Think about all the things that happen in a day that you don’t like.
We’ll wait a moment; this will take a while.
I like chocolate. I don’t like this song. Fear- don’t like it. Money- like it! I don’t like all the pain in the world. I like sleep. I like laughing. I don’t like arrogance. I don’t like this heat. Sadness, no! Calm, yes. I like art on the walls. I don’t like her tone. I don’t like wrinkles. I like bare feet. Feeling anxious: don’t like it. I don’t like the door closed. I prefer black to brown. I don’t like bullying. I like nail polish. I don’t like interruptions. I like shirts un-tucked. I like love, don't like unfairness, hatred, bias….
It’s nonstop, isn’t it?
It’s a lifetime of constant evaluation. “This- yes. This- no.”
We only want things and feelings we like, to happen.
We have an opinion about everything. We have an opinion about ANYthing.
It doesn’t matter how small or insignificant the subject- freckles, length of eyelashes, size of body parts.
Sometimes we use different words, saying, “This shouldn’t happen.” Or, “This is good.” We’ll call it opinion or evaluation or judgment.
They’re all different words for the same thing.
It all comes down to, “I like this. I don’t like this.”
It’s a constant evaluation of situation.
And yet, notice how much pain is caused simply by the thought, “I don’t like this.”
And the idea that it matters if we like it... well, there's no peace in that.
So is it actually so all-fired important to like it? And does it matter?
Does not liking keep things from happening? Does it do anything but cause a frustration tantrum?
Like, does suffering stop because we disapprove? Does anxiety cease as soon as we determine, “Oh this is awful”?
Isn't it a great big "So What," ...
all this wing-flapping about preferences?
“I don’t like feeling deficient!” Yes. What now?
“I don’t like suffering!” Yes, absolutely. So?
“But I don’t like that you don’t care that I don’t like it!” Got it. So?
Does it matter one iota whether we like it?
Funny we haven't noticed that it's irrelevant.
The mind hates that what we want doesn’t matter.
But it’s clear that it doesn’t matter.
So then what is the benefit of all this futile liking and not liking?
Well, it is in the preferences that we create the self story.
We’re defined by our likes and dislikes.
The story of who we are- the one who likes blue and doesn’t like eggplant- is literally created via those preferences.
So it doesn’t matter whether we like hot flashes or chocolate, or what we like, as long as we have a preference.
We can’t escape it. This is a predominant way the Self story forms.
It's 'Me’, maintained by yeses and nos.
That’s why there are so many of them, and why we don’t encounter almost anything that we don’t have a like or dislike about.
Because the story of self is so ephemeral, so delicate, so fragile, that if liking/not liking were to let up for one second, well..
The mind is afraid of what would be left without them.
And what would happen if it was somehow possible to suddenly not have preferences?
Would we (as we know us) continue to exist? Would we turn into smoke?
“I don’t know what happened, Officer. She stopped having preferences and suddenly she was gone!"
So is it necessary to not have likes and dislikes? Is it even possible?
All those spiritual leaders suggesting that preferences, wants, desires are bad.
Isn’t that just a different way of saying, “I don’t like having wants?”
Just more liking and disliking, isn't it?
So instead of one more thing we're supposed to fix about ourselves, maybe it’s possible to just see all the self-ing going on with all those opinions.
And leave it at that.
Because odds are good that we will go to our grave liking or not-liking.
“Suffering and Deficiency and Wanting- Oh No! I. Do. Not. Like.“