"On the Fielding Questions Live phone session yesterday—a great session with a wonderful group of exceptionally intelligent and bighearted folks—we spent some time exploring the idea of nonresistance, one of the features of Field practice. This is basic, in our terms, because the moment we’re resisting something, the moment we’re looking to get rid of it, kill it off, or even change it, we’re in a state of resistance toward it to whatever degree—that is, we’re lending the authority of our consciousness to the very thing we want gone, and we simply can’t have it both ways. “What we resist, persists,” as the saying goes. Our other option, of course, is acceptance, and as we state in the Course, “Practice begins with knowing what you want and accepting things as they are.” One woman on the call wanted to know how to live in nonresistance without ending up a doormat. The concern, which many students run into when they first learn about nonresistance, is that others will walk all over them. I explained that this choice to meet the world without resistance rather than through exerting one’s will, has to be applied unconditionally. This means that we’re not in a state of resistance toward anything, including our own truth, toward the truth of our desires. So, if someone asks us to do something, and we check in with our feeling-nature and the truth is no, then nonresistance shows up as our saying no. Within certain widely held and promulgated gender intentions, men may be willfully assertive; women, willfully passive—but either way, there’s resistance. In practical terms, both would come into healthy relation with their will by adopting a stance of willingness, because the truth is we are not here to be assertive or passive, but to be who we are. Clearly, the willingness to be a doormat against one’s truth is a willful denial of that truth. Thus willingness makes us more of who we are, not less.
Living without resistance, we give up leading and follow, but not necessarily outer demands or the requests of others. We follow the truth of our being, and so are willing to say yes when the truth is yes, no when it’s no. This gives us a strength and an authority that needs no defenses. Living in this sort of unconditional acquiescence to the truth lifts from us the burden of trying to manage what other people think and allows us to rest in an intimate recognition that our desires are, in a way, none of our business. They are what they are. By meeting them in a spirit of unconditional willingness, by accepting and even befriending them, we step fully into our own authority. Then we may find that we’ve awakened from the dream that there was ever anything to resist."