Self-sabotage and resistance
Life coaches have the awesome privilege of working with some incredible people on amazing life journeys. The relationship normally starts out by understanding the outcomes that the client seeks. These could be to do with a change of career, or understanding better how to deal with worry and stress. In awakening coaching, we often work on around seven to ten outcomes for an eight week intensive period.
Coaches will tell you what a delight it is when the coaching relationship is drawing to a close, in being able to look back and see how they almost always achieve all of the outcomes that are sought; that those things that the client originally thought were impossible or difficult are now natural and easy. Often the client might even have forgotten what the hurdle was in the first instance. This is the art of learning.
In this journey of self-discovery and learning, however, there lies a very curious barrier. This is the barrier of self-sabotage and resistance. At first sight, this is very strange indeed. Why would a writer not want to sit down and write? Why would somebody who desperately wants a change of career not want to take the first steps, or develop a plan? Why would somebody who has paid good money to undertake coaching not bother with the practices? Why would somebody who is dieting rush to open the fridge door when they get back from work?
The key to anticipating and dissipating this self-sabotage is to recognise that the psyche is essentially fragmented. We refer to the ‘I’ and the ‘me’ all day every day. But we don’t know who or what this thing we call ‘I’ really is. At a superficial level, there isn’t just one ‘I’; one ‘me’. We’re more like a collection of people chattering around on the top deck of a bus. There’s the diligent person who wants to practice and the person who can’t be bothered, who wants to just lie on the sofa and watch ‘Modern Family’. There’s the person who has just done 100 sit-ups down the gym, who then goes home and cracks open the Prosecco. There’s constant tension between these conflicting people within us.
At a more fundamental level, we can move beyond all of this and awaken to our true nature, the nature of pure awareness, or ‘pure subjectivity’ using techniques such as meditation, yoga or a practice we use in awakening coaching known as ‘radical awakening’. When we reach these states of understanding, we discover the infinite dimension of consciousness and from this place we can recognise the fragmentation of our own psyche.
This is why ‘awakening’ is so fundamental to everything in awakening coaching. From this place, we develop the capacity to observe ourselves; we can look back on these conversations in our head. When we do this, we see that our thought is completely unreliable. It’s a whirlwind of craziness. In fact, it’s so crazy that we try to keep it hidden out of sight of both ourselves and of others.
But hiding our own fragmentation is unhealthy. The healthy path which is key to alignment and sanity is to observe the rapidly shifting nature of this ‘I’ and its identity. In awakening coaching, we note down the ‘points of view’ or beliefs that the chatter of our restless mind throws up, the sense of identity, the ‘programming’ of the brain. We can then do a re-boot on each of these thoughts using a process known as radical releasing, which takes off the charge from these points of view.
This clearing out of the mind begins to develop a little distance from all of these fragmented selves, and space opens up within us - space in which freedom and infinite possibilities begin to dance. We stop desperately trying to hold on to these old, tired, used-up identities and within this space, we are able to really go about tackling the objectives set at the very beginning. Therefore it’s the awakening to our true nature and with that the ability to anticipate and dissipate resistance which is the key to achieving goals in the coaching relationship.