By: Cuf Ferguson, Ph.D., Co-President
The two most powerful words in the English language, and for that matter in any language, are “Yes” and “No.” They literally create different realities. Saying, “Yes,” to a person, event, circumstance, or experience literally points us, and our consciousness, in one direction, and saying “No” to that same person, event, circumstance, or experience literally points us, and our consciousness, in another direction. Therein lies the power of “Yes” and “No.” The point of our power, therefore, is in the present—at the point of saying “Yes” and “No”. Here I want to place emphasis on making that point of power more conscious.
“Yes” and “No” are expressions of an intention and a preference. As expressions they also frame our experiences of and in time and space. That is, some “Yes” and “No” intentions and preferences may involve us in lengthy unfolding dramas with multiple layers of realities (e.g., personal growth; social change efforts; college; career; marriage), while other “Yes” and “No” intentions and preferences may simply involve our moment-to-moment daily creations. For example, at this very moment, as you read these words, your focused consciousness is involved in the creation of your moment-to-moment experience of the written words in this sentence. It is important to realize, however, that also at this very moment, you could be experiencing something entirely different. At a certain point, you said, “Yes,” to reading these words. If you had said “No, maybe I’ll read this later,” at this very moment, you would be experiencing an entirely different reality. And, if you say “No” to reading any further, you will instantaneously initiate an entirely different reality. That’s how powerful “Yes” and “No” are.
There are, therefore, always an infinite number of probable realities that could take place at each moment, only one of which emerges as the reality we consciously experience in accord with our “Yes” and “No” intentions and preferences. From a scientific point of view, the rules of quantum realities have indicated that these probable realities are so. Most of us, however, do not walk around on a daily basis being concerned about or even remotely aware of quantum realities. Yet, in terms of our daily lives, we are constantly saying “Yes” and “No” to these probable realities. Our five senses, however, provide us with a sense of continuity as we move around with a conscious focus in time and space. We rarely, then, give much conscious thought to these probable realities, except perhaps during moments of reflection, planning, or instantaneous decision-making and prioritizing.
So, why is any of this important? There are several reasons why the power of “Yes” and “No” is important. First, we often take this personal power for granted and in the process we often disempower ourselves on a daily basis. That is, without questioning and conscious awareness, we often acquiesce to those we have “given” authority over us or hold a person in a particular power-related role in relation to us. We then forget that we have given them the authority or the role they appear to have. This is most evident as many people entertain personal, social and political dramas at local, societal, and global levels. What we do and do not consciously pay attention to, and how we feel and act and do not feel and act in relation to such dramas matters. When we are not conscious about the power of “Yes” and “No”, we tend to feel powerless, disconnected from, and/or reactive to such dramas as if they are simply happening to and/or around us. Being conscious about the power of “Yes” and “No”, therefore, empowers us as human beings who can consciously construct our individual and collective realities moment-to-moment on a daily basis.
Second, the power of “Yes” and “No” is an act of doing, flowing from our ideas/beliefs/thoughts and fueled by our “e-motions.” Everything around us first began as an idea/belief/thought and all of what we consciously experience is made up of energy, including ourselves. Matter times the square of the speed of light equals Energy (Einstein’s theory in reverse order and vice versa). In this context, “e-motions” are “energy in motion” that flows in accord with what we reason to be true. The power of “Yes” and “No”, therefore, directly connects us to our ideas about and emotional experiences of ourselves, and our world, and how we construct our individual and collective realties on a daily basis. The labels that we give to basic “energies in motion” that we feel moment-to-moment are glad, mad, sad, and scared, all of which can provide intensity to and for our “Yes” and “No” intentions and preferences. As we feel these energies, we often tend to reinforce our constructions. But, we can also alter them, particularly if the e-motions are felt as mad, sad, and/or scared. Those who enter the helping arena, for example, are often stuck in a mad/sad/scared construction, and are seeking assistance to alter these constructions that no longer serve them.
Third, reflecting on the power of “Yes” and “No” provides us with perspectives about where we have been (the past), where we hope to be or fear we will be (the future), and where we are now (the present). For example, in our reflective moments, we may invest time and energy into thinking about the effect(s) of our short-term and long-term preferences of “Yes” and “No”. In doing so, we can get in touch with how we create a variety of emotional states for ourselves based on when, where and how we point our consciousness in relation to our past, present, and future. More specifically, we use highly selective memories to construct our pasts and either hope-based or fear-based visions to construct our future projections. In doing so, we are saying “Yes” and “No” to particular aspects of our past and probable future.
Have you ever been to a family gathering, and you and a sibling or relative started talking about an event that happened where you both were present? Did you notice that your recall of this event was much different than how the other person recalled that same event? It was the same event, but you both constructed different past realities and different emotional states about that event. Or, have you ever had “what if” conversations with friends, relatives, or colleagues about a possible mutual future? Did you notice that while your tone may have been hopeful, the other person’s tone was mostly about doubt and fears? You both were saying, “Yes” and “No”, to constructing different probable futures.
Finally, the importance of understanding and affirming the power of “Yes” and “No” is that this personal power allows us to correct imbalances in our daily lives moment-to-moment and in our greater individual and collective life spaces. When we overextend ourselves, for example, in our desire to serve others, it may be time to lovingly say “No” to some things or to find other creative ways to make a significant contribution to the same enterprises without feeding the imbalance. On the other hand, when we feel sluggish, a lack of excitement in our lives, or simply feel bored, it may be time to say, “Yes,” to various opportunities that present themselves and to take life-nurturing actions.
So, what kind and quality of life experiences do you want to create and to construct with your power of “Yes” and “No”? My hope is that we each will say, “Yes,” to creating and constructing individual and collective realities that invite, invoke, and evoke Love, Acceptance, Inclusion, and Harmony. My hope is that we each will construct harmonious relationships that invite and nurture win-win scenarios and not win-lose scenarios. My hope is that we use the power of “Yes” and “No” to balance our mental, emotional, and action states of being, individually and collectively. My hope is that we each will use the power of “Yes” and “No” to expand our consciousness individually and collectively in such a way that we nurture the planet and our individual and collective Well Being.