Desperately Seeking Pleasure

For my morning reading, I chose The Four Foundations of Mindfulness by Bhante Gunaratana.  The section I read contained this statement “But when we crave pleasure, we always end up suffering because like all impermanent things, pleasure eventually changes or disappears.” (pg. 20).   I later read my Daily Om horoscope – the one I usually delete unread – and it stated, “Many of our whims are surface-level reflections of deeper needs, and thus do not instill within us the anticipated intensity of fulfillment when indulged.”

As I contemplated both of these passages, I came to see that Craving frequently becomes preoccupation; sometimes obsessively so.  The enormous amount of effort that we put into obtaining a pleasurable experience or object puts a lot of pressure on that experience or object to be way more than it is.  Effort in = pleasure out, right?  Not really, or at least not for long, as the initial rush of excitement wears off, disappoints,  grows too familiar, or goes out of style as all things do. How can it not disappoint?  But, when a pleasure arrives without all of the seeking, striving, and chasing – then we can be truly surprised and delight in it deeply.  We can appreciate its random and fleeting nature without burdening it with meeting all of our needs.  We can just enjoy it. I do not mean to suggest that we should not identify our deeper needs and then make conscious and purposeful efforts to meet them.  Just a reminder not to take shortcuts or be deceived by shiny objects!