The easiest way to waste decades of your life is to mistake pleasure for fulfillment.
Pleasure lives in the realm of now. It’s made of feeling and emotion, which are both very important, but predictably unstable. It’s impossible to base a meaningful life solely on the pursuit of pleasure.
At the extreme end of pleasure: over-eating, over-sleeping, chronic masturbation and sex addiction, television, benders, cocaine and ice cream (the verdict is still out here). Push the button, get the stimulus. Constant stimulation to dull the pain, anxiety and existential uncertainty of being a human in society.
It feels good to feel good. So why not try to feel good all the time? Pass the mint chocolate chip, please.
Fulfillment is concerned with your highest vision for the future. It doesn’t equate pain or discomfort today with pain or discomfort tomorrow. It assumes that the best is always yet to come. Those looking for fulfillment out of life will do things that aren’t fun now, to reap massive rewards later.
In his book “Autobiography of a Yogi,” Indian spiritual guru Paramahansa Yogananda recalls a conversation between a sage and his student:
The student exclaimed, “Master, you are wonderful….You have renounced riches and comforts to seek God and teach us wisdom.”
To which the wise sage replied:
“You are reversing the case! I have left a few paltry rupees, a few petty pleasures, for a cosmic empire of endless bliss. How then have I denied myself anything? I…