Have you heard of Ayurveda?
You’d be forgiven if you haven’t. I’m here to tell you about it, and in particular, about one of the four goals – pleasure.
What is Ayurveda?
It’s an approach to life that is considered by many to be the oldest healing science. It’s been around for thousands of years and forms the basis of many of today’s natural healing systems.
In short, it’s all about achieving balance in your life through positive thinking, diet, exercise and natural substances.
Ayurveda prescribes four life goals: Dharma (life purpose), Artha (security), Kama (pleasure) and Moksa (freedom).
In this post I’m going to talk about pleasure (Kama) and why it’s important for balance.
Why do we need pleasure?
Kama is described as the fulfilment of your desires. Pleasure is the feeling of something good.
We’re talking about love, enjoyment, fun, passion and emotions. After all, what is life if we don’t enjoy it? As the famous saying goes ‘A little of what you fancy does you good’. I’m a great believer in that.
In evolutionary terms, pleasure drives us towards survival. We find pleasure in eating so we don’t starve; we find pleasure in sex so we can reproduce. But is that the be all and end all of seeking pleasure?
No. As humans, we find deeper meaning in pleasure.
The more we know about something, the more our levels of pleasure are influenced. For example, if we know a bottle of wine was expensive, we’re more likely to enjoy it more. Conversely if we find out a meal was cooked by someone we don’t like we’re likely to find fault with it.
A regular dose of whatever makes you happy has been proven to strengthen your immune system. It relieves stress, thereby keeping both your mind and your body healthy.
Slowing down and savouring our pleasures enables our mind and body to catch up. Whether you’re enjoying something edible or engaging with nature, more pleasure will be derived by focusing on that act, taking your time and really noticing how happy it makes you.
However, great food, good sex and exciting experiences are only fleeting glimpses of pleasure. We’re social animals and connection with other humans seems to be at the heart of many of our pleasures. The true essence of life is generally found in the relationships we enjoy with other humans, following our ambitions and reaching our goals.
The other famous saying I enjoy is ‘everything in moderation’. In other words, there has to be a balance in life. Pursuing too much pleasure at the expense of paying heed to life’s other necessities could lead to a harmful imbalance and a spiral into unhealthy habits.
Just keep it balanced.
Finding your pleasure
There are many ways in which we, as humans, seek out pleasure. But we’re all different. Some need regular holidays, others need a takeaway once a fortnight. Some need a night out with friends, others a regular massage. Whatever your pleasure in life, indulging in a healthy level is so good for your health, your body and your mind.
Breathing in the sea air, watching the birds glide through the skies, treating yourself to an ice cream or booking that creative writing course you’ve been longing to study.
Finding the life-balance that allows space and time for pleasurable activities is a vital part of staying healthy, both physically and emotionally.
What’s your pleasure?
For me, my pleasures are numerous. Yoga, meditation, basking in the sun with a nice book and a cup of green tea, a giant waffle covered with Nutella and whipped cream in Winter or a bracing walk along the coast on a breezy day with a good friend.
Without an injection of pleasure, no matter how small, life can run away and become tiresome. A little pleasure every day makes for contentment and balance – and long may it continue.
With much love and pleasure,