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Pleasure - Its Spiritual Significance
Pleasure is one of the most compelling human motivators from the earliest days of infancy when we instinctually seek the security and comfort of our mother’s arms, to our adulthood when so much of what we do is in service of the search for pleasure. Unlike the infant, as mature adults we can deal with delayed gratification, but we can not live well without a certain quotient of pleasure.
And yet pleasure is not a simple thing. We long for pleasure - but if we’re totally honest with ourselves, we also have some mixed feelings about it, including doubting the legitimacy of pleasure, and our right to it. Its not uncommon to discover that while we long for pleasure, we also fear it
In The Guide Lecture - Pleasure - The Full Pulsation of Life - we are offered that, to experience the full bliss of pleasure is the closest a human being will come to know the reality of spiritual awakening and that we cannot experience deep healing of both emotional and spiritual issues, with out pleasure. So that one’s longing for pleasure represents a most real and healthy impulse within us, and serves the higher purpose of spiritual transformation.
Now by pleasure I’m not talking about “guilty pleasures” or what one might call idle pass times who’s effect is often to distract and numb us. What I’m referring to is a full in-the- body sensate experience, that wakes us up and enliven us. As well the hallmark of these experiences is often to connect us to who we really are, and what matters most.
So to become aware of the fear and resistance to pleasure is a first step and then to unearth the complexities of our resistance to pleasure can clear the way for us to embrace a more whole hearted relationship with delight and joy - other words we might use for pleasure. Further the lecture makes connections between certain states that must be nurtured for pleasure to thrive - these being emotional maturity, self-responsibility, and also a honest capacity to love.
Sometimes in our process of our healing and development we may feel its a lot of hard work and we might not be sure of the pay off is. Consider the possibility that a deeper capacity to experience what we so long for - pleasure - is the reward. And consider the further possibility that this satisfying state is not dependent on the all too common relentless striving to get it from the other, or even necessarily, on our outer world conditions, but that pleasure is the nature state for mature, self-responsible and loving humans beings.
The full Lecture #177 - Pleasure - The Full Pulsation of Life - can be found at www.pathwork.org
Madeline Dietrich M.A. is spiritual teacher and counsellor in Ottawa. She is both a student and teacher on the spiritual path of pleasure. www.madelinedietrich.com
“I had signed up for the workshop with a vague idea of validating whether or not beekeeping was something I wanted to get back into, so wanted the real experience and ‘instruction’ around hive life. But I also wanted to spend time in the imaginative life of beekeeping – so the poetry, and your story of bees as a significant part of your healing journey was really important. Sensing into your relationship with them - the calm, the respect, the love – was an important part of witnessing how a relationship with bees teaches those very things. I loved how the different activities dove-tailed so well into one another. The ‘energy meditation’ of approaching the hive taught me well about respect for boundaries, and the deep purposefulness of their lives. We can co-exist beautifully as long as I ‘let them bee.’ “