Excerpt from ‘The End of Death’
Copyright 2012 Nouk Sanchez
Pleasure and pain seem so utterly contradictory; they appear irreconcilable. Considering the underlying aim for most human beings in life is to seek pleasure while avoiding pain, we may be startled to find out that pain and pleasure are not opposites but the same because they share the same purpose. Both seek to prove that the body is real, and that we are not immortal Spirit but a corruptible body. Pain and pleasure serve as ego temptations to convince us that the mind is impotent, being powerless over the body. They serve to perpetuate the myth that we are separate, alone and at the mercy of exterior laws and phenomena that wield the power to either make us or break us.
“Pain demonstrates the body must be real. It is a loud, obscuring voice whose shrieks would silence what the Holy Spirit says, and keep His words from your awareness. Pain compels attention, drawing it away from Him and focusing upon itself. Its purpose is the same as pleasure, for they both are means to make the body real. What shares a common purpose is the same.” T-27.VI.1:1-5
Most my life I sought pleasure while I tried to avoid pain, not realizing that they were the same thing. Seeking pleasure independently from Spirit always results in unconscious self-attack. As my trust in Spirit developed, I began to explore the intent beneath many desires that I had. And as I sat with Spirit and looked at these desires I was shown that each of them was really a wish to satisfy and complete myself independently from God’s Love; which is impossible. Later it dawned on me that true fulfillment does not come from my independent will. It can only come from dropping within and aligning with my Holy Self; Spirit within.
My separate ego desires for pleasure were born from a sense of scarcity and un-fulfillment, from a feeling of incompletion within myself. It was obvious then that this was the “ego-self” that felt incomplete because when I am in Spirit I have an expanded sense of completion and trust. Trusting in Spirit, I know that my deepest needs are already met. I trust that if I truly need something then it will always be given to me at the perfect time.
As I looked with Spirit, I saw that these decisions for pleasure were all made separately from Spirit, as if I could satiate and complete myself apart from this Holy Self. And these independent desires for pleasure, I finally saw, also came with an exceedingly high cost. They were tempting morsels of guilt, not consciously but unconsciously. Each time I mindlessly choose apart from Spirit, I incur guilt which in my unconscious is always my unseen desire for self-attack; for pain.
“Sin shifts from pain to pleasure, and again to pain. For either witness is the same, and carries but one message: “You are here, within this body, and you can be hurt. You can have pleasure, too, but only at the cost of pain.” These witnesses are joined by many more. Each one seems different because it has a different name, and so it seems to answer to a different sound. Except for this, the witnesses of sin are all alike. Call pleasure pain, and it will hurt. Call pain a pleasure, and the pain behind the pleasure will be felt no more. Sin’s witnesses but shift from name to name, as one steps forward and another back. Yet which is foremost makes no difference. Sin’s witnesses hear but the call of death.” T-27.VI.6.
While independent pleasure-seeking and problem-solving act as unconscious guilt magnets, I had to learn too that these desires were not bad in themselves. The ego loves to inflict us with a giant guilt-trip when we first begin to seriously examine the intent behind our desires and look at each of them with Spirit. It likes to drown us in self judgment or doubt, anything so long as it maintains guilt in order to reject accepting the spontaneous relief of surrendering our will to Spirit.
I don’t believe that we’re meant to give up our desires because it would be the ego attempting to relinquish them which always results in a sense of sacrifice. Sacrifice exacts payment and pain is always the result. All we are asked to do is to be plainly honest with Spirit, and to scrutinize our deeper intent beneath the desire for a particular pleasure or outcome.
Exercise: Exposing Unconscious Self-Sabotage
The following exercise may help to expose some of the ego’s hidden agendas for self-sabotage. For instance, let’s use the example of a “vacation” here. Say I’m particularly attached to a special vacation. If I don’t get it, I will be upset. This tells me I am invested in an outcome. But we can substitute this particular attachment with your own here. See for yourself. What are you totally invested in or consumed by? It may be a romantic relationship, your finances, your job, or even your Spiritual path. You might want someone to change or improve their behavior; be a better partner, parent or child. Or it may be that you desire yourself or another, to be disease free or pain free. You want the body healed. We’ll do a little exercise below and I hope that you will participate and help to unearth any unconscious ego sabotage in the form of seeking pleasure independently from your Holy Self.
If I am consumed by my need for a vacation (or anything else) then I’m in trouble. Why? Because I have made my desire an idol above and apart from God’s Love. So in effect I am exercising an independent will separate from my Holy Self, which will always incur guilt and attack unless I see it and relinquish it to Spirit. Mostly though, we don’t see these jealously guarded desires as the treacherous mine fields that they really are. Quite the opposite in fact; through the ego we see them as natural and harmless. That is why it’s so important to cultivate the habit of consistent self-inquiry with Spirit.
Once I have chosen to “share” my independently coveted desire with Spirit, I will join within to look at this idol that I have mistakenly valued more than my Holy Self. Remember that in looking with Spirit, there will be no judgment, self-judgment or guilt. Any criticism is always the ego. I usually sit quietly with pen and paper and go within.
“Spirit, you know that I want this (place your own attachment here) vacation.
You and I both know that to me, this (your own attachment) vacation will help to (place your honest “expectations” here) replenish my energy and restore my zest for life.
Looking at this with you, I see that I would not need this (your attachment) vacation to feel (your “expectations” here) replenished if I was more (what is Spirit trying to show you here?) true to myself at work and with my family.
I see that I tend to largely depend on my own (ego) strength and problem-solving ability rather than consulting you on a frequent basis. (What is Spirit trying to show you here?)
I compartmentalize my life. I only check within occasionally and often see my (which people and issues do you hoard to yourself? What do you keep apart from Spirit? What do you independently take responsibility for? ) job, my finances, my children, and my body’s state, as separate from Spirit. I take personal responsibility for these and carry the weight of believing that I must play God over these in my life. Seeing with your vision now, I recognize that I have placed my trust in the ego as a substitute for trusting in God’s Love. No wonder I am so (anxious, tired, sick, in pain, needy, in scarcity, depressed, etc.) weary!
I guess I have not trusted in God’s Love to take over. I have been fearful to surrender these people and issues to you because I have believed that I (ego) am far more capable and trustworthy than you are. (Or perhaps you believe that God will punish you or give you painful lessons? Why don’t you trust God implicitly? Write your fears down and offer these to Spirit).
Looking at this now, it could only be the ego in my mind that believes it is more powerful and knowledgeable than you; that the ego knows my best interests better than you. And that is why I feel so depleted and so (anxious, tired, sick, in pain, needy, in scarcity, depressed, etc.) needy. Thank you for helping me to see this. I join with you now and give all these fears over to you…trusting that you will clean these of all unconscious ego self-sabotage. This is the miracle, and I feel worthy to accept it. I trust that you will help me to surrender any other blocks that I may have to wholeheartedly receiving God’s endless Love. Thank you, Amen.”
* * *
When I was able to see and release my own independent desires to Spirit, these desires were divinely cleansed of the secret guilt that would have otherwise returned to me as self-attack, disguised as sickness, pain, scarcity, loss and conflict, etc.
Lately I have noticed that there is almost no pleasure-seeking for me anymore. I am not looking out there or in the future for satisfaction or relief any longer. There is a greater sense of joy that arises from within. And this joy desires to be shared with others. There is more focus on this present moment now and less on seeking fulfillment through others or rewards in expected outcomes.
As my Love within increases, the desire to seek pleasure outside myself decreases. It falls away. There is a greater sense of completion within and this experience wholly surpasses the meager and fleeting satisfaction of the ego’s pleasure-seeking and problem-solving.
I watch as my previous dependence on others and the world to meet my needs, falls away. A strong, quiet trust and simplicity has come to take the place of chaotic doubt and complexity. My relationships, the body and my life, have all become glad recipients of the glorious benefits of my increased trust in Spirit within. Now I see clearly that I sought pleasure out there because I did not know my Self. I did not recognize that the Source of all joy, security and Love lies within; so I looked for pleasure not realizing this was the ego seeking guilt in the form of unconscious self-attack.
As my trust in the Holy Self increases, the ego’s addiction to unconscious self-attack drops away. And as I forgive and withdraw my unconscious desire to use others, the body and the world for self-attack, they all become benevolent reflections of the ever expanding Love that permeates my mind.