The Beauty of Non-Resistance

“If you egotistically say, ‘I will not fight this battle,’ your resolve will be useless; your own nature will drive you into it. Your Karma, born of your own nature, will drive you to do even that which you do not wish to do, because of your delusion.”

– from The Bhagavad Gita

After two and a half years working on my fiction novel, I have acquired a golden rule for writing: don’t resist it.

It’s that simple: don’t resist it.

For example: you may have scheduled to work on Chapter 2 of your novel today, but, for some strange reason, you have this urge to work on the very last chapter of your novel. Go with that urge.

Don’t resist it.

When you start working on that final chapter, you may find that, to your surprise, this chapter comes out brilliantly.

In fact, some of the best passages in my novel came when I didn’t resist my urges and just went with the natural flow of the writing process.

In my experience, when you go with the flow of the writing process, the writing process rewards you.

I know: it seems counterintuitive. Almost irresponsible. Certainly not “well-disciplined.”

But I’ve talked about discipline before: it isn’t a very useful idea for writers. (What makes us writers write more consistently is when we are motivated by love—devotion, not discipline, keeps us writing on a regular basis.)

No. If we do need any sort of “discipline” it is only “the discipline” to not resist the natural flow of the writing process.

Let your heart pour out where it wants to pour out. When you do this, more often than not, the writing comes out brilliantly.

The Beauty of Non-Resistance

As always, this same rule applies to life:

The more you resist life, the more unhappy and miserable you become. However, if you just go with the flow, life often rewards you in unexpected ways.

But the philosophy of non-resistance still seems foolhardy in practice, doesn’t it?

You might be asking, for instance:

“Are you suggesting I go willy-nilly through in life, from here to there, like a frakkin’ leaf in the wind? That’s crazy!”

Well, no. I’m not suggesting that. I am only suggesting that you go with the natural flow of life, which, as you will find, is not “willy-nilly” but is very purposeful.

Look: a flower doesn’t hesitate to bloom whenever the Spring has arrived. Why? Because it knows to follow the natural flow of life– because the natural flow of life is always right.

However, if you resist the flow of life you will often find that you are always wrong—or at least, you will always feel wrong.

Don’t Resist It!

We have a responsibility to life: to fulfill our purpose. Going with the flow of life ensures that we are fulfilling our purpose. Going against the flow of life ensures that we are negating our purpose.

This is why we often feel “blocked” or “stuck.” It is because we are not allowing ourselves to go with the natural flow of life. By its very definition, something that is blocked (or stuck) cannot flow.

If you are blocked (or stuck) then that means you are “out of flow.” Your job is to get back “in the flow” of things.

Be warned: something that is blocked or stuck for a long period of time cannot grow, and its livelihood becomes suffocated.

But don’t worry.

A great way to begin to remove your blocks (and become unstuck) is to start going with the flow of life today.

Don’t resist it!

much flow,


Today’s Courage Exercise

Is your nature leading you in a direction you do not want to go in? Today, instead of refusing your nature, follow it. Go with the flow. Don’t resist it.

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15 comments on “The Beauty of Non-Resistance

  1. Be in the perfect order of the Univese.

  2. I have to say, that this post has a great message, one that everyone should try and adopt. Thanks for putting this out there, a nice little reminder for me, a person commonly going with the flow.

  3. Couldn’t agree more 🙂 The ‘flow’ tends to affect us intuitive types more, I believe, than sensing type people. Not sure if you know what I’m talking about-I mean intuitive vs sensing as in the Myers Briggs typology. I know not everyone like personality typing though so forgive me if it’s a pet peeve of your’s or anything.

    • Ollin says:

      No, not at all. I actually have no idea what you’re talking about, haha. I mean I am familiar with the term, but I never really knew what it meant? Maybe you can illuminate us? Or send us to some place that’ll explain. Sorry, I should probably know more about that. Haha!

      Thanks for bringing it up, sounds fascinating to me!

      • LOL, okay. I’ll post a link because it would be very hard to give a short and sweet description of Myers Briggs. Briefly though, intuitives take in information via the unseen while sensors take in info from the surrounding environment in a concrete way. Of course there is overlap between the two but that’s why I will post the link to someone who can explain much better than me!

  4. Totally agree with you, Ollin. Most people assume because we’re in such an artistic field that it’ll be easy for us to follow our creative impulses, but it’s so difficult with deadlines looming overhead and normal, everyday life tugging at our seams. Try as we may, our anal retentive nature weighs on us, with our artistic urges pulling us in another direction.

  5. cydmadsen says:

    You are such a graceful and effective communicator. Thank you for articulating what I’ve tried to blog about and failed. My post was about the myth of disciplined daily writing, so I looked up the word in an online dictionary. Whoa! How can any of those descriptions be applied to a creative process? They are harsh and punishing words, and that’s not what any of us should be applying to something as essential and beautiful as creation. As you say, approaching our work with love and devotion can’t help but bring about a better experience for the writer and those who read their words. I call it making love to language. It is sensuous, especially when resistance is removed and you slip into it heart and soul with trust.

    I’ve also tried to blog about surrendering to the process. Again I failed. Since that failure I’ve tried so hard to find a different way of communicating what I experienced. Haha! How can you try harder when the objective is surrender? Once I stopped trying so hard, there it was. I remembered my grandmother and her period of mysticism. She did automatic writing, resting a pen on the web between her thumb and forefinger, closing her eyes, and letting the pen and the universe write what it needed. She may have been a bit dotty and used a few tricks of the trade, but it did connect with the practice of surrender. Remove all the lessons and rules and shoulds and oughts and the impossibilities, then surrender and let go without resistance.

    It sounds so peaceful and easy, especially to those of us over-educated in the art of ambition, but it’s hard. Flow is hard. The snake bites its tail.

    I’m so grateful you’re here to help loosen the jaws of that creature.

  6. MarinaSofia says:

    Alas, my flow sometimes takes me down the direction of Lazy River… but maybe I do need to rest occasionally without feeling guilty about it. I know you aren’t really talking about physical rest, but more of quietening the chatter and ‘shoulds’ of your mind. In my case, it’s probably both.

    • Ollin says:

      Yeah, maybe you do need a break. Well, in my experience, I usually just take the rest and then I’m back and ready to keep writing! Going with the flow works for me.

  7. Tammy says:

    I do believe in the discipline of daily writing but think your post beautifully illustrates how to make that real and effective – by going with it.

    • Ollin says:

      Yeah, I think the discipline comes out of going with the flow. Not the other way around. If you force something its far less harder to accomplish, but if you just let it come naturally, it’s a lot easier to keep the writing going.

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