Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A New Take on Pleasure and Pain

Pleasure begets suffering, that's an old-established spiritual claim. Our likes and dislikes naturally set us up for disappointment. If we like what we consider pleasurable we obviously must mind when it is taken away from us. When you say, “I like sunny days”, you certainly imply that you are bothered by rain. When you say, “I like living in the country-side”, you must imply that you are miserable when you have to move into a big city.  We identify ourselves with our preferences. We say,  "I am a Cowboy"' or "I am a California girl". Yet are we really? Wouldn't the Cowboy be happy to move to grey and rainy London if the love of his life lived there?

We are not saying that you shouldn’t have any preference. This would be pretentious and fake. But you can very much observe who you think you are and how this "someone" tends to interact with life. Just try to observe all the thoughts, feelings, preferences and activities that you think define you. Whenever you identify with these preferences you cannot be completely open to life. Why don't you give the opposite approach a shot: experience how your notions of pleasure and pain, good and bad change as you welcome life with open arms.

Let life shape you - let pleasure and pain melt in the holy Now. When you open up to life you will conclude with us, "it is as it is, and as is, is kind of meaningful and good.

By Christian and Su Zhen

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