One day after a very expansive experience, I decided to go looking for people that have had similar experiences. It was my good fortune to find a number of resources including books, interviews, videos and audios and even several live presentations. In these resources a number of people shared their experiences of awakening and self-realization. One of the insights that stood out for me is what I want to share with you today.
You and I live in a dynamic ever-changing world and we are in constant response to our thoughts and the world around us. In those responses there are basically two reactions. One reaction is to open and be receptive to what is present. The other reaction is to contract and close down to what is present. We are either opening or closing, expanding or contracting in all we encounter.
Opening is receptive and welcoming. Closing is guarded and moving away from. Neither is good or bad but just responses to what we are experiencing. Simply put, to open is to say “yes” and to close is to say “no.”
You might wonder why this matters to you and your life. The closing or contracting offers a special opportunity for you to become aware in that moment. When you feel the closing, the no, you can become aware of your pulling away or protecting. In that very moment instead of saying no to the experience, you can instead say yes.
Why would you want to do that?
In that moment of saying no there is a gift. That gift is to see yourself closing down, and with that awareness, you can make another choice. Sure there will be times when playing it safe and saying no is totally the right thing to do. However, most of the times your closing down isn’t necessary or even healthy for you. You close down because of old ideas, fears, and the habit of judging.
Now with this awareness you have the opportunity to say yes to life, yes to new encounters, yes to the unknown, and yes even in the face of fear. Yes is a much more powerful way to live in the world. Yes can free you to enjoy a much more fulfilling life. Yes is an invitation to you to fully engage in the world in ways that matter.
Practice: As the contraction or protection comes into your awareness, notice your body’s closing. Feel your feelings, note your thoughts and acknowledge what is going on inside. At this moment of awareness decide whether to continue the contracted state or try saying yes to the experience.
Example: Let’s say you encounter a person you had past dealing with that ended poorly. As you see that person, you react and your body closes down. You know you are going to run into the person once in a while and you decide that closing down doesn’t feel that great. So instead, when you run into that person you choose to open up. Maybe you even decide to send love his or her way. In that moment of making a choice to encounter this person in a different way, you went from no to yes. How would that change your experience of that person?
The no experiences can be with other people, certain situations, tight places, powerful emotions, issues of heart, strong points of view and many other circumstances. Think of changing those no’s to yes’s and how much that can enrich your life.
Give yes a test drive and let me know how it goes.
Happy Thanksgiving to you, may you have even more to be thankful for in the coming year.