A YES to the world

What does it mean to say YES to the world? And why would we?

First, what does it mean?

It means to say an internal YES to whatever is in our world – the situation and people, and our own emotions, thoughts, sensations, and whatever else is here.

It’s an intentional shift in orientation from the NO parts of us have towards the world to a YES.

Why would we say YES to the world?

Mainly for pragmatic reasons.

What’s here is already here. We are too late in doing anything about it. If I fight it, I just create additional stress and distractions for myself. If I say YES to it, the stress and drama calms down and I am in a better position to relate to it more consciously and do something about it if that’s appropriate.

Saying YES to my world is a kindness to myself. It helps me act more from clarity and kindness.

How do we do it?

For me, it’s easier to ask myself a question:

Can I say YES to what’s here?

How is it to say YES to this situation? To what I am experiencing now?

Can I say YES to the “no” in me?

This opens the mind to the possibility. It opens for curiosity. It helps me connect with the side of me that already says YES to this experience.

Does it mean being gullible or passive?

Not at all.

It just means to allow some of the drama to settle and finding the more clear side of myself. I’ll still act if that’s needed, and I may do it a little more effectively.

Aligning with reality

This is not only pragmatic. It’s also an expression of what we already are.

The reality is that we are already “built open” for the world, as Douglas Harding says. What we are is this awake no-thing that’s open for the world as it is. What we are is built with an inherent YES to the world.

By asking ourselves can I say YES to what’s here? a few things may happen. One of these is that we notice what we are and live from it, especially if this is available to us from experience.

Getting to know the NO in us

A side-effect of this is that we get to see the NO in us. We get to see the parts of us that say “no” to life or a situation.

It’s very natural and understandable that we have these sides of us. They were created from separation consciousness, and there is often a lot of pain and fear in there.

When we get to know them more closely, we may see that they are here to protect us and really come from and are an expression of love. They also come from painful beliefs, identifications, and sometimes trauma.

They come from unloved and unexamined fear.

By saying YES to the “no” in us, we acknowledge these sides of us while not getting caught in them.

A what-if orientation

These type of explorations work best if they come from a what-if orientation.

What if I do this? What happens?

This also opens from some receptivity, curiosity, and even playfulness.

Where does this pointer come from?

The YES to the world is something we find in many places – from poets to psychologists, philosophers, mystics, and some spiritual traditions. It’s one of the things we discover if we explore ourselves and how we relate to the world, and what works and doesn’t work so well. It’s also what we discover when we discover what we are, and explore this for a while in daily life.

I suspect that I got the “YES to the world” wording from Adyashanti although I don’t have a clear memory of where from. (I haven’t taken in much from spirituality for the last several years.)

Why do I write about this now?

Well, the answer is almost given. This is something I have explored and applied in my own life over the last few days. It’s something I have returned to since I have needed it. A lot of primal fear has come up, partly triggered by working on and exploring it in myself.

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What if I had planned this life?

How would it be if I had chosen and planned this life before birth? Why would I have chosen these experiences and situations?

What do I find when I ask myself this question, on a specific situation, and wait for answers to surface?  Can I find another example of why I would have chosen it, and another?

I did this exploration with a friend earlier today – on two themes from my life – and this is her notes.

Here are the notes from the exercise : ‘Why did I choose these experiences in this/my life?’

What if we could choose our dreams?

I listened to the Alan Watts podcasts about Hindu mythology, which is specifically about Brahma and lila, God playing hide-and-seek with itself.

One part I found especially interesting is in the third segment where he explores what we would do if we had complete freedom to choose our night dreams?

For a few months, we would probably want to dream about having all sorts of riches and pleasures. But it would get boring and predictable after a while.

Since we know it is just a dream, and we can’t really get hurt by it, we may then choose to include some drama in the dream to make it more interesting. Something is at stake, and we may or may not get it.

And to make it even more juicy, we may choose to make it into a life and death drama, to see how far we can take it. After all, it is just a dream and we don’t really get hurt.

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If the universe is friendly

Byron Katie had a good additional question during the workshop on Saturday:

If the universe is a friendly place, why would ….? (Fill in with the topic of the initial belief.)

This is quite similar to Joanna Macy‘s exercise called My Choices for This Life, or the Bodhisattva Check-In, where we explore why we chose to be as a human being in this moment of history, and then explore this more in detail with the particulars of this human life. How does it all contribute to this life, with its particular insights, gifts, opportunities?

Both are of course just thought experiments, a way of framing our experience in a different way.

And at the same time, both mimic how it appears when Big Mind, and especially Big Heart, awakens to itself. When Big Mind/Heart is awake to itself, we naturally see the life of this human self in the context of the universe as friendly, and the particulars of our life as gifts to open our heart and mind.

But there is no need to make it into a belief. If it is not alive in immediate experience, it can be explored as just a thought experiment. A what if, and then see what comes out of it.

As a subquestion in The Work, it may fit immediately before or after the turnarounds when our view is already quite open and receptive.