The Amazing Power of Yes-This
By Matthew Joyce
They are only in season for a few weeks. And even then many are just mediocre. But when you bite into the perfect summer peach, the flavor is sublime. The sweet tangy juice bursts on your tongue and dribbles down your chin. “Yes. This is delicious!” you proclaim.
As your attention focuses on the pleasure of that first taste, you fully embrace the moment. Whatever else may have been on your mind is temporarily set aside. You are living in the now. And for that moment anyway life is sweet.
That is an example of a Yes-This moment
When we embrace life in a Yes-This moment, we fully immerse ourselves in the experience at hand. And as we do so we naturally recognize the inherent richness that life holds.
Life offers countless opportunities for Yes-This moments: sunsets, live music, comedy shows, great food, great sex, deep conversation, meaningful silence. The list of potential opportunities goes on and on.
But such opportunities only become sublime when we embrace them fully, thinking to ourselves “Yes. This is the experience I want right now.”
When we accept the moment in its entirety we let go of all that normally separates us from that which we are experiencing. In other words, we cease having an experience and merge into it, becoming the experience itself.
This is what happens when we drop our guard and laugh with abandon. This is what happens when we listen to a piece of music and so lose ourselves in it that it brings us to tears. This is what happens when we discover rapture in that first bite of summer peach.
The beauty of a Yes-This moment is that we almost never actually need to think “Yes this.” It just happens as we embrace the moment.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t deliberately seek out or create Yes-This moments. Any moment can be a Yes-This moment if you are willing to embrace it as such.
How to Create a Yes-This Moment
Creating a Yes-This moment requires nothing more than a shift in your mental perspective. During most of your daily life you continually shift your awareness between two points of view: the observer and the participant.
You act as the observer when you hold yourself slightly apart from your experiences. The observer is a useful perspective to adopt in challenging circumstances because it enables you to respond to difficult situations in a reasonable and effective way. But the observer perspective is less helpful when you want more intensity from life, such as when you are seeking intimacy. If your mind is chattering while you are kissing someone you love, the observer perspective is getting in the way.
In times like that when you want to be more immersed in the experience, the participant perspective is more helpful. The more you invest yourself in the experience at hand the more intense it becomes. That is its primary value. But the participant perspective has a downside too. If you are too engaged in a situation you can react in ways that may lead to less than optimal results.
So to create a Yes-This moment you shift your perspective from being the observer to being fully invested in participating in the current experience. In fact, to really access the power of Yes-This you want to become so immersed in the moment that you cease any and all thoughts of the past, future, or other potential moments.
When you fully immerse yourself in the present moment in this way it explodes into a richness of vivid details. Senses are sharpened. Emotions are heightened. Perceptions are clarified. Then the shift happens, and suddenly all sense of separation falls way.
And for the duration of the Yes-This moment you become one with the experience itself.
It may last only a few seconds or it may linger for hours. But no matter how long it persists you won’t forget the experience. Because during a Yes-This moment you feel truly alive.
Yes-This moments mark the high points of our days and our lives. And the more we can count, the richer and more abundant our lives feel.
But what about when life is painful, or disappointing, or frightening?
Who wants to immerse themselves in that?
When you are feeling pain, sadness, or fear it is natural to withdraw from the discomfort. It is tempting to eliminate the pain as quickly as possible through distraction (focusing your attention elsewhere, distancing (get this away from me), or deadening (pain relievers). Regardless of which method you use, the upshot is the same. You end up thinking, “Not this!”
Yet painful moments also hold the potential to be Yes-This moments. In fact, in some ways they hold even greater potential than joyful moments. Because rather than uniting us with that which brings us pleasure, painful moments bring us through an experience to a place of further growth and understanding.
So the next time you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation take a moment to notice your natural inclination. Are you retreating from it with a Not-This attitude? If so, pause and ask yourself if there is another path.
Can you turn the Not-This moment into a Yes-This moment?
You can if you embrace the situation. So rather than retreating, try fully investing your awareness in the experience at hand. Be in the moment and keep your attention there without wandering or flinching. As you do, you’ll be surprised to discover the amazing power of Yes-This awaiting you.
You’ll discover that underneath the Not-This misery you’ve been dwelling on lies the same sense of clarity that makes the beauty in life so poignant. When you can change your perspective from focusing on what you don’t want to embracing the entirety of the moment itself you can merge into the experience.
That could be the difference between focusing on how hot the summer day feels versus embracing the beauty of the mountains you are hiking in. It could be thinking how much you dislike your old car versus feeling grateful that you have reliable transportation. The fuller and deeper into the experience you go, the more powerful it becomes.
Obviously, you aren’t likely to convert every Not-This moment to a Yes-This moment, but each time you do, your life will be the richer for it. Because while not all moments in your life will be positive, and fewer still will feel sublime, the more you embrace life with a Yes-This attitude, the peachier it will be, regardless of circumstance.
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