generalization an essential unity appears in the three, but nonessential separateness of detail has been emphasized. Through emphasis of detail absence of unity seems apparent. Resistance centers on detail; nonresistance accepts the generalization. If you agree where you can agree and refrain from considerations of points that you do not accept, you keep unity with the universe. Agreement is feasible when your mind seeks agreement. That truth was first brought to my mind in the incident which I here relate:
The prayer meeting was open for expression of
faith on the part of the laity. Consequently I spoke.
After I had concluded a man in the congregation arose. He said that he endorsed everything that Miss Shanklin had said. Then he proceeded to review particular statements on which he said he agreed. If I understood what he meant he had not understood what I meant. But he said that he agreed with me. Mentally I said, "Good; I don't know what he means in those particulars in which he says he agrees with me, but if he is willing to agree, we will agree."
At the conclusion of this talk a woman arose. She said that she wished to express her approval of all the matters wherein Mr. Blank had supported what Miss Shanklin had said. Then she proceeded to review the points which she endorsed. If I understood what she meant and if I understood what Mr. Blank meant, this woman had not understood what either Mr. Blank or I had said. But she said that she agreed with us, and this statement I considered a sufficient basis of unity. Mentally I said, "Good, again. If the two of them understand me I do not understand either of them. But they say that they agree with me. So we will agree, whether we agree or not."
Always there is ground for agreement. If you do not find that ground, grant its presence; agree or withdraw in peace. Resistance will fret you, throw you out of correspondence with your association. When you are nonresistant your associations are fricitonless, and your growth is unaccompanied by pain.
Nonresistance is not mere tolerance. It includes none of the assumed superiorities of the personal mind. It is a positiveness that offers no opposition, that does not take account of opposition. Being nonresistant, you do not feel yourself of higher grade than others. You do not consider differences; you consider likenesses. You have no enemies, because you are not an enemy. You do not consider differences; you consider likenesses. You have no enemies, because you are not an enemy. You do not war with nature, and nature is peaceful toward you. The energies of your body are adjusted to opportunities. You feel the glow of heaven's lasting summer within the frost that tingles your flesh, the coolness of mountain airs within the sirocco's breath. You can run without being hurried. You can perspire without being hot. You rest, not because you are exhausted, but because you would have released in you the reservoirs of that strength to which nonresistance holds the key. You can surrender and be victor.
If by "having insomnia" you have been resisting the repose that should come at night, you can through nonresistance make the wakeful hours a trysting season with your Lord; peace and the needed sleep will come. If by "working too hard" you have been resisting your work, you can by nonresistantly waiting on your Lord make His capability your capability; then work and strength will be brought to a parity. If by trying to string too many beads on the thread of time you have become resistant to the limitations of days, you can by nonresistance work in the amplitude of eternity.
Nonresistance is ownership. What you love and enjoy is yours, regardless of what titles are held,
regardless of who holds the titles. If you resist the fact that the thing is not yours as a matter of manifest possession, you deny the essence of the thing.
When you do not resist what you call your mental limitations, the boundaries of your consciousness expand, and the veiled intelligence discloses itself.
If you are nonresistant toward years the passing of the years will not age you. You continue, but you do not grow old. Your life is transferred from time to eternity. Death is not hailed as the crown of life nor dreaded as the punishment for sin. It ceases to have a place in your mind. States of consciousness come, are succeeded by other states, but you do not die; you continue to live.
When you are nonresistant toward your good, your good runs to meet you. I have found that I never win until I become willing to do without the trophy. I have learned to say to whatever seems worth having, "If you do not want me as much as I want you, I do not want you at all. I can do without you, and sorrow not; but I will welcome you if you come. Take your choice. It does not matter to me."
This declaration or any declaration of similar spirit must be wholly sincere, or confusion and disappointment will follow its use. Sincerely avowed, what is worth while responds; what is not worth while fades from consciousness.
Do not let yourself become so important to yourself that you come to consider yourself the guardian of the morals and the rights of the race. You are to work with all law, but do not be agitated for the
sanctity of any law. You know that the spiritual law never is defeated; it operates regardless of your approval or disapproval; therefore, you do not have to invoke its action in any case. You know that the social law automatically penalizes or rewards; you do not have to set it into motion. You know that the civil law has ample machinery for the enforcement of its mandates; you need not be exercised for its survival or for its effectiveness. If you are at all wise, you will keep yourself clear of the bigotry that rejoices in punishments or that decrees punishments. Emotional resistance to illegal acts is a merciless weapon that the law of mind will turn against you. "Neither do I condemn thee," (John 8:11) said purity to impurity. By that sweet act of nonresistance was revived the drugged virtue of the sinner, who then forsook sin.
Do not flatter yourself into thinking that people persecute you because of your superiority. You will not be persecuted if you do not accept persecution. The fact of persecution may be wholly within yourself, a reaction that indicates how you feel toward one whom you acknowledge as your superior. Few criticisms will be made of your faith if you really know your faith and consistently live it. The world is little interested in what you believe. It is tremendously interested in what your belief causes you to do.
Do not resist persons' opinions of you; do not form opinions of persons that will cause them to resist. If you refrain in these respects, peace will flow from you and to you. Your responsibility begins and ends with yourself. The coming act will be
your choice; with it you have all to do. The act that was is with God; with it you have nothing to do. Say to naughty Nero, smirking under the red night skies, "Go on with your bonfires, but don't expect me to stay awake to look at them. I've work to do tomorrow and I need my sleep."
Do not resist your experiences by being ashamed when you have not known how to let God deliver you. When you say of any matter, "I have not yet demonstrated," the reason for the delay is apparent to one who knows the source of demonstration. The demonstrator demonstrates himself. When "I" demonstrates, it demonstrates itself; that self is the personal; it federates with time and time involves postponements. Do not oppose God by trying to demonstrate yourself. Then God will demonstrate Himself; His demonstration will be of the nature of a miracle in your life.
Do not resist ridicule of your confidence. One who does not accept, "with God all things are possible," (Matt. 19:26) resists Omnipotence. Do not resist that one's resistance. God does not need your defense. Your defense of yourself weakens you by disintegrating your moral structure. One, speaking from the who consciousness, may ask you,
"So you really believe that nothing is impossible with God?"
Speaking from the what consciousness, your answer,
The questioner then thinks that he has you in a corner. He asks,
"Can God make a two-year old tree in a minute of time?"
Your answer is, "Yes; and He can do even better than that. God does not work with time, but with eternity, where His works have been completed from the beginning. God's two-year-old tree already is made; always has been made; but with your present focus on life it will take you two years to see it."
Considering resistance in the sense of opposition by inertness, you will see that there are instances when resistance has virtually the meaning of nonresistance. This use is rare; it is employed to indicate dismissal from mind and nonrecognition in action. In nearly all cases, resistance means to oppose by physical or by mental force. The exceptional use serves the valuable purpose of reconciling two New Testament statements that otherwise appear contradictory. Jesus taught, "Resist not him that is evil" (Matt. 5:39). The meaning is, do not oppose by active force anyone or anything at any time. If you oppose, there will be a reaction as opposition; there will be war. James taught, "Resist the devil, and he will flee from you" (James 4:7). The meaning is ignore evil and it will not attack you; it will retreat from your presence until it becomes lost to you. This use of resistance is equivalent to the denial that is taught by metaphysicians.
Nonresistance will protect you from all the assaults that can be attempted by the inhabitants of the fictitious world. It will open for you and entrance to the world of vital potentialities, the living soul and God. If a times it seems that the phantoms of
the fictitious press close, shut your eyes to them and call to the shining presences of the real world. When you again open your eyes, you will see that you are encompassed by the hosts of heaven. If along the way to your objective the floods pour their strong tides against you, stand still for a time; set your mind in prayer and let the currents flow. They will drain by. You will not have been delayed.
The heart of the test is this: Can you hold yourself levelly nonresistant toward apparent injustice directed toward you?
The unjust act ceases to be unjust when you accept it by resisting. If you do not resist, the act is not unjust to you, because you do not receive it. The act then belongs wholly to the actor. Let him dispose of it as he will. To him, only, his intent is real, and you can afford calmly to ignore the entire proceeding. As you value your peace of mind, your progress, never let yourself be hurt by what anyone does.
Do not let yourself consider retribution, to be administered by yourself or by the law. Do not betray yourself by the reproach, "I thought that he was my friend; but he is not, for he has failed me." If you chose blindly, the failure that you proclaim is not in the one you chose, but in you. If you have felt that you were misrepresented, know this: The lie never gets beyond the lips of the liar, until you attract it to yourself by opposing it. Regard the event as remote in time and space; look on it as purposeless, impotent, if you are not strong enough to keep your eyes away from it entirely. Dismiss the
impassionate personal; let it wait at the horizon of consciousness. Let the dispassionate impersonal take charge, and the event will become for you as if it never had occurred. You will see that you were not hurt; you will learn that resistance is a labor that brings you no gain. Because God is unoffending and unoffended He also is nonresistant. When you become nonresistant no strain can be painted on you; no hurt can find shelter in you.
Pray, "Thy kingdom come." In so praying you ask that the nonresistance of God to motivate you. Your prayer will be granted. Nonresistance will give you easy access to the shrine of your objective. "It is finished."
Pray, "Thy will be done." In so praying you ask the nonresistance of God to motivate you. Your prayer will be granted. Nonresistance will give you easy access to the shrine of your objective. "It is finished."
God the nonresistant, also is God the irresistible. Nonresistance is the irresistibility that without hurt delivers you whenever there is need of deliverance; that wraps you in the shining mantle of God's protecting love; that flings wide for you the portals of the highest heaven; that within the tempest's chant sings the conqueror's anthem. It is the bud on the tree of life that tells of fruits to follow. It is the coolness of crystal waters, without which your soul would grievously thirst. It is the day star of a fairer era in your eternity. It is God living you in holiest manifestation.
You are heaven's nonresistant, all-conquering hero.
The universe loves, protects, and cherishes me.
I am nonresistant to all things in the universe.
Thine, O God, is the kingdom, Thine the power, Thine the glory, through newborn eternities in endless processional. Amen.