Conscious Choice: Mild Preferences Free Us

All suffering comes from our need to have things a certain way.

I can hear your protests.  I can hear them because I’ve had them, too.  I still sometimes have them.  “I’m suffering because of this illness or physical pain.”  “I’m suffering because someone I love died.”  “I’m suffering because I don’t have enough money.”  And our lists go on.

When I feel sick or experience pain, even chronic pain, it is my thinking that causes the suffering.  “I shouldn’t be in pain.  I’m tired of this.  When will I feel better? I can’t take another minute of this . . .”  When I accept what is, when I allow things to be as they are, rather than how I think I need them to be, then the suffering stops.

I may still be uncomfortable with the pain and that too will shift.  When I have a mild preference for being pain-free, then I create more space for the pain to ease or for me modify how I do my day even while experiencing the pain.

beautiful middle aged woman

Mild preferences move us toward accepting what is. 
As we accept what is, we eliminate suffering.

When we feel out of control, we tend to have strong preferences.  We become very attached to those preferences and when they don’t happen, we feel even more out of control.  Quickly, we spin into a downward spiral.

If instead, we can use the feeling of being out of control as the signal to dial back our preference to mild, we then begin an upward spiral.  “It would be great if I felt better,  And, I don’t feel so good at the moment.  And, this is what I can do even while feeling this way.”

Mild preferences move us toward accepting what is.  Because the preference is mild, I’m fine even if I don’t get what I prefer in a moment.  My own personal experience in working with dialing back my preferences to mild: what I would prefer often naturally comes to pass.  I suspect this happens because I don’t have such heavy, attachment energy involved in the mix.

So, what about you?  In what area of your life might you like to play with dialing your preferences back to mild?

Feel free to post your comments, insights and experiences with your strengths below.

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Ann Strong, founder of Strong from Within and Thriving Coaches.

Author of Thriving Work.


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