“The widest possibilities for spiritual growth lie in the give-and-take of everyday relationships.”
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The senses have been conditioned by attraction to the pleasant and aversion to the unpleasant: we should not be ruled by them; they are obstacles on our path.
– Bhagavad Gita
We are conditioned to like some things and to dislike others. There is not necessarily any logic to it – it is often just a matter of habit.
Take food, for example. We like what we learn to like. In Kerala we have a particular kind of mango that is eaten green, when it is acutely sour. There is nothing inherently pleasant about this sensation; in fact, a detached observer would call it painful. But everybody likes it; everybody eats it; so you learn to like it too. And in the end, you cannot do without it.
Beneath all likes and dislikes is a basic compulsion of the mind to pass judgment on everything: “I like this, I don’t like that.” When this compulsion is rigid, it is rigid everywhere – with food, with philosophies, and especially with other people.
So, when we free ourselves from a compulsive liking for sour green mangos – or chocolate cake or red chilis – the whole likes-and-dislikes compulsion is weakened. As a result, all our other likes and dislikes will have a looser hold on us, giving us greater freedom, which will affect even our personal relationships for the better.
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