On The Pursuit Of Pleasure, and Letting Go

“I have pursued pleasure and allowed myself to be intoxicated by it. I hit the bottom hard. I’m in no better state than where I started. The happiness was fleeting, unsatisfying. I am wanting something deeper. Something that perhaps can never be satisfied by this world”.

My friend’s words echoed in the room like I was uttering them myself. It hit close to home. What he’s going through may be totally different from yours and mine but we know that pain. We know that place. We’ve been there.

No one is immune to struggles and temptations. We all have our kryptonite, our Achilles’ heel.

Each of us is far from perfect. To some, their weaknesses are obvious, known to everybody around them. But to the rest of us, we’re pretty good at hiding them.

Being vulnerable to someone is a scary thing.

We fear judgment. We avoid repercussions too risky to take. But we all long for that safe place. A place where you and I could just be us, where we can express our thoughts and feelings without needing to filter them, without having to think about how we are seen, perceived, or heard. A place where everything else is absent but unconditional acceptance, respect, and love.

Believe me, I still carry the same struggles that I have had since childhood. There are days when I win and some days when I lose. It becomes frustrating sometimes, like learning how to ride a bike and never getting it right. You just want to hop on it and ride free, but you fall off balance even after peddling a few distances.

“I have been afraid of changing coz I’ve built my life around you”.

Landslide, Smashing Pumpkins

Letting go of something so familiar, something we’ve depended on is difficult. But we all need to move forward and we have agency to do it. We are not helpless.  

Agency to me translates to a few things- writing, books, people I look up to, friends, and best of all, prayer. I’d be a hypocrite if I say I’ve held on to prayer relentlessly. I did not. And I think that’s the mistake I constantly make: letting go of the only weapon I have against enemies beyond my powers to subdue. I am learning.

“Frodo: I wish the Ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.

Gandalf: So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”

J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

When you think about it, getting through our helplessness seems an overwhelming task. But if we try to deconstruct that undertaking a little bit, I think we can focus on one decision at a time, one choice at a time. We can never leave our hearts unguarded. A poison can touch our lips innocently even from a cup of coffee and we can easily be led astray if we’re not standing on solid ground.  

Don’t play with fire”. Another told my friend.  

I said, “God meets you where you are. Don’t be afraid to show Him what you think is the ugliest part of you. He can take it”.

My friend sobbed. A sense of peace slowly filled the room.  

I knew right then, healing is bound to take place.

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