Thursday, July 23, 2009

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!

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