Living a life of pleasure the true nature of reality is obviously a mystery


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, Llewellyn, 2007.

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