Inner  Frontier
Cultivating Spiritual Presence



Inner Work

For the week of: June 23, 2003

Joy and Pleasure

What is the difference between joy and pleasure? We can best discover their difference with respect to time. Pleasures exist in time, fleeting moments in which one of our appetites or desires temporarily finds satisfaction. With pleasures, the satisfaction does not last. It even turns into its opposite of dissatisfaction or pain as we grasp for more of the pleasure or suffer the consequences of overindulging in it.

Those consequences usually prove costly to both body and soul. Overindulgence in pleasures can harm health of our body. It also weakens our soul by wasting inner energies and channeling our interests and intentions down unprofitable paths.

Joy comes from beyond time. Externally, beauty or kindness can open us to contact with the timeless strata underlying all. Inwardly, deep meditation, prayer and creative acts bring us face to face with the timeless. Either way, joy touches us with a lasting imprint. Later, after the initial burst passes, joy continues to buoy our appreciation of life. That first moment remains with us. Further moments of joy gradually infuse our life with a satisfaction that surpasses any fleeting pleasure, a sense of the rightness of this remarkable universe, a sense of participation in its richness.

Rightfully conducted inner work inevitably leads toward joy.

For this week, notice the difference between pleasure and joy.


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