In our Zen Practice, we drop judgments and preferences. We also learn how to drop without dropping. We do both at once. In "Just Sitting" Zazen, we drop all judgments and learn to live from such perspective, but people often misunderstand what this really means. Of course, if we are to live as human beings, we must have preferences and make choices. Otherwise, we can't function. We could not choose to stand up or sit down, wait for the green light to "go" instead of running red lights, we could not even choose to get out of bed in the morning.
So, how to do both at once? Ah, this is one of the great discoveries of Zen Buddhism, namely, that folks can live on a couple or more "channels" (for want of a better term) at once, seemingly conflicting viewpoints without conflict.
Well, for example, we drop all "likes" and "dislikes" on one channel, even as we must have "likes" and "dislikes" on another. The result is
like choosing what you like, and avoiding what you dislike, but fully accepting either one ... all at the same time. For example, you go into
life's ice cream store and ask for vanilla. But all they have is strawberry, which you hate. You embrace the fact that life sometimes
gives strawberry. When vanilla, eat vanilla, when strawberry ... savor the strawberry.
Do you see a bit how that works? Most folks think that you must only live on one channel or the other.
HOWEVER, during Zazen itself, we practice dropping all preferences PERIOD. In life, we can live having both preferences and no preferences, but in Shikantaza, we just practice having no preferences. This is very important.