A new José Stevens Article

Understanding Stubborness

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Stubbornness is one of the two main dragons or obstacles for 2008 (along with self-destructiveness) and therefore it is good to understand how it operates in our current times. Stubbornness is both personal and global and influences almost everything, being a favorite strategy of the false personality to maintain control.

Let’s examine what its all about. The first thing to understand about stubbornness is that we all have it, like it or not, even if it seems that we don’t. Stubbornness is, of course, based on fear, the fear of change and the fear of being forced to do something we don’t feel ready for or simply don’t want to do. We don’t like being forced into anything and we don’t like changing our ways once we have grown accustomed to them. In a way stubbornness is ingrained in traditions, rituals, habits, patterns, structures, and organizations of all kinds. It is usually present when someone says, “But this is the way we have always done things around here.”

Stubbornness is about clinging to a familiar way of thinking about and doing things. Therefore, it is intrinsic to attachment and resistance to letting go. Major signs of stubbornness are calcification, inflexibility, stiffness, dullness, deadness, lack of juiciness, exaggerated protections and safety measures against change. Stubbornness in people produces stiff backs and necks, tight ligaments and tendons, tense muscles, lack of limberness, a tight face, and a set jaw. The eyes are defiant. Stubbornness in organizations and structures looks like a good old boy style network, closed ranks in a crisis, repetition, suspicion of new ideas and methods, and attacks on anyone different or not of the same mold.

Now that we have looked at the symptoms of stubbornness let us look at the bigger picture, the source of stubbornness. We have talked about how this world we live in is a camouflage universe designed by the false personality to eliminate any sign that Spirit might exist. In this fashion the false personality gets to perpetuate its dream that it is real and in control of the universe. Of course this is laughable but still it is desperate to maintain the illusion because without it it has no life, no reality. So out of desperation, among its many strategies, it uses resistance as a major tool. So deep down every human being, except those few enlightened masters, are resistant to something if not everything. Everything that humans cling to is a sign of stubbornness. For example people cling to their bodies, their pleasures, their addictions, their fears, their prejudices, their habits and ways of seeing the world, their resentments and angers, their sense of victimization, their jealousies and envies, their bigotry, their nationalism, their religious beliefs, their dogma, their politics, their sports teams and so on and on. When anything is about to be torn down there are always those who protest even if it is a rats nest. As you probably have heard there are those who stubbornly refuse to move in the face of tornados, fires, and volcanoes. Those who stubbornly refuse to leave jail, the hospital, or the prison of their own mind. Why? Because they want control. They want control over the dream they do not know they are having. They think the dream of their life is real and that it must be preserved at all costs, not realizing that it leads to a perpetuation of misery and suffering. What they also do not realize is that stubbornness is the most fruitless, wasted effort on the planet because in the dream of life everything changes, without exception. There is nothing physical or manifested in form that perseveres. They are holding on to sand being eroded by pounding waves of change.

In their effort to control the dream they end up trying to control others choices and behaviors in the misguided belief that if you control everything nothing will change and then everything is safe and secure. So stubbornness working in people tries to control what children believe and do, what people are allowed to learn in school, the choices that people could make over their sexuality or their reproduction. Stubbornness in religion tries to prohibit curiosity, questioning, and exploration of beliefs. Stubbornness in the form of nationalism tries to maintain a certain self-image in the world based on older ideas of who and what we are. Stubbornness may cling to a flag, a language, a skin color, a gender, a definition of patriotism, a belief in superiority and so on.

What is truly insane is that stubbornness causes people to cling to their fears, their pain, and their suffering. The phrase ”never forget” is sourced in deep stubbornness, the fear of letting go an identity, a sense if victimization, a desire for vengeance, a wish to avoid a certainty that whatever bad happened “will” happen again. The insanity of this is that this approach will insure that it will.

Stubbornness shows up in the clinging to illness, weakness, poverty, and bad work conditions. Just try to take away some people’s maladies, their complaints, their bad luck stories and you will find a strange, no, bizarre desire to keep them alive. Certainly stubbornness shows up in the clinging to treatments that just don’t work and never will.

There is certainly something very strange about the malicious glint in a person’s eye as they announce that the new method didn’t work, that your suggestion to make things better failed. The truth is they often sabotage the new method so that it won’t work, can’t work and then express delight in your failure to change them, get them to be successful, healed, or balanced. While stubbornness is born of fear it also includes a deep mistrust leading to outright anger and even violence. When a stubborn person backs too far into their corner resisting change they can become like a trapped injured animal with fangs bared and claws at the ready. Get to close and you will experience their insane fearful reactive attack.

Now if you look closely you will find that there are pockets of stubbornness within yourself no matter how flexible and enlightened you consider yourself to be. Where have you been most resistant to change? Where have you hunkered down and insisted you were right about not being able to succeed or break a habit. This is a hotbed of stubbornness with you. This is an area of insanity within you. There is nothing reasonable or rational about it. Millions of perfectly rational people refuse to understand that they are creating and projecting their own reality, making their own dream of life that they then believe to be happening to them. So resistant are they to this idea that they have killed off some of the world’s most enlightened mystics and spiritual teachers to protect themselves from such a realization. Are you one of those people that considers yourself to be perfectly sane but doesn’t understand that you are experiencing a very limited dream about being stuck in a mammal body headed for illness and eventual death? This insistence on reality being objectively out there and being a victim of it is completely irrational, actually truly insane when you compare it with the teachings of the world’s most powerful and insightful teachers.

Yes indeed, stubbornness is truly everywhere in this dream and this is what helps the false personality to keep the nightmare aspects alive. It takes tremendous courage to drop stubbornness. Letting go of it is like going off a cliff into an unknown chasm or void. There is sheer terror in the way but on the other side is total benevolence, love, and the infinite wisdom and peace of beingness. You have perhaps had the experience of trying to save an injured bird or one that has become trapped inside a house. Filled with panic it dangerously flies into walls and will try anything to escape your clutches fearing that you will kill them when you are only trying to set them free. Our stubbornness is just like that, fighting, terrified, destroying ourselves in resisting, becoming trapped or caught.

The only thing that succeeds in erasing stubbornness is compassion, patience, and love along with some perseverance. This is what it takes to eventually catch the bird and set it free. We are no different. This is what sets us free as well. Spirit embodies that compassion, that patience, that love for us. So if you find yourself stuck in stubbornness unable to shake lose of it then you can always appeal to Spirit that is very much alive inside you and say, “I seem to be stuck here and haven’t found the way to relax and let go. I need some assistance. Help me calm this terrified elemental body of mine so that it lets go and is able to face up to what the next move is. Thanks. I will be expecting your, er, my help any time now. In fact I feel it already. It is already happening because I anticipated my request. Thanks much.”

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José Stevens

José Luis Stevens, PhD is the president and co-founder (with wife Lena) of Power Path Seminars, an international school and consulting firm dedicated to the study and application of shamanism and indigenous wisdom to business and everyday life. José completed a ten-year apprenticeship with a Huichol (Wixarika) Maracame (Huichol shaman) in the Sierras of Central Mexico. In addition, he is studying with Shipibo shamans in the Peruvian Amazon and with Paqos (shamans) in the Andes in Peru. In 1983 he completed his doctoral dissertation at the California Institute of Integral Studies focusing on the interface between shamanism and western psychological counseling. Since then, he has studied cross-cultural shamanism around the world to distill the core elements of shamanic healing and practice. He is the author of twenty books and numerous articles including Encounters With Power, Awaken The Inner Shaman, The Power Path, Secrets of Shamanism, Transforming Your Dragons and How To Pray The Shaman's Way.