The Avoidance of Pain
The avoidance of pain is something that most people strive for. Most of our existence is wrapped up in what people believe is the search for pleasure. But when the goal is an avoidant desire, we can avoid what we don’t want, but we rarely get what we really want. In this case, you don’t want to feel pain because you want to feel good. You want to feel pleasure, not pain. The opposite of pain may be pleasure, but the avoidance of pain can only get you so far as comfort. So while you may have been able to achieve a certain amount of pain-free experiences in your life, you may be wondering why true pleasure is eluding you. The path of Eros, of passion, of real pleasure, is an entirely different modus operandi. So how do we shift from comfort chasing to a pleasure filled life? We have to accept the experience of pain. We have to stop condemning painful experiences as “bad” or “unwanted”. We have to rise above the duality of pain and pleasure and neutralize it. We have to be willing to feel it all.
Sensation is Neutral
If we accept all and achieve neutralization, then all sensation brings the experience of pleasure. Why? Because any sensation, even pain is evidence that you are alive. If you are alive, you are fulfilling the reason for your existence. If you are alive, you are one with God. If you are alive, you are glorified and sanctified. If you are alive, you are perfect, because you were perfectly made. If you are alive, you are fulfilling that piece of creation that no one else in all of existence can achieve. When you are alive, you are celebrated and honored, and cherished and loved beyond limited human comprehension. Suffering, aka “The Fall”, is from eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge, good and evil. In other words, the focus on duality rather than oneness. Both exist. Both are necessary. Duality does not disappear when one focuses on unity, rather the polarities are included rather than separated or compartmentalized.
More about Sensation
Let us take the S&M community as an example. They often get a lot of sideways glances from more conservative folks who don’t understand why they do what they do. You yourself may have your own judgements, but they really have fully embraced the concept that pain and pleasure are one and the same. Not that they are experienced equally, but they both fall under the category of “sensation”. Such sensations can feel good or feel bad depending on context and perspective. Like all duality, we must recognize the common element of each polarity and understand that they are merely different degrees of the same thing. For example, hot and cold are literal “degrees” of the unified concept of temperature. Within the unified concept of “sensation” pain is on one extreme. Comfort is somewhere in the middle, and pleasure sits opposite pain on the other extreme. And yet, each is a flavor of the unified principle of what we are calling ‘sensation’.
Comfort Is Not Yet Pleasure
Comfort is a movement away from pain on the way to pleasure. Just as happiness is away from depression on the way to joy. Comfortable and happy, aka “contentment”, are both middle ground states. Imagine a line on the ground. Beneath the ground are the levels of hell. Above the ground is the ecstatic mountain top. The bottom of the pits of hell is of course death. The highest height of the ecstatic mountain is abundant everlasting life. Avoidant desires can get you out of the depths of hell, but they cannot get you up the ecstatic mountain. The reason is that in your focus of avoiding the unwanted, you are anchored to it in your awareness. As you call upon what you do want, you are equally calling upon the vibration of what you don’t want.
Wanting not to have negative experiences is an incredible catalyst for change. In fact, pain and suffering is one of our most effective teachers. Pain inspires us to ascend out of the depths of hell and onto the mountain path. However, avoiding pain and suffering can only get you to ground level. Another strategy is needed to climb the ecstatic mountain.