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Some thoughts on sacrifice and pleasure

You are not your thoughts

Yes, it’s a bit of a mouthful to say, as the Buddhist teachings have already described this reality. However, you can prove it to yourself. You are at the same time a body (the physical), a heart (your emotions), a mind (your intellect) and a soul. In a society dominated by reason, we put thought on a pedestal and forget everything else. However, all you have to do is go on vacation far from home, your work and your worries to realize that you are more than your thoughts. When thinking is not so important anymore, you start to become aware of everything else.

Thinking has limited power

Thinking means deciding, choosing or judging. You cannot love with your intellect because it is cold, its vocation is to offer you discernment.

The heart loves without distinction

The heart allows you to feel things and to love others. The heart is not there to make differences. It loves and that’s all. This is its problem perhaps because it does not protect you from bad people.

The soul is there to elevate you

It connects you to the angels. It is your divine essence. It sees beyond appearances.

If you know how to deprive yourself of something essential, you are getting closer to virtue

In most spiritual traditions, there is a focus on a form of deprivation or asceticism. This can be akin to fasting or a restraint on the pleasures of the senses.

The paradox of abundance

It is often in abundance that we become dissatisfied. The more we possess, the more we desire. When, on the contrary, we live in a frugal environment, we strangely enjoy greater capacities for contentment. If you want to experience peace in your life, you must introduce a certain amount of restraint and deprivation. Marriage is part of this relationship to this idea of restraint. You have the opportunity to cultivate, to learn to be content by reinventing your marriage every day.

The benefits of fasting

Beyond the many medical virtues of fasting, there is a very particular symbolism which is that of self-control and the surpassing of our physiological reality, because in fact what is eating, if not renewing the cells of our body and giving strength to our physical dimension?

The physical body is one of the facets of our being. However, by depriving ourselves a little to strengthen our spiritual body.

Spirituality is a school of sacrifice

In order to develop his intellect, a child must leave the playground and immerse himself in his notebooks. He sacrifices the excitement of chasing a ball for the excitement of learning. However, learning to love to study takes time; it’s like learning a new sport that is difficult to understand or master at first, like tennis.

To become a good student, you have to sacrifice the joys of companionship and sports. Learning to love school can take a long time, but once you develop intellectual enjoyment, it takes on a greater and deeper dimension. The same is true of the spiritual realm: at first it is boring, but if you persevere, you will find joys far more subtle than those that the physical or intellectual body can offer. If you want to eat cheese, you can decide to eat it fresh or wait to taste one that has been aged for many months in a cellar. The result you will discover will be totally different.

It’s exactly the same thing when you deprive yourself, you lose something in appearance that you then regain in a more subtle way. You lose the opportunity to treat yourself when you eat good food, but in fact you have the opportunity to awaken your conscience and your morality.

To please is to sacrifice

The shift from a society of pleasure to one of enjoyment

What differentiates the societies that we call traditional from the so-called modern societies?

The relationship to sacrifice

In my opinion, it is the relationship to sacrifice. Before, we sacrificed for our group, whereas today, we sacrifice for ourselves. When someone undertakes long studies and sacrifices his best years as they say. Well, he does it first and foremost for himself. When someone used to sacrifice for his country or his family, it makes a huge difference.

As most social structures have broken down, only the lowest common denominator remains, namely the individual.

To please and to enjoy

This difference in behavior towards pleasure indicates that we have moved to a new relationship with pleasure. Before, on the scale of a society, what dominated was undoubtedly the fact of liking to please. The sacrifice for others allowed to appreciate by proxy the pleasure of others. The group having disappeared, one does not wish to enjoy the pleasure of others as much. The other used to be another self, a fellow human being, but now he or she often becomes an annoying competitor. When empathy disappears, only instant enjoyment counts.

Enjoying the envy of others

More than enjoyment, we aspire to enjoy the envy of others. We are not satisfied with eating a delicious ice cream by the water, no, we want more. We want this moment to be desired, envied by a crowd of people and it doesn’t matter if they are strangers to us. The more this moment will be coveted by others, the more I will be able to appreciate what I have done. The desires of others appear as a multiplier of my experience. Even more, they will come to replace it: the covetousness will be the new pleasure of which we will delight, hence the emergence of this permanent staging of our lives.

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