My sister is a wise woman. She always is working on herself and although she has a different religious tradition than my own, I always value her spiritual work and advice. A couple of years ago she made a resolution to say “yes” to whatever invitations came her way. She had kept to herself quite a bit after retiring and had felt she was spending too much time alone. Invitations from friends came slowly at first, but as she said “yes”, more invitations poured in and soon she was having to pick and choose carefully where she wanted to go and with whom.
Saying “YES” can be very powerful and you’d think it would be a really positive thing to do. Everyone likes to say yes to the good in life. I like to say “yes” when my husband invites me out to dinner and a movie. I like to say “yes” to a nice hot bath on a cold, snowy January day. I like to say “yes” when someone tells me how great I am. Every moment that is filled with comfort, acceptance, love, kindness, graciousness and beauty, we always reach out and embrace.
But life isn’t like that, is it? Yes, there are moments of beauty and love, but mixed in with the good stuff is a great deal of not so good stuff. This morning I woke with a headache and feeling out of sorts. I received an email from a friend that had some hard to hear criticisms. I’ve had recent knee surgery and I’m bored with sitting in the house day after day. Can I say “yes” to these things as well? Opening myself to all that life has to offer?
One of the four great vows that we recite every morning is “The teachings are infinite, we vow to learn them all.” Each moment is a teaching. Each bit of beauty and each bit of suffering, is a teaching. No matter what life offers you at the moment, just say “yes”. This acceptance, this “yes” to what is right in this moment is not only the path, but the fulfillment of it. May each day be filled with this radical openness – saying “yes” to it all.
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