Preferences, likes and dis-likes are not the same as desires [Spiritual Misconceptions]
Some people on the spiritual path thinks that it’s ‘bad’ to have desires (I’m not talking about those on the new age/personal development path) and in order to live a true spiritual life you should relinquish all desires. (In some spiritual circles the word “Desire” is a dreadful word indeed).
That’s not quite how it works. There are some misconceptions about this that I want to address.
It can have different meanings depending on what level of consciousness you’re living from.
If you’re living from an egoic state of mind and the ego wants to be ‘spiritual’, then you try to be ‘spiritual’ by thinking you have no right to have desires (or should not have because it’s not “spiritual”), and that if you do, then you will not get what you want.
(The spiritualized ego chases enlightenment, ever-lasting joy and bliss etc; the promises that ego has for the awakened life-style) when in reality Life includes both darkness and Light.
The ego always wants to get away from the present moment and is never okay with what is, while at the same time pretends that it loves everyone and everything and slaps a phony blissful smile on their face that it can show to the world.
So silly, and so contradictory!
Some people live from a place of fear (also ego) and I have heard people say to me that it’s wrong to have desires, that it’s ‘of the flesh’ or whatever, and a sin. (These beliefs are mostly held by religious people, but some ACIM students also have this belief, not that it’s a sin, but that it is somehow wrong).
Sometimes when I have said that I love Los Angeles for example and that I would absolutely love to live there; some peeps on the spiritual path of awakening (where the ego has awakened) has expressed that they think it’s wrong to say or think like that.
In other words; they are saying that I should not have any opinions.
My reply is, that to have a preference doesn’t mean I resent all other options and that my desire consumes me and all that nonsense. It’s not even a desire, just something I would like, not something I need. In fact, I don’t “need” anything anymore.
It’s the same as preferring hot tea instead of cold; it’s just a matter of taste and it makes no option or opinions is better or superior in any way, it’s just a statement of like and dis-like. Nothing dramatic about it at all.
It doesn’t matter if you are the worlds most enlightened person; you will still have preferences.
But you don’t condemn other options or other peoples opinions just because you have an opinion or preference about something.
So me wanting to move to California is just a preference, I happen to like the energy there, the people and weather and so on, but if I don’t end up there so to speak, that’s perfectly fine too.
If I end up in Africa or Costa Rica or Finland, I’m fine with that too. I just happen to like L.A. the most right now.
So let yourself have your preferences, likes and dis-likes and don’t fall into the egoic trap that says that it’s un-spiritual to have them.
And you can’t fool God! You can’t pretend to not have preferences and think that by that you get away with it and will receive ‘what you want’.
Yes, there are people on the spiritual path that thinks that if they give up their desires they will attain enlightenment.
But that’s not how it works at all.
When the relinquishment and letting go of desires happens, it has no ulterior motive at all, there’s no agenda behind it, and it’s not even something you do by your own will.
And when that happens there’s freedom from desires, not as in ‘okay, here, take my desires, I can’t do this anymore’, or all the spiritual temper tantrums we have on the journey, or even very dark periods of deep suffering.
When the surrender is authentic there’s a huge realization that I can’t even describe in words. I can’t put words to describe it, I have tried just now but it’s not possible.
When it happens, we know. It’s liberating on the deepest level.
And from that point on you really don’t care what happens (not in an arrogant way, but with a sincere acceptance and trust that all is well), because you know that it is all for you (as consciousness), life is not personal, and that the present moment is all there is and only the ego wants to get to the next moment where it thinks it will find its fulfillment.
So, go on and like and dis-like with a pure matter-of-fact attitude, no need to make it into any drama, just a simple ‘hm, I actually prefer this so I’m going in this direction and leave that other stuff behind me’.
To prefer a hug instead of a slap in the face is what we all can agree on, we would all prefer that, but that doesn’t mean that we create some drama, resentment and anger if we get the slap instead.
It’s not that we must like it just because that’s what spiritual people are suppose to do; we’re suppose to smile and love being treated like door-mats because, well, spiritual people are soft and kind to all people at all times, no matter what.
We don’t say thank you if you know what I mean… “Thank you kind sir for slapping me in the face, I’m most thankful (I’m so spiritually evolved so nothing touches me)” 😀
I mean, can you here how stupid it sounds when putting in that way?
Of course you would think that you would have liked a hug instead! And you would still be just as “spiritual” as anyone else.
I don’t think Jesus meant that we should not have any preferences when it comes to “turning the other cheek”, only that we meet whatever is from a place of spirit and not with the same energy. (That’s how wars are fueled).
The same goes for all things. I personally like summer more than winter, I like hanging out with people that I can have stimulating conversations with, I like USA more than I like Scandinavia and so on, but my preferences doesn’t mean that I think the opposite is wrong or bad in any way.
I don’t like where I live at the moment, and believe me when I say that I have resented it in the past, I have, I really have.
I don’t anymore, and that was one of the lessons I had to learn while living here and for that I’m deeply grateful.
To express that we don’t like something can stay right there in the end of the statement. No drama needs to be added.
To live a spiritual life is to be true to yourself and being authentic and have integrity.
That means following what resonates with you and simply leave the rest, knowing that that which you don’t like is someone elses preference. There’s no right or wrong.
Let go of silly little rules the spiritualized ego wants you to follow.
You are allowed to be who you are fully and completely; ‘fake it til you make it’ spiritually is not possible, and there’s no need to try to fit into other peoples expectations of you not having any kind of opinions just because they have put you in a box called “spiritual person”! As long as the human-ness is played out by consciousness there will be preferences in the play of Life.
When realizing that you’re free to be who you are, you will be absolutely fine with the present moment, there will be no ‘burning desires’ at all, they will be completely foreign to you at this point in the awakening.
And that to me is a wonderful thing 🙂
Below this pic of me in Venice, L.A. is a quote/poem by me that emphasizes the importance of being with what is fully, and in combination with this article inspire you to allow yourself to have preferences about something else without chasing anything or resenting and being against the present moment.
We can say Yes.
In moments of discomfort, we can say yes to it, just as we say yes to moments of joy.
In the middle of this moment, whether we feel blame, resentment, shame, or sadness, we can invite it fully into our experience for the simple reason that it is already here.
Our No to it is what makes us suffer.
A simple Yes can turn everything around.
Yes, there are feelings of anger, yes there are feelings of disconnection. (Or whatever it is that we feel).
Yes. It’s here.
I welcome it, I chose to be with it 100%.
Yes. This is what is right now.
Just like any other feeling; happiness, warm gushy feelings of love, deep joy, they all come and go.
No feeling stays forever, they will all change, come and go as clouds in the sky.
No trying to change them, enhance them, manipulate them, no fixing needed.
Just a simple Yes.
In that opening there is peace, the barriers has come down, and we are free.
By the power of a Yes.