This question goes to the heart of the paradox and difficulties we have in knowing how to live our lives.
Struggle is surely necessary for us to resist the negative forces within us that trauma generated and left us with. To give into those negative impulses leads us down a slippery slope of self-disintegration. To support this trying, we need to be increasingly clear about what we don’t want as well as opening to what we really do want. What I see is as we investigate this is that we don’t want self-destruction, and that our deep inherent wish is for Freedom and Love, for saying “Yes” to life. This becomes increasingly clear the deeper we go into the layers of our being.
Yet, the way we struggle can create the negative oppositional forces in us to rebound. “Never tell an addict not to do something” is a powerful truism. Deep patterns of associative connection are hard to break, and when they get triggered are almost impossible to resist. We need to de-sensitise the connection and increasingly prevent them from getting triggered at such an engrained level. This is about staying connected to what we do want and therefore our wish to resist. This means struggling with keeping our heart, head and body connected and integrated as well as finding support from whatever quarters we can.
But, whilst struggle is very important, most change emerges organically from seeing, from observation and insight and understanding. The only “doing” we can really “do” is to look, and to observe and face. To gain our Freedom, to open to Love, we need to take responsibility for ourselves, we have to face the reality of ourselves, which can be a very tough thing to do. Our hearts (and heads and bodies) are closed because we are avoiding the hurt, pain and distress that we buried due to traumatic experience. But living differently can only emerge “organically”. The self has a deep evolutionary wish to heal and grow and will do so whenever the right conditions make it possible. Giving the self the “data” it needs, the attention and determination and patience it needs, and change happens. Living differently is not something we can “do”, our ego is not that powerful. If it appears to be, the changes we make are superficial and likely to have their own compensatory consequences.
So, the confusion around struggle arises because we need it and we also need to let go of it, as in trusting ourselves to change. This is not about letting go of self-responsibility – which whilst being in some sense a “lower level” process, still has to be met and accepted – but letting go of control in terms of trying to make myself, or my world, conform to my ego level wishes. This is about trusting in the creativity and ultimate positivity of life. Trusting that life is Good, with its Love and Consciousness and Energy wanting to be realised and embodied. Love is full of forgiveness, Consciousness full of acceptance and understanding, Energy freely given every day again and again. Eventually, this is about taking self-responsibility to another level where we can become aware of how it is our identification with our ego that is in the way, and how it is through opening our hearts and minds and bodies to what is beyond our ego that we can approach transcending it.
So, we live with the paradox of having to struggle, and having to let go. Until that is, we can let go permanently of fear and all our egoic identifications and let “being” just be, until we truly embody living in the here and now.