“If we take all bodily pleasures and external delights and make them our servants, not our masters – then and only then are they of value to our minds.” – Seneca
Pleasure is enjoyable, it is far more pleasant than suffering. It reminds us that life is good, and that all of the hard work we put into building a full life, one worth living, is worth the effort.
But pleasure can also be addicting. It can lead us to act and make choices that maximize our pleasure rather than maximizing our growth and development as individuals.
If we choose to make pleasure something we use to promote our development, as a tool to help us along the path of living a full and well rounded life than we run a much lower risk of becoming slaves to our passions.
Pleasure can be used as a reward. It can remind us of the payoff after a long session of austerity. Maybe we have been limiting our spending and tightening the budget to buy a house, how much pleasure is there in walking in the front door of a home that we own?
Even simple pleasures can be rewarding, maybe we’ve been strict with our diet for several weeks and we are allowing ourselves one day of indulgence. How much better are those treats when we feel that we have earned them?
Pleasure can also be a recharge for our minds. After periods of intense focus when we find our minds starting to flag, it is pleasurable and helpful to distract ourselves with a diversion. This is especially true if the diversion is something that puts us in a rhythm and allows our mind to rest a bit.
So let’s use the things that bring us pleasure to move forward on our path. It will make them all the more enjoyable.
virtus fortis vocat