This one was last updated December, 2017.
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People often ask, "Does being mindful mean I can't have opinions or preferences?"
Does it dictate that I can't like Mexican food better than Chinese food? Or, that I can't enjoy this movie more than that movie?
No. Opinions and preferences aren't a problem. The problem is, we become attached to our opinions and preferences. We turn them into stories, and build our identities around them.
I prefer not to eat Chinese food. If I get agitated when I'm presented with Chinese food, I create a problem. I'm holding up my opinion, and making those around me suffer because they don't share it.
What if I feel so strongly about my opinion that I start thinking it's the only legitimate view? Everyone else is wrong, and I refuse to even entertain what they think. At this point, I'm going to consider anyone who feels different my enemy.
Do you see what my aversion to Chinese food has led to? Conflict, maybe even violence. Well, let's hope not!
But, what about attachment to opinions over religion, culture, or sexual preference? People are oppressed and wars are fought over strongly held opinions and the deep-seated beliefs they create. We inherit them from our ancestors, pass them to our children, and reinforce and strengthen them in our groups and social circles.
Attachment to opinions and preferences closes our minds. It prevents us from seeing that we are all connected and entitled to respect, compassion, and equal rights. It divides us into groups, and fosters the mentality of "me vs. you," and "us vs. them."
Mindfulness, on the other hand, helps us drop those attachments. It helps us see that we are all connected. It allows us to have a preference without closing our minds.
And, it doesn't stop you from liking Mexican food better!
What are you trying to "cope" with?
Coping doesn't work - addressing the root cause does. We'll show you how.