Resilience & Preferences

Resilience - the ability to cope with change - is not just desirable, but a necessity in our constantly changing environment. The more resilient we are, the more likely we are not merely to survive, but thrive under the most challenging circumstances. Perhaps the epitome of resilience is the capacity to be perfectly equanimous, peaceful, and joyful regardless of what is happening externally & internally, up to and including our own death. Such resilience may sound extreme, even unattainable, but it's actually a well-documented phenomenon called post-traumatic growth:

We all would like to be resilient, but many of us doubt our capacity to become seriously resilient. This is partly because our culture is far more interested in comfort & instant gratification than slow, progressive cultivation of resilience. But perhaps mostly it's because we cling so tightly to our preferences - our likes & dislikes. We go so far as to conflate our very identity - who / what we are - with our preferences. Becoming demonstrably upset over minor, temporary inconveniences now seems socially acceptable - it's a direct personal assault if I can't have things exactly "my way"! Such "first world problems" are complete opposites of resilience.

Resiliency is earned by progressively taking one's preferences less & less seriously.

"One trains by being what one is to become. If the goal is to become peaceful, the way there is to be peaceful." Gil Fronsdal

"The only attainment is that of letting go - the stillness of the unseeking heart. While each hunger has a different manifestation and feeling tone, the happiness and compassion of freedom have one taste." Gregory Kramer

We persevere in our meditation practice despite the fact that we might prefer (preferences) any number of instant gratifications / distractions over meditation.

The aim & result of serious meditation practice is a qualitatively different category of happiness that can only be experienced & appreciated personally. To experience this quality of life, we need to let go of our addiction to preferences.

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