7 Wisdoms - No
Keywords for No
We mark boundaries to establish where we draw the line. If challenged, this is where we make our stand—to confront and engage. We cannot depend upon our society’s justice system to take care of our needs for the maintenance of good boundaries, we ourselves have that responsibility and it requires us to be honest and forthright about our personal power. We need to use whatever strengths we have to defend our position and we need to be both firm and clear in the application of them in support of our statement of negation.
By the contours of our boundaries, we give definition to who we are. ‘Who am I?’ is a series of creative decisions, rather than simply an uncovering of something hidden. Identity is a living statement of a package of values that have repeatedly asserted themselves, constantly evolving and refining over a lifetime in order to give substance to some inner sense of ‘am-ness’, first described by qualities rather than identity. ‘Am true, am useful, am kind, am honourable’ are expressions of the fundamental building blocks of humanity that are seeking to be owned in a unique package by an individual ‘I’
It is meaning that gives freedom to involvement. Without meaning, what is life? Without freedom, life is slavery. Without involvement, life is wasted. These 3 qualities are so interconnected that they can be seen as aspects of each other. We tend to choose what is meaningful to us—so that having chosen, our involvements feel like the expression of freedom rather than the loss of it. By these choices we make known to others, and ourselves, the truth of who we are. In other words, our choices speak the truth of who and what we are, and we make them by saying No.
To know truth all we need is to surrender to it, because it is all around us in every moment in everything we perceive and experience. We need to be highly attuned to be conscious of what is actually happening and to know that we are part of the greater whole. Such sensitivity is not easily accessible, and yet it is the unfolding towards such sensitivity that makes a spiritual path the most fascinating of all adventures.
The wisdom 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, having become a little wiser perhaps.
q21 - 3 questions
Do you stop people from taking advantage?
“That’s not fair!” we proclaim as a heartfelt complaint against injustice in the world. And we do it again and again as though we are surprised, unable to grasp a simple truth that actually life doesn’t dish up justice very often. People mostly take what they can and somehow find a way to justify that as OK… unless we stop them. It is for us to make our boundaries clear and enforceable so that others respect us and our choices. If we don’t do that, well then actually it’s our problem.
Do you stick to your No decisions?
A true No is strong and consistent, not often changed by the persuasive voice of another. If it isn’t, then it’s just not real and will be frequently challenged or ignored. It doesn’t work to offer a wishy-washy hint at No. Let it be said clearly, firmly and once, then the tone of voice, the posture of body and expression of face will convey certainty and be respected.
Do you mostly feel free from imposition?
Whatever we may think we're doing to keep strong boundaries, it is important to notice how we feel. If unable to be true to the inner self then somewhere our personal boundaries are compromised. This could be because we are projecting a false image - one that pleases parents, bosses and peers - and pretending all is well instead of clearly refusing to play their silly game. The resultant discomfort and inconvenience of making a stand is temporary, and more than compensated by the sense of dignity that develops within us.
7 Words Concepts
The work we are engaging with has to begin with ourselves.
"Among all my patients in the second half of life ... there has not been one whose problem in the last resort was not that of finding a religious outlook on life."