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Instant Pleasure vs. Distant Pain

Instant Pleasure

It is wise to choose decisions that give more weight to “distant pains” and “distant pleasures” instead of ones that stem from consideration only of the instant set of “pains and pleasures”. Everything we do, we do for one of the two reasons: we are either running away from pain or moving towards pleasure. But life is not all that simple. Take the case of cigarette smoking. It is a combination of both- it gives instant pleasure to a smoker, but there is pain too lurking someone beneath.

Had we been loving ourselves, instead of focusing on the taste of it (or the instant pleasure) or on the difficulty involved in having to give up the habit (or the instant pain), we would be focusing on the painful consequences if we don’t give up smoking (or the distant pain) and the joy of giving it up and, finally, arriving at a life free from cigarettes (or the distant pleasure). Living in the present moment does not mean living irresponsibly without taking consequences into consideration.

Living the present moment responsibly means going for sustainable pleasures instead of the ones that are at the cost of our future or our growth. It involves recognizing that you will suffer as a consequence of your present act(s). The time when the consequences will begin to appear may look distant, but the dreaded future arrives sooner and stays longer than you can imagine today.

The focus on the distant set of “pain” and “pleasure” makes us realize the urgency of change and inspires us to grow in life. The focus on instant pain and pleasure reinforces our inertia and sucks us deeper into the quagmire of decay. So, stop yourself from time to time and check which of the two sets of “pain” and “pleasure” your thinking is focused on at that point of time. If you develop this habit, it will unleash an insurmountable storm within you. This storm is what life is: the maddening commitment that liberates the giant within you. And this storm within you has the tendency to attract to itself anything you need on your way to greatness.     

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