Which Do You Like?

“S’pose you didn’t have nobody. S’pose you couldn’t go into the bunk house and play rummy ’cause you were black… A guy needs somebody – to be near him… I tell ya a guy gets too lonely an’ he gets sick.” ~John Steinbeck, Of Mice & Men

which do you like? 5 ~d nelson

which do you like? 5 ~d nelson

A distant memory flashed by after
hearing the news last night.
I’m at hospital, sick while aΒ 4th grader & the doctor asks,
“what is your favorite color?”
A feeling of, perhaps, despair added to my weakness,
“I think I don’t have a favorite, sir.”

which do you like? ~d nelson

which do you like? ~d nelson

I slept a lot getting over that bout with dehydration & anemia.
Later I awoke, and upon seeing a picture of Jesus on the wall
talking to children while tending sheep in a lush, grassy meadow,
I told the doctor that my favorite color was green.
Compared with my inner weather & the cloudiness outside
green seemed appealingly calming and alive.

which do you like? 2

which do you like? 2

“Are there colors you don’t like?,” he then asked.
Somehow I remembered playing in the fireplace and my hand getting burned.
“Red makes me afraid”, I said. I guess at that time,
it meant that I didn’t like it.
Looking back, he might have been distracting me from my fatigueΒ & ill-health,
but it was curious when he asked, “so you like green more than red?”

which do you like? 6

which do you like? 6

“I think so, or maybe, I don’t know for sure,” I said.
I thought about the harlequin ice cream my
parched dry throat was craving; white, brown, pink;
vanilla, chocolate & strawberry seemed equally appealing.
“To see orange sunsets, blue skies or grassy fields
is a precious gift. All colors are gifts for our eyes”, he said.

which do you like? 7

which do you like? 7

“Can I learn to like red again, is that possible?”
He looked at me & smiled,
“if you want to like it, you will find its beauty.
All rainbow’s colors, in fact, all things have their purpose & beauty.”

which do you like? 3

which do you like? 3

“Remember to drink water during the day
to get over your dehydration, young man.
Pay attention to what you like & especially
to what you don’t like.
When people or other living things
are disliked
they could die.
And when those dark rains fall
we all bleed the same.”

which do you like? 7

which do you like? 7

Seeing that harmful actions arise from anger, fear, greed, and intolerance, which in turn come from dualistic and discriminative thinking, I will cultivate openness, non-discrimination, and non-attachment to views in order to transform violence, fanaticism, and dogmatism in myself and in the world. ~Thich Nhat Hanh, from the 5 mindfulness trainings



51 thoughts on “Which Do You Like?

  1. Hariod Brawn

    We all have (pre)dispositions, having evolved so as to adopt them, and this seems inarguable. The trick seems to be in volitionally leaving them alone, by which method their efficacy and potency dissolves of itself. What do you think, David, would this be your way, what you might call a process of non-identification, or would it be too interventionist?

    1. smilecalm Post author

      thank you, Hariod for recognizing
      our evolved habit of predispositions!
      seems mind can’t help but have
      attachments & aversions, but perhaps
      with awareness of consciousness’ lens
      within ourselves, it’s possible to find value in differences. and yes, i’d suggest
      personal & social interventions πŸ™‚

  2. Walking My Path: Mindful Wanderings in Nature

    “All rainbow’s colors, in fact, all things have their purpose & beauty.” Lovely line, David, and I always love your Thich Nhat Hanh quotes.
    I appreciate this post, and the reminder to be aware of dualistic thinking and non-attachment. I do find myself attached to certain outcomes. It’s never good to fight reality. πŸ™‚
    Have a lovely weekend, David.

    1. smilecalm Post author

      i’m happy we can co-exist
      in harmony on this rainbow, Mary
      despite our differences and varying shades & preferences.
      may your day be well πŸ™‚

  3. MK

    A lovely piece, David. You take us down a winding road to a peaceful place, in which your question “which do you like?” answers itself. The attitude that leads to choosing & likes & dislikes dissipates, leaving only a welcoming acceptance.

    1. smilecalm Post author

      I can’t find anything
      to dislike about this comment, Michael!
      Thank you for this kind summary
      of what I hoped for as I typed
      away last night πŸ™‚

  4. Carol A. Hand

    Profound insights, David. I’m particularly drawn to a particular passage:

    “Pay attention to what you like & especially
    to what you don’t like.
    When people or other living things
    are disliked
    they could die.”

    It makes me wonder if the desperation and cruelty we see in past and present days are the reactions people have when they feel disliked/hated. Does the need to survive the dislike or hatred of many provoke those in power to annihilate life before it destroys them? Do they strike first, blindly, simply to survive?

    1. smilecalm Post author

      thank you for these essential questions, Carol! i believe our innate desire for harmony & connection fuels actions which, we believe, will give us more of that feel good & less of that feel bad. feeling threatened, humans & many other animals strike out. don’t we have so much more potential? i can understand the difficulty in realizing the wisdom of not behaving as a victim, when real physical & emotional pain going on inside. perhaps a day will come when we have a national, or even global recognition of our hurts, days of crying, perhaps bringing about a collective healing to comfort this state in human history we find ourselves in, imho πŸ™‚

  5. Genie

    Ever since I was a child, red has been my favourite colour.
    It’s fun and vibrant, perhaps long winters added to the attraction to red, grey can become wearisome after awhile, not the colour itself, but when it’s in the sky for months on end.

    Hold on, I’ll find a poem that I wrote in a tribute to red: Secret’s Out
    Red says, “I’m the royal in purple,
    Blue is just a tag-along who’s
    Convinced people who think they’re
    ‘Royals’, that they have ‘blue blood’!
    I’m the true Royal… Red is life.”

    1. smilecalm Post author

      thank you for this insight, Tom!
      living in mixed-race societies seems to necessitate tolerance of each other. when i lived in homogeneous societies
      i experienced some acceptance
      and some nonacceptance. i agree that blossoming in harmony is possible πŸ™‚

  6. Dennis the Vizsla

    hello smilecalm its dennis the vizsla dog hay i kan tel yoo wot dadas fayvrit kolor is it is orandj!!! i think it is his sekund and third most fayvrit kolor too!!! ha ha ok bye

  7. Vicki

    I think we all have attachments and aversions. That’s OK. But when we allow these sentiments to colour our lives to the point of anger, violence, destruction and hate, that’s when they become a problem. Negative emotions weigh heavy on our Mind, Body & Spirit. Positive uplifts us and brings universal love and understanding.

    I don’t particularly like orange or yellow, but when it falls into a rainbow, it becomes part of a complete vision of pure joy. Does any person not respond with rapture when they see a rainbow (well, perhaps not the vision impaired, but you know what I mean).

    I have an orange cushion on my sofa at the moment. On its own, it looks garish and bright – not to my taste at all. But in the room on a blue sofa, it complements the colours in 2 Japanese and Tibetan mounted prints on the wall and brings harmony to my room. When I walk in to the room, the colours join in a celebration which extends out to the vivid blue sky and terracotta bricks of the building next door.. My room becomes the sky and the sky becomes my room.

    (of course I am lucky enough to have floor to ceiling windows in the main room of my apartment).

    1. smilecalm Post author

      thank you for this colorful exploration of your decor, Vicki! seems they are colors that balance well in your environment; from room to sky. i’m not sure i have favorite colors, but at any given moment, a color may seem especially attractive or non-appealing. i hope they don’t take it personally πŸ™‚

  8. Cate

    A wonderful, thought-provoking reflection, my friend! I love the repeated question: Which do you like? It helps me see the arbitrariness of my likes and dislikes .. Wonderful images, too.

    1. smilecalm Post author

      thank you for your kind, wonderful point, Cate. these thoughts & feelings come & go based on many transient conditions. i can’t help but like your comment πŸ™‚

  9. niasunset

    Great post, dear David! How beautiful these words, β€œAll rainbow’s colors, in fact, all things have their purpose & beauty.” Photographs are amazing too. Thank you, have a nice day, Love, nia

  10. Mind Body Soul Stylist

    Choosing our favorite color is often one of the first ways we, as children, identify by. It gives us power which hopefully develops to change our own worlds, and maybe even the rest of the world — as so beautifully illustrated in the quote you pulled by Thich Nhat Hanh. Happy Sunday!

  11. Annika Perry

    Beautiful post, David – as always starting with the closer and personal before moving to the deeper wider message. By intense dislike one gives life and power to such emotions – often at a huge price. Two wonderful quotes as well! πŸ˜€

    1. smilecalm Post author

      thank you for kindly helping make it powerful, Val!
      I prefer your colorful words
      over less colorful ones.
      Perhaps that’s why I’m still
      finding who I already am πŸ™‚

  12. AmyRose🌹

    My goodness, David, there is so much to THINK about and to absorb in this post of yours. Each and every color has a purpose and so in saying, I don’t have a favorite color other then green. No that’s not right either. Green for me right now is healing, and so that is what I crave. Yet when I am behind my camera, all colors are just as important. Yes it is wise to listen to our bodies so we don’t become ill. If we all just attuned ourselves simply to the colors of All That Is, we would discover our world to be transformed to such amazing beauty. David, once again, you have got me thinking ….. πŸ™‚ ❀

    1. smilecalm Post author

      thank you for such a sweet, colorful message, Amy! Isn’t it amazing to be able to see
      different colors, even though some may seem more preferable than others? πŸ™‚

  13. harulawordsthatserve

    I love colour, brightness, boldness, and I adore these photographs – stunning! What a kind, wise doctor πŸ™‚ Paying attention makes me realize that my preferences change daily, even moment to moment, and it’s sometimes a hint at what’s going on inside me, the colour(s) that I’m responding to in that moment. Beautiful food for thought – thank you πŸ™‚ Blessings, Harula xxx


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