Pleasure: 6 ways to be guided by your bliss


There is pleasure in pathless woods

There are countless forms of pleasure.  All are subjective. Shel Silverstein writes sagely about this in his poem Point of View.*  Not only are our pleasures individual, but they are only experienced to the degree to which they are ready to be interpreted, noticed, felt and integrated. Many schools of thought over the ages have professed the great benefits of a pleasure-filled life, the joy and ecstasy in a single moment.
"The spirit is often most free when the body is satiated with pleasure; indeed, sometimes the stars shine more brightly seen from the gutter than from the hilltop."  W. Somerset Maugham
To the contrary, Plato wrote, "Pleasure is the greatest incentive to evil."  That likely tells us more about Plato than it does about pleasure.

Ernest Holmes, the founder of Religious Science, first published the 11 Declaration of Principles in 1927 in the first issue of the Science of Mind magazine.  These beliefs hold that there is only One and this One manifests in and through all creation.  Also among the 11 beliefs, is this gem:

WE BELIEVE the ultimate goal of life to be a complete freedom from all discord of every nature, and that this goal is sure to be attained by all.
Even as Lord Byron writes these words, "There is pleasure in the pathless woods, there is rapture in the lonely shore, there is society where none intrudes, by the deep sea, and music in its roar; I love not Man the less, but Nature more," he is following a path, a path of led by bliss. My mentor and teacher, Dr. Bill Little, likes to use the example of a self-guided rocket to describe this path.  If the rocket veers slightly off its coordinates, it self-corrects.  Pleasure, or the lack of pleasure, is our internal guidance system that keeps us in momentary awareness and on the right path to our ultimate goal, complete freedom from all discord of every nature.  In the Koran, the opener, the Surah al Fatiha, calls this the straight path, the path of the blessed.  This is the path of Divine union, sure to be attained by all.

In life, we mostly tend to focus on our sensory pleasures.  Perhaps this is by design.
From my flesh I perceive God. Job chapter 19, verse 26
Or from human design we extrapolate to the Divine, meaning that an inspection of human psychology and physiology leads one to understand their parallel spiritual source in the higher realms. What is pleasure then, even sensory pleasure, a mirror for in our transcendental Self?  Pleasure is a contracted form of, a glimpse into the ecstasy of Divine Union.  Just as in pleasure, the presence of which is only known in the Now.

Let's play and revel together in momentary pleasures.

💗Karen

Affirmation:  I am guided by bliss
Chakra engaged: Sacral

Activity 1: Raisin meditation

This is a mindful eating meditation.  It is pure bliss and kids love it.  It allows for slowing down, sensing and savoring.  From this, we learn the pure pleasure and gift of eating mindfully.  When I introduce this practice I do not tell the children what I will put in their mouth.  I let them discover it with their senses.  Raisins are the best, but I've also used cranberries or other dried, naturally unsweetened fruit.  Here is a script, but feel free to create your own.
  • Close your eyes.
  • With your permission, I am going to put something in your mouth; don’t chew it.  Simply hold it in your mouth
  • Don’t chew. Roll it around in your mouth.  Let your saliva eat it slowly
  • Feel the many tastes of it, the texture, the temperature, the softness and the hardness
  • Feel it swell (see if you can go 1 whole minute before biting)
  • When you cannot wait any longer, gently bite and release a little of the flavor
  • Let the taste move all around your tongue
  • Take another gentle bite and let the flavors explode and swirl around your mouth.
  • Can you smell it?
  • Slowly chew, noticing if the flavor changes as you chew it.  Can you taste it in new places?
  • Swallow it and make it part of your body
  • Still keeping your eyes closed, continue to taste it after it is no longer in your mouth.  Enjoy the flavor bliss on your palate for as long as you can.
  • Open your eyes when the taste goes away.
I did not create the raisin meditation.  I have seen it also in Thich Nhat Hanh's writings.  But, I wouldn't be surprised if it has passed down from Dionysus, the Greek god and devoted hedonist of food, wine, fertility and religious ecstasy.

Activity 2: 30 Days of Delight

This activity is inspired by my dear friend, Myah, who may be listening to the call of Dionysus herself.  She decided to embark on 30 days of delight. She writes:

Today I am inspired by a poet—Ross Gay, who wrote A Book of Delights. I want to begin something I will call “30 days of delight”..... Ross Gay encourages all of us to take the time to honor the things we take delight in. “Delight is like the bee that buzzes around the bush spreading JOY. To take in delight is to accept an invitation to love something, to revel in curiosity, and be happy you can see the world with fresh eyes.” Ross also pleads that we share in our delights, to offer to others an opening to come to love it too. Moments of delight help build the mindset for coping, for tackling the moments where joy has departed. I think if it like making a “delight deposit”. So for the next 30 days (or maybe longer) slow down with me... Revel... Look... See. I invite you to come GASP with me on this 30 day journey of delights.

What makes you revel in delight?  Like Myah, chart 30 days of delight with your family, then share it.
"Follow your bliss." Joseph Campbell

Activity 3: Do your chores

This week (and possibly for good), throw away your sticker charts and incentives, your bribes and your allowances.  Kids love to help, really.  They take pleasure in it. They like responsibilities and feel empowered, important, and valuable when they are entrusted with tasks that support their family, their school and their community.  They really are capable of taking on big responsibilities.  I'm not saying that they won't complain and I know first hand that is no pleasure to deal with.  But, in this activity, try a new approach.  When my daughter was just 4, I asked what would help her to brush her teeth at night.  She told me to
sing, dance, or make it a game.  
Wise Words - it still works every time, and makes any kind of work fun for the whole family.

Deepak Chopra agrees with her and writes about it in his book, The Seven Spiritual Laws for Parents.  Use least effort, don't say no, go with the flow, and make work a game.  Try it!

I also recommend highly Alfie Kohn's stellar book, Punished by Rewards to learn more about how to support the powerful intrinsic motivators in children and how this plays out into adulthood when usurped by rewards.

"Pleasure is always derived from something outside you, whereas joy arises from within."  Eckhart Tolle

Activity 4: Filling up the cup of A's

If you've read as many parenting books as I have you've heard of the "family meeting."  We do our family meeting a little different.  I tried my best, I really did, but this idea totally didn't work for my family.  We all left feeling yucky, let down and loaded down with everyone's and our own complaints and problems.

Instead of the traditional style, we take turns to fill up the 5 A's. The Five A’s according to David Richo are: Attention, Acceptance, Appreciation, Affection, and Allowing.  Each one of us takes a turn and says 3 things about each member of the family.  It's important to pick real character traits or acts of service as opposed to something like, "I like dad because he is nice to me."  We all feel lifted up and appreciate ourselves and each other more after these "meetings."  We are stronger too. Something else really cool happens when you do this.  Most of the "problems" you have with another person simply melt away when you begin with gratitude.  So that makes it a good practice for quick and satisfactory resolution in arguments. What is more, you can give the 5 A's to yourself!  Anytime you or your child are overloaded with malas that lead to depression and feelings of separation: I am not good enough, I am different, no one likes me, and so on, write down or say out loud the 5 A's you need to fill your cup to overflowing.
"Pleasure is a necessary reciprocal. No one feels, who does not at the same time give it. To be pleased, one must please. What pleases you in others, will in general please them in you."  Lord Chesterfield

Activity 5: Get Wet

Humans take delightful pleasure in water. There is no doubt, water is pure bliss.  Throughout our history and pre-history, we have had a sacred association with it.  In so many cultures, bathing, baths and bath houses were highly ornate and ritualized affairs.  Water rituals are still very much a part of most spiritual practices to cleanse, heal and purify and to prepare oneself to receive Divine communion.  Play and delight in water this week with your child.  Here are just a few ways to enjoy water play:

  1. Take a shower or bath
  2. Swim in the pool, river, lake or ocean
  3. Stomp in puddles
  4. Play in the sprinkler
  5. Set up a water table, or tub of water with toys and cups for your child
  6. Have a water balloon fight
  7. Make a foot bath
  8. Wash clothes, dolls, or stuffed animals in a tub outside
  9. Wash the dishes
  10. Play in the sprinkler or spray each other with the hose
  11. Find a waterfall
  12. Hike up a river
  13. Throw rocks in a river
  14. Make a slip and slide

To make a slip and slide get a large piece of plastic sheeting and lay it out on the lawn.  Squirt some dish soap then wet it well with the hose or sprinkler then run and slide.  Disastrous and delightful.


Activity 6: Create an anthem to yourself

Moana, meaning "water" in most Polynesian languages, follows her bliss and sets the world free from darkness.  Be like Moana and create your own anthem.  Write a song that is your path and set free.

I love this masterpiece of storytelling and song written by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Opetaia Foa'i, music by Opetaia Foa'i, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Mark Mancina and performed by Rachel House and Auli'i Cravalho.  Sing it loud!

I Am Moana (Song of the Ancestors)



Footnote

*Point of View by Shel Silverstein, which I refer to in the opening paragraph


Point Of View
by Shel Silverstein

Thanksgiving dinner's sad and thankless
Christmas dinner's dark and blue
When you stop and try to see it
From the turkey's point of view.

Sunday dinner isn't sunny
Easter feasts are just bad luck
When you see it from the viewpoint
Of a chicken or a duck.

Oh how I once loved tuna salad
Pork and lobsters, lamb chops too
'Til I stopped and looked at dinner
From the dinner's point of view.

Sponsors

Thank you to the sponsors of this week's post and thank you to my friend, Myah, for letting me share your adventure.  I highly recommend following the path of all of these links.

Please contact me if you'd like to sponsor a post for Science of Mind child info *at* SOM-child.com.  Find a the list of upcoming topics at https://www.centerforspiritualawakening.org/csachildrens-program.html.  New topics are published each Sunday.

Center for Spiritual Awakening

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