Pièce de résistance. Why would intuition bring forward that term when contemplating yet another question regarding death? What do we resist? That which we resist is what we most need to explore. Yet, pièce de résistance, borrowed from the French, suggests three different meanings in life: “1) Creative masterwork or masterpiece, 2) Best achievement of an author, artist, representing a major life effort, or 3) Finest part of something, especially a meal” https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/pi%C3%A8ce_de_r%C3%A9sistance. Are any of these definitions applicable to the dying and death experiences? The initial answer came, No! It’s just part of the vocabulary gleaned from a French minor completed in college. Yet, thoughts found the perspective intriguing. Yes! This noun perfectly describes life, death and dying.
Death is our crowning masterpiece, a culmination of the experiences we came to earth to explore. Death brings together our major life efforts—what we have learned, what we have given back, and how we have lived our purpose, recalling that our shared primary purpose is to learn the truth of who we are. Like food, death and dying are surrounded by rituals. Whether sitting down to a glorious meal with traditional table service and generationally-inspired, succulent entrees or witnessing our final moments amid the gifts of others’ stories, singing, and private moments, our intention is the finest, sharing our journey with family, friends, and community. We are not separate or alone, rather loved, safe and at ease; Source is with us.
Until we accept this awareness, we continue to “dig in,” often in subtle ways. Resistance seems to be one of many built-in paths honed by Ego. Justified and well-protected, these paths become patterns to live by. We advocate according to our comfort level. Everything outside of that range is questioned or dismissed, a sign of resistance. Many of us attribute resistance to our strong values and convictions; culturally, we believe this to be a good thing. And, it may be, to a point. It is only when these beliefs become exclusive to any other ways of thinking or being that we experience separateness. On go the masks!
Disconnection queries without facts; births misunderstandings that lead to grudges; withholds forgiveness from ourselves and from others; starts or accepts rumors to abet our own agendas; demonstrates one-upmanship through status, wealth, or talents; creates self-sabotaging thoughts or comments; or assigns blame. This is resistance to “what is.” We believe that these behaviors are acceptable and the “norm” in society. In reality, not only do these behaviors separate us from each other, but they separate us from Source. They are NOT of truth nor of the present moment, which is all we are given.
“The ego believes that in your resistance lies your strength, whereas in truth resistance cuts you off from Being, the only place of true power. Resistance is weakness and fear masquerading as strength. What the ego sees as weakness is your Being in its purity, innocence, and power. What it sees as strength is weakness. So the ego exists in a continuous resistance-mode and plays counterfeit roles to cover up your ‘weakness,’ which in truth is your power.”
~Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment, pp. 215-16
In working toward discovering the truth of who we are, our wholeness, we explore what we resist, that which we mask to the world; its roots; and resistance itself. In the sunset years of life, it is to our benefit to revisit ideas or behaviors that, years earlier, we challenged, opposed, or denied for any reason. A second look now could usher in a new perspective as we approach our inevitable death and those of our loved ones. Research shows that those who devote time today to inner contemplation of their death, experience less fear, fewer regrets, more ease, and more love at the actual time of death.
Last Saturday night I awoke to a queasy stomach, shortness of breath, and overall anxiety. I was resisting my sanity in offering a gathering to talk about all things death-related the next afternoon. Ego brazenly posed questions about the validity of my idea: Why is a perfectly normal woman like you bringing such a “morbid” (others’ words) gathering to Northfield? You can’t imagine that anyone would come (I had four positive and two “maybe” RSVP’s)?! This is a ridiculous idea! You’ll see—it will flop. No one willingly chooses to discuss the dying process and death (I considered those to be inciting words).
Half an hour had lapsed, and I noted little change in my physical ailments. I acknowledged Ego and openly accepted the possibilities she mentioned. So what? Me! Die? was not a life or death matter—even though we couldn’t talk about one without talking about the other! This gathering was an opportunity to bring Death out of the closet. By coming together in community to discuss views, fears, anxieties, and questions about death (and ultimately, life!), we would be living our finite lives more fully. Stories would join us too.
So what was going on in my mind about resistance in general, beyond the hosting of this specific gathering? Introducing an idea that is considered culturally “taboo” by most is swimming upstream—labeling and challenging. Yet my higher Self knew that I had been divinely led to pursue this path as a way to fulfill my purpose of healing and awakening others through words and healing energy—a respectful path of service. Over these thoughts I heard, You are not alone. I am with you. Only two other times in my life had I received words from Source. Grateful for this ultimate confidence, my over-stimulated nervous system was calmed. I relaxed and went back to sleep.
I had been questioning (resisting) the logic of my purpose and Source’s support; it was as if two personalities were arguing in my head. I was not leading with my heart. By yielding to my resistance (that my purpose was misaligned, not valuable), I understood, by contrast, the clarity of my higher Self. Miracles (my in-the-middle-of-the-night encouragement and a successful gathering) of Source followed. The right seven people participated in the Sunday afternoon Me! Die? dialogues. One commented, It was a very rich, meaningful experience. A good beginning.
Inwardly speaking: Recognizing and acknowledging our resistant actions and behaviors allows us to move beyond them and witness our truth.
© 2015 in the thick of things