This is an oxymoron, yet still- it isn’t.
Joy and pain are opposites, and as such they are the same thing, or, at least, come from the same source and diverge into two streams, each with its own implications, meaning and behaviour. Note that implication, meaning and behaviour are all ‘higher’* aspects of ourselves. Pain and pleasure come from a ‘deeper’ source, moving their way up into consciousness and unfolding as they go along.
So what makes some experiences pleasurable, and others painful?
I argue that it is their meaning, which is superimposed on experience, that catalogs it as ‘pain’ or ‘pleasure’. Take away the meaning, and all that’s left is experience.
Once the meaning is gone, what is left can be experience as sensation alone, a glowing star in the dark, unconnected and unique. Or, it can be carved into a new set of meanings, creating a new constellation according to Will.
For example. when submerging yourself into cold river water the sensation of coldness can be very unpleasant. Why is that so? Because your mind interprets the sensation coming from your body as danger, and imposes the meaning of ‘pain’ causing the behaviour of removing pain (in this case- removing body from cold water).
If the sensation is disconnected from its interpretation, the experience of cold can be extremely pleasant. Extreme sensations of pain can be thus turned into extreme sensations of pleasure, or just extreme sensations devout of meaning otherwise known as ecstasy.
How to disconnect meaning from sensations.
Pick a word, any word. Now say it many many times. Play with the vowels, roll it around long enough, and it looses it’s meaning. The word turns into sounds, movements, void of meaning. Now take a sensation, any sensation, sense it long, play around with it, experience it wordlessly and mindlessly, until the sensation stands alone, disconnected. From here you can either impose a new meaning to the sensation (‘the sinking of my toes in the mud is my roots growing into the earth’) or go even deeper into the sensation until it fills every aspect of existence, where no borders exist and the world dissolves into a glowing beat of ecstasy.
The more overpowering the sensation, the easier it is to immerse in it. The more fear you have attached to the sensation, the harder it becomes to separate it from it’s meaning (which is a good thing, because using this technique on ‘hand in fire’ is pretty dumb).
Nothing has meaning. Not really. We only impose meaning on events so we can carry on with our lives. Without meaning, things seem, well, meaning less. At some point someone started to ask why, and an answer must be found. Why? cannot stand alone unanswered. ‘just because’ is not an answer. So we say ‘ Because blah blah something that affirms my life choices blah’. Strip away the answer, stop asking the question, and all that is left is this- moments of experience, naked and raw, glowing for a moment longer before dying out, making room for a new experience. Pleasure or pain, it doesn’t matter, let them surge through you and experience them fully. This, eventually, is all we have, all we ever had.
Disconnection of experience from meaning and cognitive thought processes has a name. It has it’s own disorder- dp/dr. Depersonalization and derealization. While I, the carrier of the Golden Apples, thrive on disorder of any kind, one should be cautious. Sanity, safety and consent are guide rules for those playing.
For those who live- Wakeful Surrender is the only advice worth taking. **
*higher, lower, moving upwards or downwards have no implication what so ever about moral quality. they are just directions, used here to direct a point.
** I take no responsibility for your stupidity, failures or incompetence.