So where does our pleasure lie in all of this pain? Can pain cancel out all hopes of ever feeling pleasure again?
I believe not. It just momentarily separates us from our joy.
In the Baruch Spinoza’s book of Ethics, he details the origin and nature of emotions. His definition of Pleasure and Pain are:
- Pleasure: A passive state wherein the mind passes to a greater perfection
- Pain: a passive state wherein the mind passes to a lesser perfection
Yet somehow when we feel pain it doesn’t seem like a passive emotion. And when we feel pleasure – it is an overwhelming sense of joy, not passive either.
The reality is that the pleasure vs pain indicators are just that – indicators. Like bumper cars, but with pleasure and pain you bump and learn what feels good and what doesn’t – feel good.
At our basic core we all seek out pleasure above all things.
From even the earliest stages of our lives we seek out feeling good. Feeling loved and feeling pleasure.
What does pleasure guide us to? Our Happiness? Contentment? Joy?
- Caring for your own wellbeing – eating well, working out, taking care of your appearance to please you
- The joy of our family, friends and loved one being happy and fulfilled
- Goals and achievements obtained
Guilty Pleasures have a purpose in our lives by providing:
- A release from the mundane
- Exciting chances - taking a risk
- Rebelling against the norm
- Breaking free from routine
- A sense of being Unique
- An expression of ourselves we think will NOT be accepted by the masses
But what guilty pleasures do you have that end up bringing you pain – because they hold you back from pleasure?
Within Pleasure vs Pain as a principle of learning about ourselves it becomes evident that KNOWING our pleasure and pain points is a discovery into our own full self-awareness. When you KNOW what you want, what feels good to you and what causes pain – one is more able to guide through conscious choice acts that create their desired effect.
Ask your client: What feels good to you? What brings you pleasure?
Ask them to go into an exploration of their emotions, their feelings, their physical reactions, and intimately to their very soul.
Ask them to listen to their body by noting how they react to a situation. Where do they feel tense, tight, and uneasy? Is it in their stomach, their throat, their back?
Coach them to listen to their body.
- Do they feel joy in their decisions?
- Do they feel anxious about a possibility outcome?
- Are they afraid of the stress an action might create?
By asking your client to become intimately familiar with their physical reactions – they begin to become more familiar with their own pleasure/pain perception. From there self-awareness grows as we quickly begin to recall the pain associated with a past decision or observation in the world and make choices focused on bringing us back to pleasure. Through a greater awareness of this cause and effect knowing one can begin to shift faster from pain – to pleasure.