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V. Pleasure and joy are the purpose of life.

When we get too full of undigested feelings, our consciousness shrinks us down to something smaller, tighter - constrained, contained, manageable - and joyless. Here I understand joy as the simple pleasure of being here on Earth in a human body. Joy is not giant. Joy does not need to shout. Joy rides under the surface of the stormier emotions. It says: This anger will pass. This sadness will pass. Even this happiness will pass, and should pass. This is your life. Take pleasure in it. Take interest in it. Be present in it.

We come into this world as a tiny bundle of heart. We expect human connection and we thrive on it. We are, as humans, made of love.

We are also made of sensory organs. We learn by letting life in through our senses. So when I say we are sensual, pleasure-seeking and love-seeking beings, I mean something much simpler than sexual connection, though that’s in here too. What drives us is pleasure and the desire for more of the same.

When we have learned through our childhoods that some behaviours, though they might bring us pleasure, will not get us love, we reign them in, consciously or unconsciously. Then the pleasure-seeking becomes covert. Our wholeheartedness is changed and compartmentalized.

This, to me, is where addiction sets in: we seek the thing that brings us pleasure, or at the very least a reduction of discomfort or pain. But it will never satisfy the core of our being in the same way that genuine heart connection with another human will. We will always need more of that thing. And more still. And even when we know that our relationship to it is becoming problematic, we cannot will ourselves out of seeking the relief that it brings.

You can’t force yourself to experience joy or pleasure. It arises out of your presence in your body and senses. But this is nonetheless your birthright: that you live in a pleasure-seeking, sensory, feeling body.

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