You might think that sounds crazy. It's hard to wrap your mind around the idea that we actually resist pleasure. Don't we want to feel good?
How could this really be true?
I have three theories of why we resist pleasure, and three suggestions for how we can practice embracing pleasure.
Have you ever had the experience where things were going really well in your life, and you felt anxious about it? It is a common feeling. I've been there many times in my life. When I was married, my husband always wanted to prepare for the worst so I wouldn't allow myself to get too excited when things were going well. I didn't know what was right around the corner…could be something horrible, and I didn't want to fall too far from the pedestal of pleasure.
Another perspective on why we resist pleasure is a self-worthiness issue. Do we really deserve to be happy and ecstatic? I am sorry to say, I have lived a great deal of my life not feeling worthy of a pleasurable life. There are many facets of that as well, but in part, due to my parents living through the great depression of the 1930s. They instilled in us that work was the most important thing, and fun was to come after all the work was complete. Sometimes I found myself too tired for fun. It was difficult for my father to take his 2-week vacation each year.
A final thought for this essay on why we resist pleasure is that we are strongly influenced by our left brain in the world today. We reward productivity and problem solving, which are left brained attributes. It is our right brain, more artistic side that creates the pure ease of pleasure. This is not to say that productivity and accomplishment don't create pleasure, but it isn't sustainable kind of pleasure. Often when the promotion or project has ended, there is a moment of pleasure and then on to the next thing.
What can we do to receive more pleasure:
* Consider the Buddhist concept of impermanence, which means that everything is constantly changing…every moment of everyday. There is no way to hang onto any feeling. When you try to hang onto a feeling…well you kind of hang yourself. When you are experiencing moments of pleasure, be aware that it won't always feel this way and deepen the experience by breathing into it. Squeeze the juiciness out.
*Receiving is a self-less act. What about this perspective? When you receive another human being, such as their words (compliments), their help, or their affection, you are allowing pleasure to flow between you and your relationships. Try it on, and see what happens.
*Since we are such good problem solvers, why don't we look at the problem of not enough laughter, joy and good pleasurable sex in our lives?
How do you open up your channel to receive pleasure?