When we mistake pleasure for happiness

words & design by Brian Thompson.

Pleasure is not happiness—it is pain (in disguise).

Pleasure is merely the temporary relief from pain. It obscures it, but only for a very brief time. This is why we seek pleasure—to escape our hurts, to mask the uncomfortable, and to distract us from that which we resist.

No matter how far we run in the opposite direction—towards physical and sensory pleasures—suffering will eventually catch up to us, and often with more ferocity than before.

Emotional pain will not tolerate being ignored.

When pleasure fades, pain returns—the two are inseparable.

Eventually, too much pleasure becomes toxic. No matter if it’s too much food, drink, drugs, sex, shopping, entertainment, adrenaline, fame, power, success, or money—all such material pursuits will sicken us when indulged, either mentally or physically, no matter how careful we presume to be.

The middle way—the path of moderation—is the only peaceful way to pass through life.

By having a certain sense of detachment and aloofness towards all things, you will remain unscathed by the drama that defines the dream of human life. Be caring, but not attached. Be interested, but not obsessed. Be diligent, but desire no reward. Have mild preferences, but empty of any fanatical opinions.

Your indifference will keep you free from delusion.

Your emotional pain cannot be cured by any desire, pleasure, distraction or procrastination; nor with any temporary band-aid of sensory relief—your pain can only be dissolved through direct confrontation.

You can’t escape your emotional suffering—it can only be accepted, forgiven and absolved. You must face your fears directly.

Pleasure can never replace happiness—it can only come from within. Uncover the harmonious and peaceful reality of awareness that lies underneath all surface level appearances. Dive deep into your own presence of awareness and see what you find.

When desire ends, happiness begins.