In truth, as long as we believe that our substitutes are all the pleasure there is, we’re not able to believe the full pleasure of life is for real. Living a decent life implies living a life of sacrifice. Yuck. But we’ve got this all wrong, because we’ve got our wires crossed. We can take in genuine pleasure only to the degree we give up all the distorted habitual ways we have found to activate our life force. And for many of us is through negative pleasure. To the extent we cling to these false ways of living, we can’t bear real pleasure.
The vicious circle we’re in looks something like this. The less we want to give up our destructive ways, the less we can accept and believe in pleasure. Then the less we believe in real pleasure, the less we want to give up our favorite “pleasure”. And the less we want to give up whatever obstructs us from genuine pleasure, the less commitment we have to experience real pleasure. In the end, we’re stuck trying to wring the best life possible from our favorite bad habits—our life-destroying patterns.
If there’s no by-product of pleasure, then being mature, self-responsible people who accept reality as it is, is going to be a tough sell. But then, how much fun is it really to insist on being an irresponsible child? On being someone who makes others pay for our actions or inactions, and who secretly wants to cheat life? The lack of integrity wound up in this is simply never going to feel good.
And if, in our guts, we don’t feel good about ourselves, we’re a far cry from feeling pleasure. We’re just too busy roiling in negative inner energies. But by the same token, if we get a whiff of self-responsibility by way of some self-respect once we’re no longer trying to cheat life, to that same degree we become capable of experiencing pleasure.
If we can start to look forward to a full and pleasurable existence, it won’t be so hard to give up some of our destructive patterns. We’ll be able to stand on our own feet and accept life’s unavoidable frustrations. This equation must always come out even. Without an understanding of this basic truth, we’ll continue to hunt for pleasure in an unhealthy way. We’ll look for a reward for the “good child” from some authority we depend on for good feelings.
We need to discover for ourselves the pleasure of self-autonomy, in the best sense of the word, which we have to work for. Once the notion that adulthood is a hardship eases up, we’ll feel less threatened by what self-responsibility entails. We’ll open to its rewards and its inherent pleasure.
Listen and learn more.