The duality of suffering and pleasure
In our society suffering, immolation, sacrifice, etc. have a “good” connotation. Typically, it is the “I” giving up itself for others.
Pleasure, sensuality, sexiness, etc. have a “bad” connotation. It is the “I” being ego centered, hedonistic, indulging himself rather than “helping others.”
Our morality is based on the dichotomy of those values.
Pleasure is mostly condemned and suffering exalted, considered “spiritual.”
Suffering, immolation, sacrifice are always of the “I.” It is the “I” suffering for others, to become better, to accomplish things. This could be easily labeled as Love but it is not. Giving yourself for others without the “I” in between, is indeed Love. The difference cannot be told by the media, the masses, the lawyers… Thus, behind an action there is always an intention, not known by the “others” and mostly rationalized by the “I” to fit an image of sainthood. In time, this becomes absolute hypocrisy.
Paradoxically, pleasure is fulfilling in the experience of “no-I.” If there is an “I” wanting to experience pleasure, that pleasure will be unfulfilling for the “I” cannot reach satisfaction, the ego-mind will continually disturb the experience of pleasure.
Sex is a great example to illustrate the above.
Individuals condemning pleasure in the name of morality, have already a strong conditioning against sexuality. The “I” wants to be in “control” in an experience which is meant to abandon the control of the “I.” A person is unable to be fully present, in the “now” while thinking about being in “control.” We can learn a lot about ourselves from our sexuality.
When the “I” looks for pleasure, it cannot resist the sensations but yet the experience may be unfulfilling. Thus, it becomes addictive. The mind will keep a dream of pursuing full satisfaction which cannot exist.
Thus, the avoidance or regulation of sensual pleasure is preached by many religions and societies. The “rebels” of this sort of morality act in rejection of established moral values, but they are still influenced by the morality of guilt and sin, deep inside.
Their reactionary movement lacks awareness, for with awareness there is no need to be reactionary.
Suffering is used by religions and moral laws as expiation of “sin.” The morality of guilt and shame is created through the exaltation of suffering as a means to redeem the individual from “sin.”
Suffering and pleasure are 2 ends of the same experience. The experience of one side, brings necessarily the other. Therefore, moral values rejecting one side to promote the other are unrealistic, utopic.
Our conditioning is to reject one side of a duality. At this time, that teaching/belief is outdated and detrimental. Integration of all energies, is very important at this time. Here is where the balancing act resides, where harmony in the self means harmony with the world, the Totality.
Suffering and pleasure are part of living Life at this time.Embrace them. They are not meant to be a traumatic experience unless we make it that way; but only a particular and passing experience of the vast range of experiences in Life. It is the dolphin swimming in the ocean: Now you see it, a minute later you will not… yet the Ocean remains with Life. 🙂
The experience of Joy in life
Everyone will agree about the importance of living with Joy… There is no problem in that…however, not everyone will understand joy in the same way.
For some Joy is “not bothering about anything” 🙂 Believe it or not, that is the meaning that some may have in their heads about Joy. To be joyful is to be careless… or with a pretty word: “care-free…”
For others it is about “entertainment.” To get our minds busy in something that will make us laugh and smile.
For others it is about getting into activities that will bring pleasure and elation.
The mind is always in between.
The mind interprets. Joy is not an interpretation.
The mind gets stuck into “right or wrong” actions due to that interpretation. The mind is looking to become something important, something special in the future.
That could be called ego and that is in the mind.
For some, the greatest pleasure or high is found in sex. For these individuals “Sex is mental.” 🙂
The mind worries, the mind assumes, the mind interprets, the mind longs for something, the mind is busy….
The mind could hurt us physically and emotionally. We typically do that unconsciously. A thought appears. The mind interprets. The mind sees the difference. The mind wants to obtain.
Some may hurt themselves trying to obtain a flawless body.
Some may hurt themselves by feeling guilt and shame when the result of their expectations is not obtained.
Paul: “But we have to do something in this life, we cannot just enjoy it…”
Do something. Achieve something. Once you do that, do it again… just change the flavor, would you?
That is the trance of a repetitive mind. That is the mind who is always looking for fulfillment and cannot obtain it.
“Doing” is part of living. “Doing” with an expectation is a disease.
Paul: ” Do you want to go to heaven?”
These are the “good” things that you have to do to get there….
“Just doing it” is to miss the seed of an action, that is our intention.
Paul could become an ascetic and “do everything for others” but, if Paul’s mind is expecting something in return that is the greatest way to build up his ego….his mind.
Paul is expecting for a thank you. Paul is expecting for recognition. Paul is expecting to go to heaven… Same thing.
The mind keeps its longing for presence, that is to be “someone” to affirm its importance, its value.
That is the mirage.
Joy cannot happen when the mind is busy, becoming something, fighting for something, expecting something to happen or when having fear that something will not happen.
If God does not accept you for the way you are and has the aim to “make you better” that will create an expectation and fear in us, undoubtedly.
Fear of not being good enough. Fear of not reaching the expectation.
While living in that fear, there cannot be love to God or to anyone.
Any type of fear takes away our joy.
Being in Joy is a state when there is acceptance of life.
Paul: “But you need to improve. You need to become better…”
Here we go again… “Being” does not require improvement. We just need to let it happen… to let it be.
A child enjoys life until he learns about “improving” himself. That joy goes away.
Let that “improvement” come automatically as a growth in consciousness by acceptance of life but not as “having to do something.”
That is openness.
That type of “improvement” does not come by “doing something.”
The mind needs to be clear, pristine…. Pure.
Purity is not attained by “not doing” something. Purity is in being what we already are… but we cannot let that happen… because we are afraid. Then the mind will be in between.
As long as there is fear of any kind, there cannot be purity.
To clear our minds from beliefs, hang ups, taboos, constraints and expectations is to dissolve that mind which interferes by interpreting life rather than by allowing a complete and direct experience.
Are we afraid of that?
Then we cannot know what joy is.