“No Means No,” as a discipline.
“The basic no is accepting discipline in our life without preconceptions. Normally, when we say the word “discipline,” it comes with a lot of mixed feelings. It is like saying “porridge.” Some people like porridge, and some people hate it. Nevertheless, porridge remains porridge. It is a very straightforward thing. We have similar feelings about the word discipline and the word no. Sometimes it’s a bad no: it is providing oppressive boundaries that we don’t want to accept. Or it could be a good no, which encourages us to do something healthy. But when we just hear that one word, no, the message is mixed.
When you were growing up, at a very early stage—perhaps around two years old—you must have heard your father or mother saying no to you. They would say, “No, don’t get into that,” or “No, don’t explore that too much,” or “No, be quiet. Be still.” When you heard the word no, you may have responded by trying to fulfill that no, by being good. Or you may have reacted negatively, by defying your parents and their no, by exploring further and being “bad.” That mixture of the temptation to be naughty and the desire to be disciplined occurs very early in life. When our parents say no to us, it makes us feel strange about ourselves, which becomes an expression of fear. On the other hand, there is another kind of No, which is very positive. We have never heard that basic No properly: No, free from fear and free from doubt…
There is no special reality beyond reality. That is the Big No, as opposed to the regular no. You cannot destroy life. You cannot by any means, for any religious, spiritual, or metaphysical reasons, step on an ant or kill your mosquitoes—at all. That is Buddhism. That is Shambhala. You have to respect everybody. You cannot make a random judgment on that at all. That is the rule of the kingdom of Shambhala, and that is the Big No. You can’t act on your desires alone. You have to contemplate the details of what needs to be removed and what needs to be cultivated…
There is no need to struggle to be free; the absence of struggle is in itself freedom. This egoless state is the attainment of buddhahood. The process of transforming the material of mind from expressions of ego’s ambition into expressions of basic sanity and enlightenment through the practice of meditation—this might be said to be the true spiritual path.” ~ from Ocean of Dharma by Chogyam Trungpa, edited by Carolyn Rose Gimian
Simply put, everyone is a disciple: you are either a disciple of your own ego; imprisoned by fear and expectation. Or you are a disciple of truth; free to fully participate in the present moment.
Spiritual discipline is an individual discipline that is impersonal. It is a discipline that transcends the experience of “I.” Spiritual discipline is an utter devotion to reality, regardless of how it affects the ego. It is put into practice when we let go of what we think about things and allow our thought to be a spontaneous reflection of reality. This is the restoration of sanity…the Resurrection of the Enlightened Mind.
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