One way to determine whether you are operating from a constricted or expanded state of consciousness – in other words whether you are in unaware ego functioning, or operating from your own expanded Self, is to ask the question as to WHY you are saying “yes” or “no.” Do the “yes” “no” serve your further expansion, self respect, authenticity, truth, compassion for self, or do they serve the childhood needs of safety, predictability, control, power, fear and shame? Which master do you wish to serve? All the mystics, tell us, you cannot serve two masters – you have to choose every time. Either you work through the issues that and early events that resulted in you serving the gods of protection and unawareness – distractions of all kinds to stay small, or you serve the God of Love and Truth and take the huge risks required to move forward on any journey.
Practice: Notice the number of times you say “yes” and “no” every day and decided which god you are serving – your True Self or your little self. How do you compromise yourSelf by saying “yes,” to things that do not serve you, and that you do not want to do? How do you stay in relationships that compromise who you are out of fear? How do you agree, keep the peace, don’t rock the boat, out of fear?” How do you say “No” to your Soul with rationalizations like, “I don’t have the money / time / resources / inner resiliency?” How do you say “yes,” to mindless and futile pursuits, to escape, find comfort and distract you from the inner work? Remember that every “yes,” to distraction is “NO” to yourSelf. Every “no,” to your deepest desires, yearnings, ideals and vision for your life is a “NO,” to yourSelf.
How do you say “no” to feeling shame and run from any circumstance that would require you to face it?” Remember that to do say is to deny yourSelf the opportunity to bring your love to your condition or receive grace from anyone else.
Notice all this without judgment, but with interest and curiosity. If shame arises, bring compassion to it – it is merely memory.
Rumi says, “Run from what’s comfortable. Forget safety. Live where you fear to live. Destroy your reputation. Be notorious. I have tried prudent planning long enough. From now on I will be mad.”
In other words, commit yourself to a large life, not a little life. Learn to say “no,” to all that limits and constricts that make you small. Say “yes,” to all that brings more life. It seems like gamble to the rational intellect. But to live a life of abandon and joy, love and expansion, one has to take the gamble. The thing it is, it is a sure gamble.
Frogs that are kept in a tank of water that is gradually heated will jump out at a certain point of heat that is not conducive to their lives, unless their brains are removed and then they cooks to death. The question is, “Does your brain rationalize you staying in conditions not conducive to life and health, or do you listen to your instinct, intuition and heart?”
To a frog that’s never left his pond the ocean seems like a gamble.
Look what he’s giving up: security, mastery of his world, recognition!
The ocean frog just shakes his head. “I can’t really explain what it’s like where I live, but someday I’ll take you there.”
If you want what visible reality can give, you’re an employee.
If you want the unseen world, you’re not living your truth.
Both wishes are foolish, but you’ll be forgiven for forgetting
that what you really want is love’s confusing joy.
Gamble everything for love, if you’re a true human being.
If not, leave this gathering.
Half-heartedness doesn’t reach into majesty. You set out to find God,
but then you keep stopping for long periods at mean-spirited roadhouses.
– From “The Essential Rumi” (translated by Coleman Barks)