Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Discipline Of Pleasure

Really? Discipline? Doesn’t just the use of that word bring up connotations of will power and self control, none of which is even remotely pleasurable. Well I have been unraveling with this idea for a few days now and I’d love to share what I mean.
Receptors are message receivers on the surface of our cells and while most of our pleasure receptors are located in the brain they are also found throughout the body. I have even heard the molecules that bind to these receptors nicknamed the Bliss Molecule. This got me thinking. What if the art of opening to pleasure became a discipline, a way of life? I am not talking about abandoning oneself to hedonistic impulse or lack of discernment or compulsively filling ourselves up due to a sense of lack. I mean the conscious invitation to open to whatever arises in the present moment without judgment. My premise is that it is in the opening itself, in the acceptance of what is, that pleasure is the result.

When you think about something pleasurable, waking up to the sound of surf in the tropics, or the smell of crisp freshly laundered sheets, perhaps the feel of sun on your skin, bites of juicy fragrant mango, music so sweet that it makes your heart ache, the touch of a lovers lips or the first melting mouthful of the dark velvety bliss of chocolate…these are all chances for our senses to open wide in gratitude for the pleasure of the moment. Even simply imagining all of life’s bounty shifts ones mood and invites an experience of pleasure. So if pleasure is a choice based on perception perhaps one could get disciplined about it and include the pleasure of feeling everything, experiencing everything.

On the path of cultivating the bliss molecule I book a massage at Chi The Spa at Shangri-La.

Divinely decadent, expensive but totally worth the experience, especially since I was rewiring my cellular structure to create more receptors for pleasure :)  Now this won’t work if you are worried about the cost or racing to find time for the experience or judging whether you deserve it or whether it’s good or bad.  The discipline of pleasure calls for deep breaths and presence…no regrets: a full on, six sense journey into the present moment.

The names of the treatment rooms are all in Sanskrit and I was in Baskul which appropriately means ‘Starting point of journey to Shangri-La. I basked in the Feng Shui attention to detail. Each suite is different, from Jampa, Loving Kindness and Compassion to Namshe which means Consciousness, they all have a fireplace, soothing color tones, sitting areas for tea ceremonies, your own dressing room, steam shower and soaker tub.
Plush doesn’t even begin to describe the texture of the baby soft robes and blankets. You are immediately relaxed and cuddled in the embrace of a fluffy white cocoon. Fresh lemon water awaits and you can ask for your room 15 minutes before the massage in order to enjoy a steam or soak in the tub. My registered therapist Mai was lovely and her healing energy was skilled, sublime and appreciated.
 Afterwards I floated into the lounge and was met with a cup of fresh ginger tea, dates, apricots and cranberries.  My Chi was flowing and I moved with languid ease, step one on my path of being disciplined with pleasure was complete.

You may say, well it’s easy to feel pleasure when the circumstances are so pleasurable. Yes it’s true; however my goal here is to include all events, all encounters and to step out of the duality that appears to exist in this world of opposites. I share the spa experience because that is how I want to approach everything.
 I know that the inclusion of polarities and dropping the perception of good and bad, cracks the illusion of separateness. In that moment we can experience our Oneness. The aspect that is One has no distinction between this and that. It simply is. And it seems to me that pleasure can be as spiritual a pathway as any. Plus it seems like a heck of a lot of fun.

Trying to eliminate the negative to have more positive does NOT work. The very focus of trying to get rid of something, whether inside self or another, actually increases and intensifies its hold. 

And so ….The Discipline of Pleasure.  Let’s increase our dopamine receptors through a wide variety of pleasurable stimuli. Lets approach every feeling, every perceived opposite with the same welcome whether its anger, joy, chocolate, people, the irksome and the adorable, social interactions, work or spiritual practice.
It’s our attitude and living in the presence of enjoyment without judgment that will increase pleasure receptors. That’s when life goes beyond bearable into the realm of exciting, passionate and purposeful.  In giving up this futile attempt at fixing or eliminating, even in the name of healing, then all of life can be play.

So there is my new inner direction!!! And I am going to keep inviting synchronicity, playmates and experiences that align with inclusion, resulting in oneness . 
 I leave my flashlight behind as I step into knowing that not all dark places need light, that in fact they are one and the same. It is in accepting, loving and therefore integrating all aspects of these supposed opposites that separation disappears.

And in that knowing I can come to peace with desire…with all parts of myself.

Branded by the delight that what is….is.

Authentically Yours




No comments:

Post a Comment