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Preferences and Practical Wisdom

Three Women in a Restaurant
Episode No. 221

Shambhavi talks about karmic conditioning, accessing our natural wisdom, and the old prescription that we should have no preferences if we are “spiritual.” A podcast from Satsang with Shambhavi

Podcast First Words

So you hear in different kinds of traditions, especially from India, that the idea is that we wouldn’t have preferences. What we can usefully take that to mean is that we’re no longer rejecting various circumstances or running toward various circumstances out of some maniacal search for pleasure or fulfillment. Instead we’re enjoying every circumstance and responding to it with spontaneity. We’re being in every circumstance as it arises fresh and new. We do this without pushing anything away or pulling anything toward us because we feel a compulsion to gain pleasure or comfort. Or because we feel a compulsion to reject anything that interrupts our story about how our lives should be.

So when people say we shouldn’t have any preferences, sometimes that gets misinterpreted to mean we shouldn’t make any choices. Or we shouldn’t even have any discernment about circumstance. Certainly as we wake up more, we get more and more discernment.

And the way that we operate with discernment in a more awake way is by choosing things that are using our energy in ways that support what our heart most deeply desires. We’re using our activity to support the process of waking up and to help other people and help ourselves. As we go along, we’re making more and more skillful choices about how we use our energy completely based on practicality or spontaneous wisdom, but not based on compulsion. And that’s really the difference.