One of the many helpful experiences to come out of my time with Byron Katie in July was the power and importance of saying ‘no’. It might seem like a no-brainer, but actually we may be dragging around a lot of old assumptions about that simple two-letter word.
‘No’ may seem especially challenging once we begin to consciously cooperate with our personal spiritual awakening. We tend to associate ‘Yes!’ with love, support, peace—all the positive energies we’re working to claim and express. ‘No’ seems …well…negative! It’s limiting, divisive, creating problems instead of affirming Oneness.
As usual when spiritual questions arise, it’s useful to turn to the words of Jesus, in particular to his Sermon on the Mount as described in the Gospel of Matthew. Does the Teacher have anything to say about saying ‘no’?
Well, in fact, he does—at 5:37. He has spent the entire chapter awakening his immediate followers to the essence of his message, describing the ways in which it will completely upend prior teachings about limitation, separation and powerlessness. “You are the light of the world,” he tells them, and then itemizes practical advice about just how to be that light in expression. In the RSV translation of verse 37, his advice is, “Let what you say be simply ‘Yes´or ‘No’.” Note that he doesn’t say, “Let everything you say be ‘Yes’.” And yet doesn’t it sometimes feel as though that’s what we’ve come to believe? Don’t we sometimes find ourselves saying yes to something or someone, when our inner guidance is saying no? Isn’t that the ‘loving’ thing to do?
Well, no! We spent a significant block of time at The School just practicing saying ‘no’ with infinite love and absolute clarity. “Thank you for asking¸ and no.” “I understand what you’re asking, and no.” “I’m sorry it angers you, but no.” Earlier this week we agreed with Spiderman that ‘with great power comes great responsibility.’ We are the infinite Power of the divine. It is our responsibility to express that Power clearly and lovingly, using it efficiently, giving our own inner guidance priority over any outside opinions or influences. Sometimes the perfect, most loving, most creative statement we can make is: No.
Today I will let the clarity of Spirit within me guide me through every choice the day may offer. I AM open to the creative power of both ‘yes’ and ‘no,’ and I AM grateful for the confidence I feel as I surrender my choices to my innate, spiritual Beingness.