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Emotions are like wild horses. Full of energy but hard to control. Get them under control and they can do so much for you. Their successful harnessing and wise integration is essential to a happy, fulfilled life.
PLEASURE AND HAPPINESS
Man is made for happiness, not just for pleasure. Not that every pleasure is bad. There are healthy and legitimate pleasures like enjoying natural beauty, relishing good food etc. and corrupting pleasures like gambling or getting drunk. Pleasure is the icing on the cake. The entire cake cannot be icing as an entire dish cannot be only spice. Even healthy pleasures must be enjoyed with moderation. Animals can experience only pleasure, they have no idea of happiness. Pleasure and happiness are not synonymous. Happiness is something that results indirectly from some other action, one can never pursue it in itself. Pleasure is something external and is sought for itself.
Man should seek a life of happiness, not pleasure. A life of pleasure does not ultimately satisfy man because he is of a spiritual, higher nature. He has infinite longings in him and these can be satisfied only by the Infinite Being himself. This is why basically pleasure, however great, can never lead to self-actualization.
Pleasures can be of a material nature like eating, drinking, sex or other sense pleasures like enjoyment of beauty, listening to music etc. This is what is known as the good life or the classical w’s of wine, wealth and women. A life of unbridled pleasure corrupts one’s character and makes him selfish. It makes man incapable of pursuing high ideals. The inner man will shrivel and dry up in the heat of bodily passions. Great men like Gandhiji advocated simple living and high thinking. Simplicity of life is also very much at the heart of the gospel message of Jesus Christ.
For personal reflection
1. Which are the simple pleasures I enjoy?
2. Is there some pleasure who enjoyment leaves me unhappy, confused?
3. What can I do to become more steady in my life?