Do you feel enough joy?
Does your lifestyle maximize your joyful experiences while minimizing those that are less, or even unpleasant?
Is it OK to regularly pursue pleasurable experiences ? Or should you feel guilty for being excessively selfish? Especially if there were more noble things you could have done at that moment?
Is a life spent in pursuit of pleasure less valuable than some other life path you could choose?
How would Mother Theresa have answered these questions?
Perhaps we need to qualify the term pleasure?
If you show respect for others, and live by the Golden Rule, then pursuing pleasure is as natural as breathing.
I define pleasure as the opposite of suffering. Some say that suffering is the normal condition of humanity. And the pursuit of pleasure is his primary activity. Some define pleasure simply as the absence of suffering.
And what is joy? Is it the same as pleasure?
I think that most of us can feel pleasure as a momentary experience, often a distraction from our more mundane, typical condition. Scientists say that pleasure is nothing more than a quick release of chemicals in our brains that causes momentary euphoria, then subsides (which would explain the temporary nature of pleasure).
Can joyfulness also be explained away in scientific terms? Perhaps.
But isn’t joy the central goal of just about every human on Earth? Setting aside every human endeavor, every thought and action, every dream and plan, and even every relationship, isn’t the pursuit of a joyful life the point of them all?
Another way of putting it is thus: If you were full of joy, without the need to do anything else, would you still do all the stuff that you do everyday? Would any of us?
And if a joyful life really is what everyone wants, why don’t we pursue it more directly?
Why is it so rare for anyone to speak of joy itself as the target of our efforts, the end purpose of everything? Why is the word almost exclusively relegated to religious language, used by so few in day-to-day speech? Could it be because joy is so rare? Could it be that we simply don’t want to be reminded of a light so bright that we nevertheless cannot see?
Perhaps joy is so rare because so few of us directly pursue it?
If the central purpose of your life was joy, what would you do? How would you transform your life as it is now to meet your goal? How would you interrelate to others? How would this impact the decisions you make everyday?
Is your life focused on joy? If not, why not? If joy is what you really want, why would you put off pursuit of it?
Perhaps you doubt that joy exists? Maybe you imagine joy as a fantasy, and it’s pursuit as tilting at windmills? Perhaps? But isn’t a concept so potentially powerful and game changing worth a little investigation? Isn’t the possibility worth just a bit of your time?
Think about it. And please let me know what you think.
I believe what today’s world needs, more than ever, is more lives bathed in joy.
How about you? I look forward to your comments.
All the best,