“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land, there is no other life but this.” ~Henry David Thoreau
Have you ever wondered what would be possible if you could press a button and stop time? With time stopped you would be able to squeeze as much pleasure out of every morsel of food, delicious kiss, majestic mountain or awe inspiring sunrise. These are things that most of us rush through in life, because we’re too busy, or off chasing the next best thing. We never find the next best thing, because we’re always searching, instead of appreciating all the pleasures that life has already laid out for us.
Today I share with you the secret of forgetting the past, eliminating the future, all within the only time which really exists- now. The key is to recognize what pleasure really is, because if we can see what it truly is, we can truly stop, become present, and enjoy it. Keep reading to learn the identity of the 5 levels of pleasure of human existence.
The Five Levels of Pleasure Worth Being Present For
5. Physical and Material Pleasure
This level of pleasure is one that we all enjoy, it’s anything that we experience with our fives senses. Such as delicious food, great music, a great view, beautiful clothes, a pleasant perfume. The awesome thing is that this is just the beginning, and actually the lowest of the five levels of pleasure. So if you like this it’s just going to get better! But wait, the point is to really stay present and enjoy this level too!
In order to squeeze the most out of the fifth level of pleasure:
- Enjoy Your Taste. This world is absolutely full of foods and drinks that have an awesome taste. It’s considered a sin to not try a new fruit, because we are lucky enough to have all these amazing fruits, instead of nutrient filled yuck. So it is our duty to try the fruits, the wines, and even the cakes that are available to us. By chewing the food slowly, we can savor every morsel, and enjoy this basic pleasure that is available to us.
- Enjoy Your Hearing. Our ears are such an incredible sense. It allows us to hear a great symphony, the cries of our young child, the intimate whispers of our significant other, and to even find our way around in the dark. It is our duty to enjoy great music and great conversations, without thinking about where we need to go to next.
- Enjoy Your Touch. Our skin, fingers and loins were all meant to touch, feel, and experience the pleasures of our lives. We’re meant to touch every fabric, play with every new texture, and experience every nuance of loving and embracing each other.
- Enjoy Your Sight. The world isn’t one big flat desert. No, it’s full of beautiful trees, flowers, gardens, animals, people, sunrises, buildings, paintings, and colors. It is our obligation to appreciate our eyes and look at and enjoy all of these creations.
- Enjoy Your Smell. Our strongest sense is our sense of smell, yet we often take it for granted by not smelling every amazing thing we can get our noses on. There are an infinite number of aromas for us to choose from, from natures flowers, to man’s pastries and perfumes, we can smell to our hearts desires. Nothing forges a stronger memory in our mind than smell, so smell, and associate that smell with all things great.
- Enjoy Your Possessions. Whether it’s your money, cars, clothes, jewelry, vacation, or home, enjoy it and do not take it for granted. You don’t always need the bigger, newer thing. By mastering the art of enjoying what you have, you’ll never feel need, and you’ll always be happy where you are.
4. Love (not Infatuation)
Infatuation is merely a physical attraction, and it leaves us just as easily as it comes to us. That’s not what love is, real love is pretty permanent. You wouldn’t expect a parent to stop loving their children, would you? The little secret about real love is that it’s not completely simple and easy. It takes making a commitment to each other, REALLY getting to know each other, and investing yourself by putting time and effort into creating a beautiful, delicious relationship. The goal of course is to create a life time of passionate friendship with the person you love.
In order to squeeze the most out of the fourth level of pleasure:
- Get To Know Them. Whether it’s your parents, grandparents, siblings, children or significant other the greatest gift you could give them is to listen to them, get to know them, let them express themselves, and support them. You cannot give them full support unless you know what they really want and to find that out you will need to be a proactive listener.
- Learn Together. To make ourselves better is an underlying purpose of our existence. To share this with another, to learn together, to grow together physically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually is a magnificent bond forming activity. With every book, class, workshop, talk, experience, journey, or adventure you co-create a relationship that is deeper and stronger than it was before.
- Talk Intimately. Couples often talk for hours when they first meet, but sometimes stop as the novelty of the person wears off. This is where you need to get aware of this and bring the conversations back. Bring them back with family and friends you haven’t talked to in awhile. Don’t just check in to see how today was, check in to see what they’re dreams are and what they’re grateful for.
- Kiss and Embrace. Make some eye contact and really embrace each other. Not only is hugging an excellent bond, but when you hug your brain releases oxytocin, a chemical that’s also associated with touch and orgasms. Don’t rush your kisses, but stop what you’re doing and enjoy that kiss with the person you love. It’s such a great way to enjoy each other, relieve stress, build self-esteem, and feel well all around.
- Share Sex. So you might want to wait until you are married, but whenever IT happens, you are now sharing one of life’s greatest physical pleasures together. I feel like the more people you have sex with, the more you are desensitized to sex as a more meaningful connection. Let’s just take the romance out of it for a moment and say that sex is just sex, when you’re hot you’re hot, and when you’re not you’re not. The pleasure that you do share when you’re both hot can be tremendous, and should be shared together often.
3. A Great Cause
It’s hard to imagine giving up true love for anything. Surely no amount of money would justify giving away the love of our life, or our beloved child, right? Well that’s not exactly true. We would give up love, children and even our family for a greater cause. In fact, people would do a whole lot in order to live out their life purpose, or to do something that they believe to be the greatest good.
In order to squeeze the most out of the third level of pleasure:
- Save a Life. This doesn’t mean you have to find someone that’s currently drowning, not literally that is. You can save a life by changing a life, and you can do that by listening, being supportive, offering your time, money, and love in order to feed, empower, educate or in any way enrich someone’s life. Few things are more fulfilling than saving a life.
- Create Peace. I’m not talking about joining an army and “creating peace”, there are many more passive ways, ways that can bring peace to your nation, and all nations of the world. It includes ending the prejudice, racism, and hate within yourself. Just within yourself. If everyone did this just within themselves than we would have no alternative but peace, right?
- Feed The Hungry. Buy, make, or grow some food for a hungry family. How fulfilling would it be if you found a way to end hunger for hundreds of thousands, millions… all the people in the world? With the amount of food that is wasted, thrown out, or allowed to spoil, we have enough to make sure all the hungry mouths in the world are fed. Even better than giving them food is to teach them how to grow and obtain their own.
- Promote Education. Illiteracy plagues many places in the world. You could mentor, tutor, and find many other ways to donate your time and money to promote education in all parts of the world. Higher education among everyone in the world will likely solve many of the other problems, don’t you think?
- Promote CANI. CANI means Constant and Never-ending Improvement. It’s one of the things I have commitment myself to doing every day of my life. If you, and everyone you know, and everyone they know, etc. participate in making themselves better, than the rest of the world will follow. It starts with one person, and it spreads when you lead by example.
2. The Power To Create
The power to create is above physical pleasures, above love, above fighting for a great cause. If you believe in God than the reason is that God is the ultimate creator, and by creating, you are getting as close to God’s essence as humanly possible. If you aren’t a believer, than think of creation as the ultimate act of self-control, where your mind and body are in sync to produce a unique result.
In order to squeeze the most out of the second level of pleasure:
- Paint, Draw, or Sculpt. Your mind takes all of it’s experiences and sights, and creates a unique image. You then use your hand and fingers to translate that idea into a real viable painting or sculpture. Congratulations, you have just used the power of self-control in order to create. This act of creation is a high level of pleasure.
- Write Anything. Just put the pen to the paper and start writing. Your experience, knowledge, and ideas will create a new world inside of the realm of your paper. You can transfer monumental ideas, as I try to do with this article, to thousands, if not millions of people.
- Cook a Dish. The power of creating food is often over looked, or dumbed down, by the majority of people who think that food is simply fuel for the body. The few that realize the creative genius that can go into preparing a meal, and considering all the intricacies involved, get to enjoy this pleasure the most.
- Tend a Garden. It’s easy enough that nearly anyone can do it, yet it delivers a high level of fulfillment and pleasure. Tend a garden and create life from a seedling into a flower, a fruit, a vegetable, or a big old tree! You get to watch the life and growth of something you yourself put into the soil and took care of.
- Raise a Child Well. While having the baby is one of the easiest things we can do (especially guys), raising this child to be an intelligent, healthy, happy, and well-intentioned human being is a tremendous effort and a cause that many people give their life for. It is, and if it isn’t, it should be, every parents goal.
1. A Touch of God
After mastering the other four levels of pleasure there aren’t that many new things from which you can gain fulfillment. You can repeatedly do 5-2, and you’ll like it, but you’ll also seek the ultimate pleasure, which is not just to know the true origin of existence, but to encounter God, source, oneness or whatever it is that you believe in as a superior force.
In order to squeeze the most out of the first level of pleasure:
- Practice Gratitude. This takes the cake as far as creating pleasure in our lives. To be able to really appreciate, and be thankful for all our senses, and the beauty that we are able to experience due to this unique ability. Wake up feeling like a little kid, just bursting out of bed and ready to live!
- Commit to The Great Good. One of the things that I believe to bring the highest level of pleasure is to believe that all people are part of one entity, or unit. From that belief we can commit to improving ourselves, but also to do things for the greatest good of all.
- Know It’s Not Just Us. Recognize that you are part of this beautiful world, and that this world is not entirely created by you. You only have power of your present, but you have to appreciate your mortality, humanity, and the scope of the world. Be humbled by this force, whatever it is, that has such a tremendous power to create. Allow yourself to be glorified by the gift that was bared for you and not by a feasible hand.
By the way the cool watch you see in the picture above is The Now Watch. I love it because it’s a constant reminder to stop, slow down and enjoy the many pleasures that life has to offer. Instead of letting my mind wander in the past, or get lost in the future, this watch gives me laser sharp focus on the present and appreciate the beauty that is all around me.
“With the past, I have nothing to do; nor with the future. I live now.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Update: I’ve had lecture and discussion on this very topic on many occasions, so I did not know what the primary source was, but it was nice of Nechemia to point out that it was in fact an Aish idea. Head over there to see a great article on pleasure.