As powerful beings who have vast potential, most of it goes to waste when we are controlled and manipulated by this one innate tendency: the pursuit of pleasure – and on the other side of the coin, the avoidance of pain.

This condition dictates all the decisions we make unconsciously.

This condition is not bad. Evolutionarily, this ‘limitation’ served us greatly. It is the reason why each and every one of us are here today.

The experience of pleasure hints survival; it tells us we have our needs met, and are connected within our tribes. Pain, on the other hand, is synonymous with scarcity and death.

Clearly, our pleasure-seeking tendency isn’t just an individual’s own ‘limitation’. It is beyond us. It belongs to all of mankind; it makes us what we are.

Everyone is ‘weak’. It is not so much about our personal inadequacies. Beating ourselves up over the biological and psychological condition of mankind is narrow, unnecessary and unwise.

We learn to take an appreciative step back from our individual self-absorbed tendencies. We are all connected, and suffering from the fundamental aspects of our humanness.

Do we remain a slave to pleasure and pain? Definitely not.

  • Step back from our personal tendencies of guilt and self-loathing, to realise that all of mankind is struggling like we are.
  • From this space of observance, choose again by asking (when making decisions): What would the best version of myself do in this situation?

By asking that, we learn to detach from our self-blame mechanisms, and in the process cultivate the mindfulness to no longer base our decisions on pain or pleasure. But this means that our visions of our best selves must be clear and illuminated.

This is how we transcend pain and pleasure, by bringing our best future selves into existence today. Change never happens tomorrow.

PS: This does not mean pain or pleasure is unimportant. This merely means that we would be able to experience both the gifts of pleasure and pain in the appropriate circumstances, while living fully as our best selves. (Pleasure should be experienced fully, without compromising ourselves.)

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