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Sometimes, It Is Harder to Deprive Oneself of Pain, Than of Pleasure...

Thank you Mr. Fitzgerald.

I get this. So completely. Pain is exquisite, and I suppose pleasure is also. But sometimes, you just can’t stop yourself from doing the thing that you know will bring pain...most likely because it is bringing you pleasure in that very moment. You cannot see the pain coming, or perhaps you just don’t want to. This current thing, relationship, feeling, love feels so good that it actually eclipses that part of your rational, reasonable self that says, “Ummmm, yes it is fun to play on the traintracks, but um, seriously there is a train coming, and it is coming FAST!”

But we are so caught up in the moment we fail to see it, or care.

Pain and pleasure are so intertwined. To risk one is to almost assure the other. Let’s take falling in love, as an example, I mean what could be riskier?

Perhaps you see it going in. The person isn’t right, or they have issues and wounds that have long festered, or perhaps they are abusive or mean, or a drunkard or addict. But there is something about the way they love us, come after us, talk to us, hold us, fuck us, that makes all common sense fly out the window. And we are aware, perhaps not to a degree that we can admit to ourselves in the moment, but we know, that this person, lovely as they are, is going to bring us pain. Perhaps great loads of it, yet we move forward anyway.

I would argue here that to forego the above relationship in its nascent stage would be both the denial of pain but also the denial of pleasure which is what I think the above quote is alluding too...most of us will not deprive the pleasure, and so this begins the process, the cycle, for us not being able to deny the pain...if we could see, and most of us really do see the pain, but we cannot deprive ourselves because to do so would short circuit the current pleasure. Thereby making it harder to deprive oneself of pain, than pleasure.

And the Buddha would tell us so long as we are constantly caught up in this seeking pleasure and avoiding pain, we are screwed (my words, not the Buddha). It is this particular trap that makes us all so miserable. The Buddha offered up that perhaps we could just be ok with what is. If it is pleasurable, so be it. If it is painful, so be it. Nothing to do but notice it and move on with your day. The pain will give way to something else, as will the pleasure...and our thoughts to the contrary that we can keep forever pleasure, or stave off pain, is exactly what makes us suffer in this life and turn our whole worlds upside down, thereby increasing the time spent in pain, and decreasing the time spent in pleasure.

What I know for sure in this life, is that no one’s life is all of anything. We each have our moments (hopefully not at the same time) that are acutely painful and pleasurable. And none of us can make permanent either one. There are many things we can do to make it worse, but the most common thing we all do is to refuse to accept that pain and suffering will always come on the other side of pleasure. And perhaps the best way to deal with that immutable truth, is to just accept it and move on. We could just not mind what happens...I mean, life is going to happen anyway...

It is hard to face the pain and sometimes it is hard to let go of the pleasure, most especially when you don’t see the thing you want quite desperately is the thing that will ultimately make you so incredibly destroyed. None of us see that coming, even though there is usually ample evidence to the contrary from the word go...

So I conclude that it is often harder to deny yourself the pain, over the pleasure. The pleasure is easy, you are in it before you even know it...but the pain, the pain is something that you can see coming long before it arrives, most especially in the arena of love. But we persist, we fall anyway, we love anyway, we conjure love and passions great plan, regardless of the marring we likely will suffer later. And that is because we know that it is possible, perhaps, to someday gamble on the pain and find all pleasure. The love jackpot shall we say. But I believe the very wise, understand that there is no such place, there is no such way. Pain and pleasure so inextricably tied together, that to sign up for one, you always sign for the other...

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