Pleasure and pain are complete opposites and we naturally tend to want to experience more of one than the other.
But what I have come to learn is that pleasure and pain are one. They exist in the same space. One cannot exist without the other.
Therefore, the more you try to experience or seek pleasure, the more you will expose yourself to pain.
Now this isn’t just something that just fits for pleasure and pain – the same is also true about yes vs no, positive thoughts vs negative thoughts, love vs hate, good energy vs bad energy etc. In fact, it is true for most things.
Let me explain.
The best way to think about it is like two sides of the same coin – no matter how hard you try to get rid of one side, it will always exist in the same space as the opposite side. They can only exist together. For example, if you took a coin and tried to shave down or cut into one side, it will still exist as long as the other side does. It’s impossible to only have a one-sided coin.
And this is why when you go chasing pleasure, inevitably you are opening yourself up to the possibility of experiencing some pain.
You might say what is wrong with that? Well, I’m not saying there is anything right or wrong with it, I’m just highlighting that it’s impossible to only seek or feel pleasure without pain also existing.
Here’s a good example; have you ever been to a restaurant that lots of people have been raving about, telling you how great it is and how amazing the food is. Then when you go for yourself, you can’t help but feel disappointed. This is because of the expectation you have put on the pleasure you will experience at the restaurant, through what your friends have said. So inevitably when you don’t quite reach that level of pleasure, you are disappointed (which is the pain) and probably even start to question what your friends were on about in the first place.
The same goes for relationships with a partner, family or friends, the more attachment and expectations you place on the other person, be it them replying to a message or phone call or even how you expect them to show up – the more they don’t meet that expectation and bring you pleasure, the more of the pain you will feel.
I hope this is making sense?
So then we have to ask, what is pleasure? In my experience pleasure is essentially the good thought and feeling that we attach to any moment or situation. It’s the lens that we view that experience from within ourselves.
And pain is what we experience when the pleasure isn’t there. So the more we don’t have the experience of the thing we are seeking pleasure in, the more of the pain we will inevitably feel.
It’s ultimately a conflict that we build up within ourselves; the more we try to seek one side of pleasure or pain, the harder we push against the other one and experience and internal conflict.
In order for us to avoid these feelings, the best thing we can do is to accept any given situation as what it is. If you can truly accept something as it is then you will not attach any thinking to it and therefore the feeling of either pleasure or pain no longer exists as you are experiencing the situation for what it is – this is what happens when we are truly present and in the moment – all of our thinking and feeling falls away.
Have you ever noticed this happen when you’re caught up in a good book, of having a great conversation with someone? Or even when you’re totally in your zone playing sports?
That’s because we live life moment to moment and in each moment we bring a thought and a feeling. It is how we interact with these thoughts and feelings which then creates our experience of that moment – and when we are totally in the moment, we don’t go chasing other thoughts or feelings of either pleasure or pain, other than the one we are dealing with in that exact present moment.
If we can allow the thoughts and feelings to come and go – as is natural for our brains to do, then we can live more in the present and in the moment rather than inside our own heads and the thoughts and feelings that we attach ourselves to.
So, stop looking to seek pleasure in your life. Live within each moment and allow yourself to feel what it happening within that moment. The thoughts and feelings will come and go with each passing moment.
It is from this space where we find true clarity.
Peace and love,