Integrating Your 4 Freedoms (Part 6 Of 9) : Pleasure

LIVING A LIFE OF PLEASURE

The true nature of
reality is obviously a mystery. There is no “objective reality” to
fasten onto as a conclusive guide for living. This can be frightening
or freeing, for if there is no absolute certainty, then your reality is
up to you. You create your reality through your concepts and belief
system.

If you conceive of life as hard, people as
self-serving, and yourself as a lone struggler amidst chaos, that is
most likely the reality you will experience. If you conceive of life as
an adventure, people as fellow travelers, and yourself as an explorer
of the great unknown, that is most likely the reality you will
experience, and so on through infinite possibilities and permutations.
Your perception and experience will follow your belief no matter what
the actual circumstances of your life situation.

If you want a
happy, balanced reality, allow yourself to cultivate a pleasure
perspective. The enlightened master Osho taught that the clearest path
to enlightenment is not through hardship but pleasure. Partake of
pleasure; realize bliss.

One path to enlightenment is pleasure

Our
culture manifests a dichotomy toward pleasure. On one hand we crave it,
while on the other hand we deny it. Our body is designed for pleasure
(for example, in the female body, the only purpose of the clitoris is
pleasure). In the absence of pleasure, human beings can become crabby,
mean, and physically or mentally ill. When regularly experiencing
pleasure, most people are happier, nicer to be with, and more
productive in their work. Nevertheless, we are taught that a worthy
life is one of hard work and self-denial, and that we should be
satisfied with receiving our pleasure in the hereafter.

Some
people confuse real pleasure with instant gratification. They become
hedonists, acting only for immediate physical enjoyment and temporary
emotional highs. Always seeking pleasure, always avoiding pain, a
hedonist’s life is shallow and ultimately unsatisfactory. Since our
culture repeatedly warns us of the dangers of hedonism, it is a
challenge to learn to accept pleasure. People fear doing so will make
them bad, selfish, and greedy. However, adopting a pleasure orientation
does not mean you become a hedonist. It does mean that you are grateful
to be a spirit in a body.

You feel all the joys and the
sorrows of love and loss. You give thanks for each new day. You
celebrate living. You play and work hard. You do your inner work to
become fit for a relationship and to awaken spiritually. You understand
that no one is always happy, but you also understand that your
happiness is not dependent upon the changing circumstances of your
life. You make happiness a choice, a way of living intentionally and
consciously, and you can be content even in the face of adversity. You
understand that pain is not optional (it’s part of the human
experience), but that suffering is unnecessary and avoidable. Adversity
and pain become not your masters but your teachers.

When you
adopt a pleasure orientation, you don’t have to seek pleasure. It
simply comes to you. When you enter into committed relationship, when
you open your heart to give and receive love, when you surrender and
let go of all need to control everything, when you stay mindful (fully
present from moment to moment), you will regularly experience great
pleasure and know deep happiness.

Excerpted from our new book Sensual Love Secrets for Couples: The Four Freedoms of Body, Mind, Heart and Soul, by Al Link and Pala Copeland, LlewellynArticle Submission, 2007.

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