Sometimes the party ends too soon… the booze ran dry, the music stopped, the cops were called, or the darkness gobbled you up and swallowed you whole.
Pleasure is beautiful. It fills us with rapture and excitement. Even the prospect of pleasure imbues us with energy. We want to feel.
Pleasure wasn’t demonized by the Buddha, only the attachment to it, which is why he recommended the pleasures that come from meditation instead. Jhanas (meditative states) don’t have a double-edged structure like the pleasures of the flesh and mind do – yes, thinking and day-dreaming are in the same category as bodily pleasures, at least with respect to their addictive qualities.
They come and go, but they’re propped up on nothing but concentration and discernment. When they go, they don’t crash. Pleasures of the mind and flesh, however, can bring crashes – minor and grand.
Too many drinks can turn into a fight, a car accident, or drowning in your own vomit. Too much sex can turn into an unwanted pregnancy, a disease, or a hurtful situation (e.g., ruining a relationship). Too many hard drugs can kill you by their own hand or tempt you into taking yourself out of the game.
Every action has consequences. Many times, you will be safe, but it only takes one situation to end it all. What I want to do with this article is open your mind to the dark side of hedonism. There is a light side, and it is beautiful, but that part is easy to see. The hard part is facing the darkness and still smiling.