Pleasure Principle

Had been struggling with my meditation practice. Although that is not a wholly accurate depiction because in order to struggle with something it has to be present. Mine was a phantom practice. The idea of time and space devoted solely to quiet with a gentle noticing of thoughts passing while bringing attention back to the breath. That was the dream. Dreamy. So very dreamy. And there I was drifting off to sleep again. 

Imaging myself like this.

In reality was more like this.

Recently a friend of mine recommend the book, Meditation Secrets for Women: Discovering Your Passion, Pleasure, and Inner PeaceIt offers that women's meditation needs could be different than men's and if we lean into those needs it can make finding pleasure in the meditation experience much more accessible. It invites us to get in touch with our body’s natural rhythms and gifts instead of trying to deny or quiet them.

Now when sitting I have permission to notice the cool sensation of morning air on my skin, the tightness in my neck (from sharing a bed with a beast who must dream he is a crossbeam), feeling my lungs expand as I draw in breath and then following the release. This brings me deeper into my awareness of my body and breath and the hamster wheel of my mind slows. I sink into the space of presence and Voila! I be mediating. Slowing down not only quiets my thoughts, but it allows me to appreciate the rich sensory experience of it.

In Freudian psychoanalysis, the Pleasure Principle is the instinctual seeking of pleasure and avoiding of pain in order to satisfy biological and psychological needs. If seeking pleasure is a manufacturer built in for us humans what happens when we find it? When we have that delicious bite in our mouth is our utensil already preparing the next one? What is that about? Fear of scarcity? Focus on completion? Not focusing at all? Am I scrolling through a feed? Distraction is becoming the norm. So much information coming at us from our technology and times. We are busy and that busyness serves as blinders to our surroundings. Our auto-pilots get us from our beds to our baristas and we miss all the beauty in between. 

My hairdresser described how she was in her car when another car slammed into the side of her's. The young girl who hit her, understandably upset, said she was distracted and just didn't see her. Didn't see what was right in front of her. I don't say that with judgment or surprise. If we aren't paying attention we can't really see. 

What if we tried to slow down a bit more today? What if each bite was treated like the only bite? What if we were able to notice the smells and sounds while we walk, the faces of the people we pass, the colors on our plates, the firmness, support of the seats we occupy? Can we meditate on the pleasures of life as sensory experiences? Let's practice!