Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Pleasure or Bliss?

I have an action plan each day. I write it in a notebook/journal. So far this year I write it in a journal in which  each page has a saying of The Buddha. I had an ink stamp made last year with the the first five things I choose to do every day of my life and I have it stamped on the top of each page. I cross each item off before I move on to the other items on the list for that day. Imperfectly, it works for me.

Some days the whole page is full, some days only one of two items are added after the initial five. Some days I cross everything off the list and some days I don't. Some things I will carry over to the next day and some things I just let go. On the days when my food obsession was in control, I have more left undone, lots of doodling and so many items crossed off in anger. For the last sixty-eight days the lists have been balanced, reasonable and competed. My feelings have been alive and varied and something inside of me has been sparked but I could not put my finger on it.

Back to Buddha: In all honesty, for these past four months I have rarely looked at the quotes of Buddha on each day's page yet I remember my original intent, when I started using the new journal on January 2nd, was that each day I would read the saying before I started crossing things off. I have not kept up with my intent.

This past Monday a Buddhist friend shared a story with his friends on Facebook and something in that story touched me so deeply it changed my attitude for the rest of the day. On Tuesday I woke up with a smile and the lightness stayed in my heart all day. That evening, we I planned the following day's action plan, I stopped to read the Buddha saying. It read

There is pleasure and there is bliss. Forgo the first to possess the second.

At one time in my life there was real pleasure to be found in my food choices. That the pleasure it provided became perverted by compulsion and overeating does not change the basic truth:  I would not have eaten so much ice cream, chocolate, excess food unless at one time I found real pleasure in the eating. However, there was never bliss. Bliss was a word I felt invented for writers to have a new adjective to play with. I did not feel it had any actuality in my life. Bliss just didn't feel like something real.

A little more than two months ago I again let go of the false image of pleasure in my food choices and soon began feeling something different in my life. It was not just calm acceptance and awareness - I've had both of those before. It wasn't simply happiness that I had turned a corner - I've made those footprints in the sand many times. No, this was different. I could not describe it to my mentor but he knew from having had such an experience himself that this feeling was deep, different, special.

I know now that it is bliss. In giving up the food I thought I wanted or demanded for dubious pleasure. I now have possession of a mental state I could not previously understand or identify. I did not have the experience of feeling it. Pain, fear, anger, anxiety, narrow-minded people - no matter what or who the issue, I really do not have to eat over it/them.  Don't let anyone fool you. That candy from the makers of Hershey is not Bliss.

Tomorrow I get on the scale without fear and I accept where I am today as necessary and right. That is bliss, too.



LuckyMama said...

This is an AWESOME post!!!

I totally understand what you meant by the pleasure you've gotten from food - I've been there myself...sometimes it seems I still am.

But - I can visualize/imagine the bliss that really comes from being free from the chains of food. Putting it in its proper place as nutrition and not enjoyment. I hope to be there one day.

Natalie said...

That is lovely.

Norma said...

It often comes down to knowing the difference between what we really want and what we want "right now," or the difference between long term happiness and instant gratification. Every time we tell ourselves "one bite won't hurt," "I'll make up for this tomorrow," etc., we have a 100% chance of regret at some point down the line.

bbubblyb said...

I've definitely come to realize that I find less pleasure in food and mostly it's because I now pay attention and usually the more I eat the more it makes me physically feel bad. So I am trying to look for bliss in life. Great post Jane, you continue to make me realize we can do this long term :)