Pleasure and Pain

Very few look at the experience of pleasure as a problem to be solved. That judgment is strictly reserved for pain.

As soon as we have a problem, somebody hurts us, something goes wrong, or whatever it is that causes us pain, we go into problem-solving mode to, as quickly as possible, remove the pain, as if it were some kind of bug crawling up our leg. That’s understandable.

Given that we find this and that and that in this in duality, we could easily be similarly squeamish about pain’s “opposite”—pleasure.

Pleasure is a kind of tease, at cause for addictive types of behavior. We get happy for some reason, the happiness fades, and then we feel a need to get happy again. We become consumers. Consumers of experience that create pleasure. Look at the world. It more or less operates on this simple paradigm.

And more than consumers, we become addicts. We become addicted to sources of pleasure, which can easily cause us to lose and give ourselves up in pursuit of the next happy feeling, and the next, and the next… ad infinitum.

At some point, we need to hop off of the wheel—the wheel of pain and pleasure. The constant cycle between the two grows unbearably frustrating after enough go arounds. We tire of the drama, we tire of the seeking, and we start to yearn for a deeper, more stable experience.

Rumi once said, “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.”

He was talking about the space beyond duality, which is the space you are already occupying right now and here, in this very moment.

In this field — this space — there is total completeness. Utter and absolute perfection. Nothing needs to change here. Nothing can be improved or diminished. All our mentally-constructed labels of this, that, good, bad, pleasure, pain dissolve and disappear. In fact, they were never there to begin with. They were dreams.

What we are left with is one of the most fundamental truths of existence that our project-oriented minds and egos just won’t believe. All is already well.

If we can get this — really get this — with more than just our minds but with our felt sense of being, we can access the universally accessible and sustainable source of joy that is ever present and never ending.

We can smile for no reason. And keep smiling. Just because.