Setting Up What You Like Against What You Dislike? A Mystic’s Guidance On This Inescapable Reality
Sengsten, 3rd Zen Patriarch said, “To set up what you like against what you dislike is the dis-ease of the mind. When the deep meaning of things is not understood, the mind’s essential peace is disturbed to no avail.”
As you read our Mystic’s words, your mind will unconsciously begin to create a strategy for how to stop setting up what you like against what you dislike.
Paradoxically, this unconscious action sets up the exact dynamic it is striving to avoid. Choosing “for” not setting up what you like against what you dislike simultaneously creates the scenario of also being “against” it. Thus, this way of understanding our Mystic’s words does the very thing the words seem to suggest we should not do . . . major paradox and dilemma.
Because you are, in fact, designed by nature to move toward pleasure and to move away from pain, you have no choice but to experience this biological directive — again and again and again.
So, what is our mystic advising you to do? He goes on to suggest that discovering the deep meaning of things will shift this root cause of the mind’s dis-ease. However, even when this wisdom is uncovered, the process of setting up what you like against what you dislike does not actually change. What does change is your way of relating to it.
So what is the deep meaning of things that can shift your perspective and allow the mind’s essential peace to prevail over this biological drive? The key is opening to the realization that life thrives on the tension between polar pairs.
In fact, polar pairs (or polarities) are the fundamental pattern of our physical, mental, emotional and energetic dimensions of existence. And, surprisingly enough, life values both poles equally.
Because together they are the dynamic duo that allows manifestation or creation to occur.
Your mystical eyes are capable of perceiving polar pairs as the expression of Oneness as it appears on this plane. The two poles are in fact an organic unity with no antagonism between them. For example, for breathing to occur, both the in breath and the out breath are needed. For creativity to occur, both chaos and order are required. For relationship to occur, both a self and an other are essential.
What your human eyes perceive as enemies engaged in mortal combat is actually lovers in a deep harmonious embrace. What we label as antagonism between the two poles is actually, from the Mystical perspective, the creative dynamic tension of life. It is this very tension between the two poles that pulls your potential into actualization. What you normally perceive as “conflict” shifts in the presence of your mystical eyes to life’s creativity in disguise.
When this deep meaning of things is understood, a capacity to embrace the totality of life begins to emerge. Give it a try and see what happens when you imagine what you like and what you dislike as partners engaged in creating something new.
May your days reveal a deepening awareness of the mind’s automatic drive to set up what you like against what you dislike. And . . . may you catch a glimpse of the hidden harmony unfolding between the two — and hopefully, having a good laugh at the absurdity of it all.