Thursday, May 11, 2006

Likes & Dislikes

Our minister (Unitarian Universalist) just returned from a sabbatical in Thailand. He spent seven weeks meditating and learning to meditate with the equivalent of the Grand Masters of meditation.

His story was interesting, but what I remember most were his parting words: if you want to clear out all the interference in your daily life, stop "liking" and "disliking."

Wow. I found myself pondering for the rest of the sermon the implications of removing likes and dislikes from my thoughts. From early childhood we ask and are asked, "what is your favorite color/food/flavor of ice cream/class/sport/etc.?" It seems to me that we form images and opinions of ourselves and others based on what we like and dislike. The absence of such structure seems freightening and a little like redefining the world.

I decided to ask him after the service what he thought of my concern. He agreed with me, but said that removing those thoughts, or their importance, allowed us to get to what is real in life. Those thoughts are acutally getting in our way of experiencing something profoundly different.

I still haven't decided how I feel about this, but have no problem trying to reduce the "dislikes" in my life. I feel that is much less freightening than removing the "likes". I will keep you posted on my progress.

Oh, yes, how does this relate to technology? I somehow imagine that by removing the likes and dislikes of our daily thoughts, we float free like a hot air balloon taking off. As our view of the world changes we move closer to a different and mythical virtual experience we seem to strive for in entertainment. Maybe even experiencing a completely different kind of life.

I challenge all to think about this concept without adding any judgment and whether you like it or not. Let me know what you "think."