In spiritual communities, it isn’t enough to say “yes”—you must be a yes.
We hear things like:
“Your energy was just not a ‘yes’ to me, so I didn’t feel invited into your space.”
“I’m not reading you as a ‘yes’ to this…”
“You just seem like a ‘no’ right now.”
And saying “no,” much less being a no in these sorts of growth-minded-spiritually-evolving-ever-awakening-tribe-type communities, is tantamount to being a blasphemer in a religious space.
But I say no. I say be a no.
I’ve been there—drowning in “yes.” I’ve gotten so caught up in wanting to grow and push my edges, I’ve lost sight of what I actually want—what is actually good for me in that moment. Sometimes, the difference between a “no” and a “yes” is not the difference between not growth and growth; it’s the difference between a healthy boundary and not respecting ourselves.
Recently, I was at a festival and had an opportunity to do DMT I’d never done DMT before, but have had beautiful, powerful awakening experiences with other entheogens. I had reservations; I was nervous. But the growth-oriented part of me said, like every other slightly uncomfortable, peer-pressuring teenager, “Come on! Everyone is doing it!”
This voice also does something a bit sneakier that other “seekers” like me might be familiar with. The voice promises, “This will be the thing!”
This DMT trip will be the thing to wake me up.
This adventure to Bali will be the thing I need, the thing that will change my life.
This orgy experience will be the thing to set me free from ego and previous trauma forever.
As it turned out, this D.M.T. trip was most certainly not “the thing,” but this was before I realized, through many experiences looking for it, that there is no thing. (But that’s a whole other article.) In fact, saying “yes” to many of the things we think we should try is just hurting us.
We can’t make ourselves ready for an experience we’re not ready for, and we shouldn’t force ourselves to be something we’re not.
Time and time again, I come across this idea that to be a healthy and evolving human we have to basically “be cool” with everything. Be a yes, no matter what.
“My ex-partner and his new lover are living in my guest bedroom and I can hear them having sex at night, but that’s okay because I am learning to evolve beyond the petty human emotion of jealousy. I’m just fine!”
“My business partner decided to pay me in hemp pants this month, which is A-okay with me because, you know, money is just an energetic karmic system anyway. I’m learning a valuable lesson in acceptance and non-attachment.”
“I went to an orgy and had a threesome with someone I didn’t know and now I feel empty inside, but it’s grand because I pushed my boundaries and I am open and sexually free now—never mind my past trauma.”
“I am totally a yes!”
See what I mean?
There is nothing wrong with saying yes, or even being a yes. But there is also nothing wrong with saying or being a no. It doesn’t make us less spiritual, less evolved, or less devoted to personal growth.
Some self-reflexive questions that have helped me find my “no”:
Do I really want to hug this person?
Do I want to talk to this person?
Do I want to be “cool” with my partner telling me about attractions to other women—or do I want to own hurt and jealousy?
Am I basing my decisions on what I want, or what other people want?
What do I want?
When it comes to our personal evolution, the biggest thing we can do is not be blindly led by the wants and expectations of our communities, our partners, or even our teachers or gurus.
We have to listen to ourselves, and sometimes that means saying an emphatic, “No!”
Author: Natalie Grigson
Image: Eva Rinaldi/ Flickr
Editor: Khara-Jade Warren
Copy & Social Editor: Callie Rushton