Finding Meaning in Pleasure and Pain
The philosophy of the East tends to be hard for us Westerners to embrace. Hinduism and Buddhism encourage you to transcend pleasure and pain, which to us sometimes sounds like indifference. In our coffee addicted society, we always aspire to be passionate about something, which brings pleasure and pain with it. By the way, the German word for passion, Leidenschaft, literally translates into generates suffering.
To me pleasure and pain are 2 different sides of the same coin. If your ideal is balance, both imply a disturbance. Have you observed how your ego takes off when somebody important pays you a compliment. It requires time and conscious efforts to get yourself back in balance afterwards. Pain and suffering on the other hand weaken you and undermine your self-confidence, so you similarly have to consciously inflate your self back to your old self to find balance again.
Having said all this, I do not root for balance either; I look for meaning instead. Embrace and welcome everything that happens to you in your life as long as it is meaningful to you. My spiritual journey is all about learning. As long as every pleasurable and painful experience brings insights along the way and transforms me, bring it on!
Dear Wachusettgirl, I love the way you express the point. Somebody once asked in this forum what one can take into next life, and that's it: the experiences one has made. In my case, I must have been either really wealthy, or discovered that wealth is of no importance whatsover in a previous life. Pretty much since I was young, money or wealth has never been important, I just feel rich independent of what I have.
We all live longer and we live more intensely than ever before. What took us a few lifetimes before, we can now accomplish in decades. I believe "Been there, done that" is a deeply spiritual expression.
balance = non resistance
My experience leads me to suspect that there is nothing wrong with pleasure or pain...
And that the balance we achieve is through deeply accepting the pleasure and the pain...
The challenge of course, is our attachments... We tend to cling to pleasure (sometimes called craving), and resist/avoid pain (also called aversion).
We can live a life that is full of passion... we just have to be willing to let go... and incidentally, the clinging tends to take a lot of 'juice' out of the passion;) when we relax and let go, it is much more fulfilling
On the other hand... we can also experience pain... and when we let go of our resistance... the suffering is vastly reduced... and we tend to really learn a lot more
Of course this is all a bit easier said than done... and this is just what my experience leads me to suspect...:D
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