When my BFF and fellow InsideOut Yoga retreat leader, MJ, turned 50 a couple years ago, a bunch of us took her to Festy to celebrate. Our weekend theme was “Guilty Pleasures.” It was a phrase MJ uses often (mostly with regard to music or cheesy TV shows) and it was perfect for a girlfriend getaway.
The desire for pleasure (not necessarily guilty) is discussed by Rod Stryker in a Yoga Journal article about seeking balance and meaning. According to yoga tradition, there are four aims of life: Dharma (duty, ethics), Artha (prosperity, wealth), Kama (pleasure, sensual gratification), and Moksha (the pursuit of liberation). Combined, they offer a paradigm for deep self-inquiry. Balanced, they offer happiness and meaning.
Stryker maintains that the desire for pleasure drives all human behavior and is what makes the world go ‘round. “Whether it’s sensuality, art, beauty, intimacy, fellowship, kindness, or even sacrifice,” he says, “pleasure is what brings a sense of delight to our lives.”
Of course we all know that the desire for pleasure can lead to excess that can be damaging to us and to others, but that’s where the notion of balance comes in.
That said, I’d like to focus on the pursuit of pleasure this month. What brings you pleasure? What makes you come alive? How can you add more of it into your life in a way that’s both balanced and fulfilling?