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What's So Spiritual About Pleasure?

People often think of pleasure as a thing, something that you like, usually, and that is either present or not. However, looking a little deeper, we see that pleasure is really an experience of feeling good. It rises and falls, then disappears. It can never be repeated as such, it is an experience of the moment. We can have new pleasurable experiences, but only when we are not focused in the past or in the future.

Pleasure is something felt in the body but it doesn't have to be just about something nice happening to the body. We can enjoy the company of family and friends. This generally feels very good; the body registers this feeling as pleasure. Appreciating beauty of any kind feels good, as does the satisfaction of accomplishment. Connecting to that which is greater than our conscious mind and body feels good, too. Really, really good.

Pleasure is a feeling; it is the experience of joy. It is our body's way of saying everything is okay. It is also our way of recognizing that we have no conflicts within our current focus. There is nothing that is causing us to feel afraid, anxious, shamed, or judged at the moment. It is in this state that we feel in harmony with the Greater Parts of ourselves, by whatever name we might call it.

But pleasure, as I mentioned at the outset, changes. Pleasure at any level grows, peaks, and subsides. Often we make ourselves unhappy by bemoaning the loss of that wonderful feeling. The art of pleasure is in recognizing that a pleasure has passed and that by a change of focus a new pleasure is available at any time. It is also in recognizing when something, that was often experienced with pleasure, no longer provides that same level of pleasure.

This unsatisfactoriness is the motivation to seek greater pleasures. For many people this new motivation inspires them to experience greater levels of intensity, hoping that more of the same will give them the same level of pleasure that they experienced before. That rarely, if ever, works and eventually they look elsewhere for that greater pleasure. This is the path of pleasure. It is ongoing adventure of discovery into what really works and what genuinely brings joy and happiness.

I, like so many others, have found spiritual pleasures to be the very best. But I could not have understood them without having experienced a great many other pleasures first and found them to be not good enough. By becoming very attuned to my feelings, and sensitive to what felt good and what didn't, I was in a position to embrace the great pleasures from a place of joy, not a place of duty, Divine orders, moral imperative, or social values.

We are exquisitely built for pleasure. Pleasure, or at least the avoidance of pain, is what motivates us to do anything. In fact, it is what motivates us to do everything. There is always a level of feeling good in even the most altruistic of actions. We do these things because they feel good to us to do. By giving ourselves permission to feel good, even to feel better than we have ever felt before, we allow ourselves to become more and more of who we really are. I think that's pretty divine.

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