Q: One more question. Why does pleasure end in pain?
M: Everything has a beginning and an end and so does pleasure. Don’t anticipate and don’t regret, and there will be no pain. It is memory and imagination that cause suffering.
Of course pain after pleasure may be due to the misuse of the body of the mind. The body knows its measure, but the mind does not. Its appetites are numberless and limitless. Watch your mind with great diligence, for there lies your bondage and also the key to freedom.
Q: My question is not fully answered: Why are man’s pleasures destructive? Why does he find so much pleasure in destruction? Life’s concern lies in protection, perpetuation and expansion of itself. In this it is guided by pain an pleasure. At what point do they become destructive?
M: When the mind takes over, remembers and anticipates, it exaggerates, it distorts, it overlooks. The past is projected into the future and the future betrays the expectations. The organs of sensation and action are stimulated beyond capacity and they inevitably break down. The objects of pleasure cannot yield what is expected of them and get worn out, or destroyed by misuse. It results in excess pain where pleasure was looked for.
Q: We destroy not only ourselves, but others too?
M: Naturally, selfishness is always destructive. Desire and fear, both are self-centered states. Between desire and fear anger arises, with anger hatred, with hatred passion for destruction. War is hatred in action, organized and equipped with all the instruments of death.
Q: Is there a way to end these horrors?
M: When more people come to know their real nature, their influence, however subtle, will prevail and the world’s emotional atmosphere will sweeten up. People follow their leaders and when among the leaders appear some, great in heart and mind, and absolutely free from self-seeking, their impact will be enough to make the crudities and crimes of the present age impossible. A new golden age may come and last a time and succumb to its own perfection. For, ebb begins when the tide is at its highest.
Q: Is there no such thing as permanent perfection?
M: Yes, there is, but it includes all imperfection. It is the perfection of our self-nature which makes everything possible, perceivable, interesting. It knows no suffering, for it neither likes nor dislikes; neither accepts nor rejects. Creation and destruction are the two poles between which it weaves its ever-changing pattern. Be free from predilections and preferences and the mind with its burden of sorrow will be no more.
Q: But I am not alone to suffer. There are others.
M: When you go to them with your desires and fears, you merely add to their sorrows. First be free of suffering yourself and then only hope of helping others. You do not even need to hope– your very existence will be the greatest help a man can give his fellowmen.
From Chapter 59
Always so much to get from the teachings. One kernel ….