One of the curious things that we come up against time and again in healing work is resistance to change. I say it’s curious because even people who are “formally” on the road of transformation often butt up against an innate resistance to change. This is the dastardly work of the ego, keeping the status quo, telling us tall tales and keeping itself on top…of the True Self.
I started this post after reflecting on the attitudes of some of the clients I work with. I don’t hold myself back in transformative work. I tend to move quickly, push past the discomfort zone and realise results, or at least steps forward, with some rapidity. Being a Canadian living in Spain, I realise that many if not most of my clients and colleagues are not only not open to such rapid change, they are positively mistrustful of it. In my yoga teacher training, we study Viniyoga. This system’s motto is “the yoga adapts to the person, not the person to the yoga”. Well and good. Except when you translate that to mean “put in no effort, you’re fine as you are”.
I often recount, with decidely black humour, my various experiences of training in Spain. For example: I went up to Valencia to do parts 1 and 2 of Yanardana Das’ Cuencoterápia course. We were 15 in the room. In London or Toronto, that would have meant 13 vegans and 2 raw foodists, all teetotal. In Spain it meant lunch at the local restaurant, fish, meat, BEER etc. I mean, in the middle of a tibetan bowl course, you go out and have a beer? Yes, that’s how it is round here. OK, so I concur that on my yoga teacher training course we are pretty abstemious, but….but….the predominant onda is one of permissiveness. I find it hard to square. But also, as a person who seeks stimulation, I find it hard to maintain my own good habits in the midst of such lassitude. So perhaps my great complaint is that I miss the support of a community of seekers who understand the pull of the grape or the bud, but who choose with heart and might to put it off, one day at a time. I look at my friend Suki’s Facebook posts and yearn…
Then I go to thinking – maybe it’s living in the “Olde World” that makes everyone more resistant to change? I am resolutely “New World” in my thinking, convinced that change is necessary and positive, inevitable and desirable. Perhaps the pushing back of frontiers is in my blood? Perhaps the reticence that I rail against comes down to the keeping of traditions. After all, in Spain la fiesta is of supreme importance. Anyone who works the brutal “doble turno” (two shifts) or in a firm that observes siesta knows that almost all waking hours are consumed by the workday. The rewards for such dilligence are pitiful – Spain has some of the lowest salaries in the Eurozone. But, as most will tell you, a fiesta at the end of it makes it mostly tolerable.
I think that the Spanish permissiveness to alcohol and other drugs is down to a deep resistance to change (traditionalism) and avoidance of reality. I am not saying this in a judgmental way – I am just trying to make sense of the world around me. It’s been a long time since I lived in North America…What might it be like over there? Are you more open to change in the “New World”?