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Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Your Favorite Mug

There you go. Reaching for that favorite mug of yours. The one that you instinctively grab for while in a caffeine deprived  low energy daze. You have other ones that you don’t seem to use as often. I mean why would you anyways? It’s your favorite mug. You have your own comfortable preferences and biased clinging to certain material objects.

You gravitate towards what you want and what you know. Why do you like that specific mug? Is it because it is blue and you have always been drawn to the color blue? Maybe it is the size of it or the particular gloss applied to the surface. Maybe your favorite mug has your favorite quote plastered all around it or it features your favorite sports mascot. Whatever the case, you have your particular “favorites” of everything in your life.

What makes us reach for things that please us and make us more set in our own ways and more comfortable with what we think we are? Do we carry our preferences from adolescence to adult hood? Do we ever go outside the box of our own constrained particularity?

Are our preferences limiting us? Do we really have a free will to choose what our preferences are?
Aren't we swayed by the preferences and discrimination we have made in the past? If they were any different, would we have made different choices?

It is easy to get caught up in our own ways. We get comfortable with what we like and the very idea of going outside of our comfort zone to mold new preferences and tastes frightens us. It may not scare us in a evil werewolf surgeon type of way, but it it leads us into a path of murky uncertainty. We may always get that Mole’ Enchilada plate at the Tex-Mex restaurant without trying to venture out to new dishes. We know that that specific dish will deliver us the goods we were promised based on past experience. We are limited to our own preferences by learning what we have venture out from in the past.

We may prefer Vodka over Tequila because Tequila gives us the worst diarrhea and hangover the next day. This in essence is great because that is how we learn and learn to love what we prefer even if they amount to be very hard lessons.

So we get that there are things that are definitely off limits. This is great. This is what makes us unique and helps us assimilate and get along with people of similar tastes and preferences. However, sometimes we repeat the same patterns and behaviors that we are not aware of. We may get deterred from the idea of trying new things because it amounts in going against the grain of our own neural pathways. It takes more effort and more conviction to try to challenge your own learned perspective. If we venture more into the unknown, we will discover more things we didn’t know we even liked. It will expand our consciousness and our awareness. It will allow us to discover new passions, talents and communities of people that share the same experiential interests.

The moment we start to question why we like what we like, we can start to unhook ourselves from dull preferences that acted more as escapes in the past. We can escape and ultimately understand the plague of personal preferences that has boxed us into a mold of past attachments and exposures.

It may not be easy at first. The idea of us switching our musical playlists to listening to full albums may at first be a little daunting. Our brains do not want us to go outside the regular boorish routine we are use to. I’ve heard that 21 days of a doing something turns into a habit. This from personal experimentation rings true with me. If we venture out and expose ourselves to things we at first don’t like, we can learn to observe why we dislike or like them in the first place. We can take a step back and observe how oddly peculiar and unique or likes and dislikes are. Maybe we never took the time to question them fully with courage and conviction? Maybe we held onto them because our parents told us what was good and bad? Maybe we adopted our tastes based upon the friends we hung out with? Then we fall into the trap of thinking we like the things we use to think we liked. Do you understand?

We are so eager to get attached to personal preferences and then we go about forming those preferences into our own self perceived fixed identity. We align ourselves for who we think we are based upon what we like, dislike or indifferent to. We become so easily swayed towards or away from the things that tickle our pleasure centers or disturb us in many ways.

Rewire those neural pathways. Challenging yourself.
Challenging our opinions and assumptions.
Challenging our withering and unchecked cognitive biases.
Becoming more conscientious and willing to be with what ever comes.
Aligning yourself with the mindset of no expectations. A journey of discovering what makes you feel passionate, captivated and invigorated!

There are infinite possibilities and potentialities. When we can not get so attached to what we like and form a illusory fixed identity, we can dig deeper within ourselves to discover a wellspring of authenticity and compassion. We can open up ourselves to why we like or dislike things in the first place. When that vulnerability is present, a new sense of self knowledge emerges and brings us closer to the immensity and totality of our being. We can learn, challenge and keep the things we like without trying to form an identity around them.

“ We judge, we evaluate, we compare, we deny and accept, but we never observe actually what is, and for most people this seems to be the most difficult thing to do; yet this alone is the beginning of self-knowledge.” - J. Krishnamurti


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