7 Words Study: Yes
You Embrace Situations
Yes acts as a guiding light or beacon, towards a path that is available to us, and good. In whatever we do, we always encounter a degree of resistance, because it is a condition of life to have to overcome inertia, yet we can generally say that the right path is the one illuminated by green lights — the Yes sign for motorists. If our life path is mostly punctuated by red lights, delay, restrictions, problems, illness and trouble, perhaps we need to check again whether we are pointed in the right direction. There is value and importance in rising to meet and overcome occasional challenges, and yet a life lived only in conflict is ceaseless struggle and is unlikely to offer a peaceful heart. Yes relaxes tension and leads to peace. Isn’t this the word that we all long to hear — and the one that we want to say? It indicates that we are allowed and that we are accepted. The door opens to us, horizons expand and we are free to follow the direction of our desire.
We need to be clear that Yes is chosen in preference to No by someone able to exercise choice. Put differently, a disempowered victim repeatedly abused, and so surrendering to the inescapable reality that they are suffering, cannot truly be seen as saying Yes. Such a person is simply expressing a weak No. So if one is weak in No, then one is unlikely to be truly strong in Yes. Yes is the suspension of No.
The movement from a strong (and therefore enforceable) No toward an unreserved Yes is studied in the formula: Permission, Acceptance, Agreement and Surrender. Whereas Permission shows the overcoming of reluctance to say Yes, Acceptance indicates that there is no such reluctance and the starting point is one where the inclination to say Yes is balanced equally with inclination to say No. By affirming the status quo, we see that Permission has a general prejudice against anything new, whereas Acceptance has not. Beyond this, Agreement is a coincidence of Yeses, an inclination to say Yes. With Surrender there is no need to agree because Yes is assumed without decision.
The Yes person has no great attachment to the past or to logic; there is a fluidity of personality that enables them to swim with the moment, having no personal agenda except the preservation of agreement. Perhaps this type of person is a little detached from mainstream values, which pursue goals and measure success in numbers or material terms. Yes types are less likely to be found in positions of institutional authority, where No is more the requirement. All of us wield a degree of authority as parents, as older siblings, as owners of pets and as leaders — and we will notice how our tendency whether to say Yes and how to say it, impacts upon those whom we control. Yes answers are likelier to win affection in the short term, although if long-term respect is wanted, then it needs to be balanced with No.
By embracing the unexpected, we expand the contours of our lives. We can go into deeper realms of acceptance by allowing our feelings to transform. Prejudice is conditioned into us at various degrees of unconsciousness from the deepest emotional levels of programming in the womb, to the subtle mental persuasions of headlines and banners. The clearing of these distortions needs to take place within our emotional body as well as the mental. This has to be done in practice — there must be consciousness brought to bear upon the reactive habit of prejudice in real life situations.
There are examples to be found of active mutual reciprocity, where two people are more willing to serve the other than themselves. In such cases the most profound realisation can occur of the heights of spiritual awareness that may transpire between individuals, despite all the struggles and pressures in life. Perhaps we could imagine an old couple, loving and devoted, each overwhelmingly grateful to the other for a life shared in love. Within such contact, an atmosphere arises that goes beyond normal attitudes of behaviour and invokes a quality of sacredness that allows a grace to become perceptible. There is an easy sense of being, a sparking quality and a readiness of understanding that speaks of higher spheres of life. This is the gate to surrender.
We’ve touched upon the heightened state of grace achievable when two people are in mutual agreement; we could look at the kind of life that can be experienced when we are able to maintain such a condition unilaterally. In this case there is no requirement that we are in agreement with another because we have taken ourselves to a place where we can say Yes to whatever comes, and it makes no difference whether we agree with it or not.
What power is such that it can overcome the seemingly primary urge of an individual: the survival instinct? There is clear evidence that another urge is inherent within humanity, and, against all materialistic logic, will often hold sway against all other motivations — the religious instinct. In a worldly context, words like surrender and submission speak to us of loss of identity, defeat, an unacceptable but overwhelming force that we have to bow down to. This lack of ability to defend is categorized as a weak No. In a spiritual context however, the ability to put aside one’s selfhood in order to surrender to a higher, spiritual authority is to be seen as a strong Yes. This seems to be what is meant in Christianity by ‘Thy will be done’ or in Islam, whose creed is fundamentally submission to Allah.
Keywords for Yes
As a birthright, it is rather to be assumed that an individual has a certain authority to forbid. The rights given and protected both by law and common practice have to do with not being violated, and not being denied access to what is needed for survival. If there exists the authority to forbid and it is relaxed, there is permission. Permission suggests allowing. Someone, perhaps in authority or exercising the individual’s birthright, suspends the right to refuse and is willing to allow the request of another. In response to the application of a person who wants something from us, the process by which we come to relax our attitude from No to Yes can be called negotiation.
Often what we are asked to accept will go against what we have come to believe in or expect. Of course, otherwise there’s nothing to accept, because we agree. Our suspicion of change and the inertia of our love of the familiar are often very strong. Acceptance suggests the need to be more open than we were before in order that our awareness of possibilities is expanded. Without such openness we are constrained within what is available and we would therefore be limiting not only the scope but also the likelihood of our vision-fulfilment. Surely it is clear that in order to change our circumstances we have to change ourselves? This inevitably requires us to accept new factors into the equation of lives.
Agreement is harmonious alignment. I want what you want, we both want the same. An exchange that takes place under these conditions is rather special. Each party is inclined towards saying Yes, they seek opportunities to agree, they actively promote harmony out of an inner sense of being harmonious. An obvious example would be two innocent lovers, rapt and in the wonder of love, each trying to meet every need and desire of the other. A less fanciful version might be the constant mutual cooperation of two or more people who are working towards a shared goal using methods that are clear and settled.
Beyond other levels of Yesness, there is a level of acceptance that has a spiritual quality that we can call surrender. What is surrendered is the sense of self-importance, in the realization of the Unity that is all-embracing and all-pervading. If all comes from God, if all is God, then why resist or refuse anything? Yes is a response indicating the giving up of personal resistances. It is responsive in its nature and therefore feminine; its mystery may be beyond the understanding of the more masculine thrusting types that tend to dominate most fields of human activity.
The wisdom of Yes
Yes acts as a guiding light or beacon, towards a path that is available to us, and good. In whatever we do we always encounter a degree of resistance, because it is a condition of life to have to overcome inertia, yet we can generally say that the right path is the one illuminated by green lights—the Yes sign for motorists. If our life path is mostly punctuated by red lights, delay, restrictions, problems, illness and trouble, perhaps we need to check again whether we are pointed in the right direction. There is value and importance in rising to meet and overcome occasional challenges, and yet a life lived only in conflict is ceaseless struggle and is unlikely to offer a peaceful heart.
Yes relaxes tension and leads to peace. Isn’t this the word that we all long to hear—and the one that we want to say? It indicates that we are allowed and that we are accepted. Because no one wants to resist us, we can relax into a feeling of expecting to get what we have applied ourselves to having. The door opens to us, horizons expand and we are free to follow the direction of our desire. Something about us is right, we are receiving recognition for being good the way we are—and perhaps this is not always what we have come to expect. The fact that we need permission indicates the existence of a force that could deny. Equally acceptance implies that we have been, or could be, rejected. Indeed, this is true and will always be a real possibility living in the material world, where competition and limitation are seen as normal aspects of reality and lead to denial and rejection.
We need to be clear that Yes is chosen in preference to No by someone able to exercise choice. Put differently, a disempowered victim repeatedly abused, and so surrendering to the inescapable reality that they are suffering, cannot truly be seen as saying Yes. Such a person is simply expressing a weak No. So if one is weak in No, then one is unlikely to be truly strong in Yes. Yes is the suspension of No.At first sight the No word might be thought daunting. It’s usually the wrong answer—not what we want to hear—the response that stops us in our tracks. Or equally, the word we would rather not have to say to someone else because it’s not what they want either. It may mean bother. It indicates refusals, rejection, absence and denial…also resistance, disagreement and opposition—and a string of other things that are often directly contrary to our sense of what we want.
And yet how could we learn without it? Without constraint, what is freedom? Without scarcity, what is abundance? Without selfhood, there would be no relationship. These aspects of human experience actually derive from the fact of limitation—as do compassion, patience, rationality and discipline—because they wouldn’t be needed in a world without it. Learning and growing are punctuated again and again by No. We are stopped from taking a wrong direction, we rethink and reorient ourselves and then continue and, having become a little wiser perhaps, choose a different way forward.
Our natural condition is one of self-confidence, evidenced by babies and young children, who are often fearless to the point of recklessness. In order to reclaim and build upon it, we need to practise the four keywords of No, which will establish strong enforceable boundaries, and a clear awareness of who we uniquely are, and what we choose to feel and think about things, irrespective of pressure from peers, parents and politics. The final test, which can raise us up to become very commanding and impressive spiritual beings, is to speak only the truth in every situation. This is not only evidence of confidence, it also builds it. And make no mistake, confidence is power.
When we are very young, we quickly learn that life is dangerous and scary, if not often life-threatening, then at least a constant challenge to our sense of comfort and security. We develop unconscious processes, the clench and the flinch, that speak of our fear of invasion, and we start to try to control our experiences of life as much as possible.
Yet to rid ourselves of fear, as adults we must somehow unlearn this damaging unconscious behaviour and train ourselves to relax into the challenges, and find a way to trust in life. This is the gateway to freedom, true spiritual freedom. When we can do this, a very special quality unfolds that is easy and joyful; things tend to work out sooner rather than later – and always eventually. Trust is the body state of innocence and optimism, and is closely aligned with happiness. Yes, of course we will sometimes be taken; there will always be someone whose hoax takes us in when we are trusting types – but so what! Is that such a big price to pay for happiness?
Control, fear of future, stress, disappointment, inability to adapt, slow to align with changing times, left out, constant tension, anxiety, attached to outcomes.
These people are tight, and bring unnecessary tension that limits both the scope of life and the happiness available to them and those around them. Often in positions of petty authority, they clamp down on the flow of things and, by making sure nothing goes wrong, they make sure that nothing is ever really right either.
An extremely liberal upbringing has its own problems and will be likely to give rise to an attitude in adulthood that will be fraught with difficulty. Such a person may well be unable to discriminate easily between right and wrong, have no ethical code, no respect for a sense of moderation and will be at risk of leading a dissolute life, debauched and self-indulgent, given to abuse through misuse of alcohol, drugs and every kind of gratification. Sexual standards are more likely to be extremely permissive beyond the point of socially accepted norms.
It’s all too easy for a child to get a habit for such pleasures before they develop self-control and awareness of the need for taking responsibility for oneself.
In fact, by having the practice and expectation of always being told Yes, a person can tend towards parasitical lifestyle and never find a better way to be, because no friction has been given, and no will-to-overcome has therefore developed. It would be hard to learn how to earn one's own living when nothing had ever been denied previously.
It is shameful that an ordinary person, who may be kind, caring, responsible and gentle-minded, should be exposed to abuse and violence for no reason than their ethnicity, religion, sexuality or choice of clothes. It shames humanity. The answer lies in more tolerance since persecution is based on fear of the unknown and narrow-mindedness towards minor differences.
To deal with the underlying issue properly requires acceptance for minority groups. There is often a tension that arises when one group defines itself as different from another by its choices of practices and beliefs. To reduce this requires us to look for points of agreement, to actively seek harmony and expect peaceful sharing.