Pleasure vs Happiness

Originally posted by confusedbox

Pleasure is something we try to achieve; happiness is a state which can always last(at least in your memory). Pleasure is a feeling of higher energy levels that make you feel good but the thing with pleasure is it’s a spike in energy level and when that happens there is always a chance of a lower energy state that leads to all other emotions like remorse, regret, guilt etc. The reason most of the philosophies or especially the Indian philosophy says to leave materialistic desires is to avoid the indulgence of the self in pleasure as pleasure is the cause of distress as well. When you are old, you won’t remember the momentary pleasures, you will remember the happiest moments of your life and that is what you will consider justifying the life you have lived.

“Happiness leaves no bad after-taste, it is followed by no depressing reaction; it brings no regret, entails no remorse. True happiness is lived over and over again in memory, always with a renewal of the original good; a moment of pleasure may leave a barbed sting, [as] an ever-present source of anguish.”

It’s always the frame of reference based on which we act. But pleasure is just about the moment and the gratification that we get in the moment not bothering about the other frames of time. But that is unlikely to deliver real fulfillment. The present moment is too small and hollow. We all need a future and beyond which is greater than our momentary pleasure on which we can aim or feel to have contributed.

“Emotions are momentary but awareness resides always.”

When we understand the true self and see the universe through its vastness then pleasure is just another component. We seek happiness in our true form but always get lost in the momentary pleasure. One way to transform pleasure into happiness is just by resisting it. By understanding your emotions and the way it makes you do things to seek pleasure, you can choose not to run after pleasure to be happy. In other words, you might feel guilty after doing an act for pleasure but if you can just choose not to do it you might be happy about it. You might want to watch your favourite series for the whole weekend and enjoy it but if that’s what gives rise to guilt after the weekend then well, choosing not to do that, would be an ideal way to be happy about not feeling guilty. Of course doing this needs you to have a greater control over your emotions and empowering your awareness but once you start doing it then being happy seems better than the momentary pleasure. It’s not all about pleasure being inherently bad but it gets in the way to something more lasting and real, so what we can do is choose what we want.

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