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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. Instead, even if we think that we’re doing our best in life, we still feel that we haven’t fully lived up to what we should be. We feel that we’re not quite doing things right. We feel that our parents or others don’t approve of us. There is that fundamental doubt, or fundamental fear, as to whether or not we can actually accomplish something.

Doubt arises in relating with authority, discipline and scheduling throughout our life. When we don’t acknowledge our doubt, it manifests as resistance and resentment. There is often some resentment or a reaction against the sitting practice of meditation as well. The moment that the gong is struck to signal the beginning of meditation practice, we feel resistance. But in that situation, we find that it’s too late. We’re already sitting there on the cushion, so we usually continue to practice.

However, resistance in everyday life provides us with many ways to manipulate situations. When we are presented with a challenge, we often try to turn away rather than having to face it. We come up with all kinds of excuses to avoid the demands that we feel are being put on us.

The basic NO, on the other hand, is accepting discipline in our life without preconceptions. Normally, when we say the word “discipline,” it comes with a lot of mixed feelings. It’s like saying “porridge.” Some people like porridge, and some people hate it. Nevertheless, porridge remains porridge.  It is a verystraightforward thing. We have similar feelings about discipline and the meaning of 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.


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