In a world that glorifies work-addiction, and being in control, the concept of taking the path of least resistance can seem like a copout or a compromise – even though it’s your most powerful choice.
Pushing to achieve results or resisting the obstacles that stand in your way, in fact, limits your progress - only creating tension and inhibiting your growth.
In truth, taking the path of least resistance is the wisest option, which is the way of the Tao. Lao Tzu described the concept of Wu-Wei, meaning ‘without exertion,’ as a mental state in which actions are quite effortless. He talks of ‘action through non-action,’ in alignment with the ebb and flow of the natural world. The aim is to move in harmony with life rather than force an outcome. Resistance causes tension and stress, which incites an emotional and mental response that manifests itself as physical dis-ease. To quote Lao Tzu:
“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them - that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”
Freedom comes from letting go
The act of letting go, allows us to move into a state of flow – the energy stream where we are happily engaged with life, experiencing a sense of freedom. Once you line up with that resonance, you attract synchronistic events that enable you to progress swiftly. It’s when you resist change or are too attached to the past that life becomes a struggle. At which point, your desire to be in control takes precedence over receiving gracefully from life and opening up to love, support and new opportunities.
For your life to naturally flow, it’s important you are willing to yield and be detached. Detachment has nothing to do with not caring; it means taking an impartial position where you remain receptive. The trick is to be humble and stay open to all possibilities. That is the way grace manifests.
“If you realise that all things change, there is nothing you will try to hold on to.” Lao Tzu
Acceptance establishes a position of peace and order
Accepting yourself and the world around you will move you into a state of flow. Allowing things as they are, rather than resisting, creates a space for you to be at peace in the moment. You can then shift your train of thought and attend to what shows up in your world feeling calm and more centred. The aim is to change your perception from ‘critical judge’ to ‘objective observer’ – being mindful of the way you view yourself and others.
Rather than consistently analysing, formulating, judging and assessing, you can be far more open-minded and view situations from a much more expansive perspective. It will help you to naturally develop your intuitive, perceptive abilities to ‘sense’ rather than ‘think’ your way forward - which is crucial to being in a state of flow.
It pays to respond rather than react
There are two positions you can operate from in any given situation. You can either resist/react or allow/respond. Practising the art of non-resistance will allow you to remain centred rather than getting triggered emotionally. The more you engage with anything emotionally, the less open you are to seeing other options. To quote psychologist Carl Jung:
What you resist not only persists but will grow in size.
When you fix your attention on something specific, the energy intensifies in that particular area, and it becomes more tangible. In short: where your attention goes your energy flows.
That’s why it’s essential to stay focused on what you ultimately want to experience and not get too caught up in what’s occurring in the moment. In the same way you approach a change in the weather, move through the process rather than trying to control it.
So the next time you are pushing or struggling to achieve results, follow these simple steps to move back into a state of flow.
The 7 steps to following the path of least resistance
1. Accept where you are in the moment, while you stay focused on what you
ultimately want to accomplish.
2. Become an objective observer - refrain from judging yourself, your life or others.
3. Respond rather than react by staying centred and give up your need to control.
4. Be humble enough to be open to all possibilities.
5. Remain detached and be willing to let things go.
6. Stay open to receiving from life gracefully.
7. Be flexible and willing to change direction to move with the flow.