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Preferences as Ordering of Thought

Editor's note: This transcript has been lightly edited to bring clarification to certain points of the dialogue and for easier readability. For this reason, it does not match the corresponding audio mp3 word-for-word. However, the overall content and the expressed ideas remain unchanged.

Friend: I think I got lost when you were talking about preferences around hobbies, likes and dislikes and that kind of thing. Then the next thing we went to was that everything is either love or a call for love. Your hobbies and things like that, is just form and content and it’s neither love nor a call for love. Is it a judgment or a preference that I like to play tennis rather than golf.

David: Yes, it’s back on that surface like you were saying about choosing between the blue sweater and the green sweater. Those things are at the surface; the likes and dislikes. Anything that’s an ordering of thought, even preferences, is a judgment, and the only way you can tell this is by your feeling. Let me give you an example: I use the example of going to a familiar restaurant, where you maybe have a favorite dish, and you go in there and you almost salivate waiting for the waitress to come and you say I’ll take the usual. Only this time the waitress comes and says, I’m so sorry but we don’t have that and you have a little twinge of ohhh. I use that example because it sure seems like a common experience. Well, I’m just upset because I don’t have my favorite dish. Remember that if you run everything through the Course’s teaching; the upset is not coming because they don’t have your favorite dish. The upset is coming because in your mind you have chosen the ego, or you have let some priority or expectation take the place of peace of mind. It seems like that’s pretty minor, but… there are no small upsets. Either you’re in a really deep sense of peace or joy or you’re not. Even minor irritation and annoyance or rage, to use an example from the other extreme, that it’s all upsetting. The way the Course is you can see that it takes a while for the mind to get this where Jesus is going to have to teach and teach that there aren’t any differences between upsets. In that sense, that’s when we can relate it back to a judgment or an expectation. It would have to be a judgment or an expectation that I really am expecting to have that blueberry pie or blueberry cheesecake or whatever. The upset is coming from my interpretation of what’s going on. That’s a practical example of how that relates to this.

Friend: You’re trading your peace in for that. I think any time there’s a charge of any kind related to something that I want, that indicates I have a preference and that’s the extent to which I’ll put that between me and my peace of my mind. That’s not to say that you’re not to play tennis or you’re not to play golf. If your intention is to stay at peace and then something comes up and intervenes. If you’re playing tennis and something comes up like it rains and you’re bent out of shape…

David: You could still stay at peace. What the Course does is basically to just ask that question what is it for and what Jesus is doing is he’s just having us train our minds to think of everything as holy encounters. I remember the old win at all costs, very competitive in tennis, but it’s about giving a new purpose to the world. Going to that tennis match or that golf match or to the ball game or going shopping or to the laundry or whatever, but just giving it a different purpose, letting the Holy Spirit’s purpose be the purpose that I’m holding in mind out front. When I’m traveling the country with people it really makes the trip into a joy; holding that intention that everything is a holy encounter. Looking at it that way everything lights up because you end up getting in conversations and meeting people at supermarkets or rest stops or at Course gatherings and here and there. It’s just a different purpose that’s been placed as a priority in the mind whereas you still are doing things. I’ve had people come up as I’ve traveled and I’ve used a couple of tennis examples and they will say “I’ve got a racket. Let’s go out to the tennis court!” and away we go. And even when we’re talking and hit the tennis ball we’re discussing things. It gets away from competition. That’s another thing I’ve noticed as I’ve gotten deeper into this. The desire to be competitive, the desire to win, I can start to see Oh that has to do with my own ego, that’s my own self concept, my own trying to put myself higher up in my mind. And the more you see it it’s not like you make it bad you just slowly lose interest in those kind of things. It’s a back drop. Birthday parties and celebrations and fireworks and this and that, I just look at everything as a back drop to try to see the Holy Spirit’s purpose and that takes away this form thing. A lot of times with the spiritual path people will say I have to start giving up this and giving up that and it seems like a sacrifice. But basically it’s still that level confusion where the mind is so conditioned to form things that when it starts to read this about the worldly ways or the materialistic ways people can get into sacrificial ideas like Oh, I’ve got to give this up and give that up. Basically what it comes down to is yes; give up ego thinking! If you give up ego thinking you’ll give up ego perceiving and ego interpreting. Therefore the behavior will follow automatically when the perceptions change so you don’t have to think What am I going to do to live this right? That’s once again not where the focus belongs. It’s just looking at perception. It’s good news.

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