How much pleasure can you stand?Mar 04, 2022
Right now, in this very moment, you and I have a certain capacity for pleasure. Once we reach this capacity, we often stop or don't go beyond this limit. It's the capacity of how much pleasure we can experience in one moment.
Ever noticed how you can't let too much pleasure in? Think about when someone acknowledges you, do you really let the love in? Or is there a limit to how much you can let in?
Our capacity for pleasure is shaped by social constraints, fear-based thinking, or perceived future-based threats and predictions. In other words, it's shaped by how much we think we can let in. Sometimes I've caught myself thinking, things are so great right now... then a secondary voice comes in, yeah, but for how long? How long will this last? And then I watch things stop being so great. A very effective way to squash pleasure.
Our bodies each hold a certain capacity for pleasure as well. We can experience pleasure in the body and we can also experience pain in the body. So often we are habitually in tune with those pains and niggles in the body that don't make us feel very good. What if we were attuned to the pleasure in our bodies? How much pleasure can you be with before it becomes too much or before you shut down having reached your limit?
Remember the first pillar of human magnetism? It's to feel good in the body.
So when we notice we have reached our limit of pleasure, what can we do? If we resist that limit, it will likely persist. If we fight against it, it will likely dig its heels in. If we get defeated, it may even shrink and our capacity for pleasure can become smaller.
However, if we can be with our current capacity for pleasure without adding any story or drama to it, we can start to breathe, start to relax into it, and start to expand our capacity for pleasure. You are not stuck with the current limits to your capacity for pleasure. Those edges can move.
Here are 5 easy ways to expand your capacity for pleasure in everyday life:
1. Take 5 minutes with your eyes closed. Scan your body with your mind's eye from the top down to your toes. Usually, we notice pain or suffering. Right now, we want to practice noticing pleasure in the body. Does your ear lobe feel pleasurable? Do your nostrils feel pleasurable? What about the inside of your left big toe?
2. Enjoy what you eat. Find the pleasure in being present with your food. Food holds so many sensory experiences for us - taste, sight, smell, and touch. Put your phone to one side and revel in eating good, nutritious food.
3. Self-massage. Take some time for a deliberate self-massage with coconut oil. You might start with your belly and move in ever-increasing circles. Find the pleasure. If you are short on time, add self-massage into a habit you already have - showering. Take a few moments when soaping your body to attune yourself to what feels pleasurable.
4. Allow more breath in. Do this by breathing deeply into your belly. As you inhale, allow your belly to expand and as you exhale, feel your belly lowering. Try deep belly breathing when someone expresses their love for you. How much of that love can you let in? Breathe and you'll let in just a little more each time you practice.
5. Express your appreciation or your love for another human being. Practice speaking in the love language of Words of Affirmation. Tell them face to face - or pick up the phone and call them. You could send a message, write an email of acknowledgment, or pop a handwritten card in the post. Post a heartfelt and authentic acknowledgment of someone on social media. (Radical, I know). When you express your love, the world is a better place.
Bit by bit, day by day, see if you can expand your capacity for pleasure even just a little bit further than the day before. And watch your experience of life transform from habitual suffering to being attuned to pleasure. When we are in tune with pleasure, we become kinder, more forgiving, gentler with ourselves and others, and can more quickly give up making other people wrong. We take our attention off ourselves and look out into the world with fresh eyes, taking opportunities to make a difference. We learn that suffering is optional and that we are the limit to our own experience of pleasure and therefore hold the key to expanding it.
How much pleasure can you stand?
P.S If you're too stressed out or wound up, do this instead.
And if you're in a queer relationship, or want to be, do this first.
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