The Beauty of Having Preferences instead of Attachments

In yoga the two important practices to develop inner peace are spiritual discernment and detachment:

  • Discernment helps you to understand which desires spring from your ego, and which ones propel your growth and lead to greater inner peace and joy. Desires springing from your ego are only temporary. As soon as you cling to an object in the ever-changing world and identify with it, you are attached and not free. Yoga strives for freedom and for identification only with your Higher Self. If you focus on the unchanging, if you are Soul conscious and if you are filled with beautiful thoughts, your reality will be beautiful as well. How you think determines how you perceive your life and eventually how it unfolds for you.
  • Detachment arises from your level of self-mastery; the ability to control your physical body, emotions and thoughts. It is the ability to choose consciously every moment of your life what you do, think and feel. With detachment you are unmoved by happiness or pain and yet fully active and serving in this world. The problem with attachments is that they leave you feeling powerless. You may have the feeling, that you “have to have that thing/food/person/object” in order to be happy. Through detachment, you regain your feeling of peace and well-being.

The following change in your thinking builds upon these two principles, is easy and yet very profound (“The Universal Laws of God” by Dr. Joshua David Stone, p.139):

“‘All suffering comes from your attachments’, as Lord Buddha stated in his Four Noble Truths. With preferences you are happy whichever way a situation turns out, but with attachments you lose your inner peace if things don’t go the way you had wanted. The negative ego causes us to be attached to everything. Spirit guides us to have rather preferences than attachments. An attachment is an attitude that causes us to be depressed or angry or upset if our expectations are not met. So what the Buddha basically is saying is if we give up all our attachments, we no longer have to experience suffering at all. It isn’t anything external that causes the suffering. Some people believe that they are not allowed to have preferences. It is very important in life that we have our preferences and that we go after them with all our heart, and Soul, and Mind, and might. However, if they don’t come about, it is important to prepare to be happy anyway. By doing this happiness becomes a state of mind rather than a condition outside of self. The happiness so many are seeking lies in the developing a certain perspective towards life.”

Here is another example of how to apply this principle besides letting go of situations:  Instead of just having e.g. a coffee mindlessly, if you want to reduce your coffee intake, you can sit down and ask: “Is it really my preference to have coffee now? Or would I prefer to make another choice? ” Sometimes you might choose the coffee and sometimes you might take tea instead. In either case you still have the preference to have coffee, but as you are consciously choosing you can feel empowered and proud for making real choices. The fact, that you pose the question will give you the space to discover and choose other options. It is part of becoming conscious and aware.

Imagine how much more peace you would experience, when you put this practice into practice.