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Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

Excerpts about Preferences

Liberation of the Heart From its Orienting According to Fixed Preferences

Understanding attachment, and the freedom from attachment that arises through the impact of nonconceptual presence, liberates the heart from its habit of orienting according to fixed preferences. The heart becomes transparent to the operation of essential intelligence, functioning from a ground of nonattachment. Its love and joy are now free, totally unattached. It can love fully without having to possess what it loves, liberating its joy and delight, which become the celebration of Reality, immaculate presence, and pristine awareness. The soul learns from direct experience that nonattachment is nothing but the nonconceptual presence in the heart, as the heart of enlightenment, the crystal heart. Such heart responds openly, spontaneously, without premeditation or prejudice. It responds without hesitation to the objective needs of the situation, with a nonconceptual intelligence that needs no inner recognition. As the discriminating mind dissolves under the impact of nonconceptual presence the dichotomies merge into each other, and all polarities reveal their underlying unity as the uniformly blissful field of awareness.

Not Having to Have

We are working here on essential realization, learning how to connect with essence, reality, spirit, soul—and now we have to give it up. You may think this guy Jesus expects a lot. You may think he was talking to poor people who didn’t have much to give up materially, so they had to give up something else. I think he is talking to everybody. The attitude of possessiveness, the attitude of havingness, is a central attitude of ego. You are somebody who has things. Can you imagine yourself being somebody who doesn’t have anything? Not having in this context means not having to have. It’s the willingness to be poor. It’s not a matter of becoming poor, although that might happen too. If that is what it takes for you to experience that you don’t have to have, then maybe you should not have possessions. So the easiest things to give up, to be detached from, and not to care about are the physical things—clothes, money, and so on. What is more difficult to give up is the inner domain. To be poor within means to give up your thoughts, feelings, wants, desires, likes, dislikes, preferences, opinions, beliefs, ideas. Being poor within is not holding positions about what is good and what is bad. If you do that, then you still have preferences, you still are not completely poor. From this perspective we see that everyone is very rich. We are all rich in spirit—full of ideas, preferences, opinions, beliefs, goals, and ideals. Surrendering our thoughts, feelings, judgments, preferences, and desires doesn’t mean that these things disappear but that we don’t have them in the same way. They just come and go. We don’t hold on to them as possessions. They are not vital for us.

Persistence of Preferences

The world of appearance has a certain pattern or flavor for each of us. If you look at yourself over the span of your whole lifetime, you realize that although there have been changes, there are things that do not change. Certain patterns in the way you do things are always repeated; the same kinds of thoughts and preferences persist. You live in a certain groove, determined by your history, and that groove—your personal groove—does not change until its basis is gone. Its basis is the belief that appearance is reality. This belief is the ultimate basis of the existence of the personality and all its problems. You actually walk around believing that you are what you think you are; the only time you do not do this is in deep sleep. This belief has many levels. On the psychological level, whenever you are talking with someone, you behave towards that person as if he or she is your mother. This transference is a distortion; it is not true. But even when you see through the transference, you are assuming something else that might not be true: You are assuming that the other person is a person. You believe you are a person, you believe this is a chair, and this is a rug. You do not question these things. You assume that this is the real truth, the basic truth. But it is only the appearance.

Surrendering to Holy Will

Surrendering to the Holy Will is freedom because then you are not placing any constraints, preferences, or conditions upon reality. Everything that happens is fine with you. This degree of surrender must happen at all levels. It cannot be a superficial surrender based on an idea of what is spiritually correct. You can’t simply say to yourself, “I surrender to this,” while in your heart you wish something else were happening, thereby rejecting your present experience. True surrender means not seeking or efforting. It means totally flowing with the unfolding of reality, “going with the flow,” as we used to say in the sixties. It means surrendering to God’s will, the flow of the Universal Mind. Whatever He wills is completely welcomed without resistance, without judgment, and without preference.

Facets of Unity, pg. 124

The Way We Ordinarily See the World is Not the Way it Really Is

The way we ordinarily see the world is not the way it really is because we see it from the perspective of our judgments and preferences, our likes and dislikes, our fears and our ideas of how things should be. So to see things as they really are, which is to see things objectively, we have to put these aside—in other words, we have to let go of our minds. Seeing things objectively means that it doesn’t matter whether we think what we’re looking at is good or bad—it means just seeing it as it is. If a scientist is conducting an experiment, he doesn’t say, “I don’t like this so I’ll ignore it.” He may not personally care for the results because they don’t confirm his theory, but pure science means seeing things the way they really are. If he says he is not going to pay attention to the experiment because he doesn’t like it, that is not science. Yet, this is the way most of us deal with reality, inwardly and outwardly. To see reality from the perspective of Holy Perfection means to see that reality is just right as it is; it does not need changes or corrections. This is a very radical notion. If you really took it seriously, you would stop doing many of the things that you do. The moment you see that everything, at every moment, is perfect, you see that your effort to make things better is pointless. You see that what really needs to be done is to observe your mind, your consciousness, in order to see why it is obscured, why it does not see things clearly, and what is making your mirror so cloudy.

Facets of Unity, pg. 141

True Nature Has No Preferences

The way True Nature approaches all questions is by being open with full awareness and understanding of the particular reality that a person is operating in. For example, if a person embraces reality as nondual, as having no separating boundaries, True Nature is very open to that and will respond accordingly. Whatever beliefs, assumptions, and limitations a person has, True Nature is open to see those without trying to change them. If an experience is limited, True Nature sees it in its limitation and doesn’t try to make it be different. True Nature really has no preferences. So, one thing we can learn from True Nature is to have no preference, no choice; we don’t need to choose what to experience. Our experience always simply happens. If we try to choose and say, “This is good, this is bad, this situation should include this and not that,” we are already separating ourselves from True Nature; we are already not practicing. True Nature shows us that to be where we are means having an awareness that embraces whatever is—whatever our perceptions are, at whatever level, in whatever condition or state we are in. That awareness embraces our experience completely, with immediate feeling, with as much understanding as possible. The awareness contacts the experience, holds it, embraces it—just by being there, by being with it, in it, around it.

When True Will is Functioning Activities and Preferences Come from a Real Place

If we learn the lesson that the way it is, is the way it should be, if we accept that, then everything will run smoothly, and in fact will function perfectly in many more ways than you expect—in what will seem like magical, miraculous ways. Of course, having full confidence and trust in life, and knowing that things happen spontaneously, does not mean that you don’t act in your life. I don’t mean that there is no activity, no action, no preferences in your life. When true will is functioning, activities and preferences come from a real place. They are spontaneous expressions of who you are, not reactions to something you don’t like. They are expressions of the truth of the situation, rather than attempts to change that truth. This perspective on will might be difficult to accept, even to see as possible. It is difficult because of our habitual thought. But it is actually the situation, and maybe in time you will come to see it. As you learn this perspective you will live more in the natural state which is positive, loving, sweet and blissful. Only our misunderstandings, which lead to contractions, blockage and a cycle of suffering, keep us from this natural state.

Without Preferences

So, one thing we can learn from True Nature is to have no preference, no choice; we don’t need to choose what to experience. Our experience always simply happens. If we try to choose and say, “This is good, this is bad, this situation should include this and not that,” we are already separating ourselves from True Nature; we are already not practicing. True Nature shows us that to be where we are means having an awareness that embraces whatever is—whatever our perceptions are, at whatever level, in whatever condition or state we are in. That awareness embraces our experience completely, with immediate feeling, with as much understanding as possible. The awareness contacts the experience, holds it, embraces it—just by being there, by being with it, in it, around it.

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