Here is one way that we make our own pain. We look forward to something, supposing that it will be a positive experience. It turns out that it isn’t. Nothing remarkable just happened but because we took a certain outcome for granted, we got hurt.
Remember that there are no pleasure assurances, just pleasure opportunities and pleasure investments. How does this work in practice? You pick something that you’ve previously liked. You hope that it’ll still prove pleasurable. But who knows? How could you know?
You stand ready to experience pleasure. No reason not to stand ready! But you’re also easy with the possibility that you won’t. Maybe there’s a ninety percent chance that you’ll experience pleasure. What lovely odds! But kirists factor in that ten percent.
Say that you’ve enjoyed reading mystery novels in the past. For this or that reason, you haven’t picked one up in a while. So, you give a mystery a try. Will you still have a taste for it? Will it hold your attention? Will it or won’t it still prove a pleasure?
Who can say? You can only know by trying. You make an investment in this experience by locating a novel, finding a quiet spot to read, and reading. But you do not over-invest. You don’t put your well-being to the test with this little experiment!
If you’re in the habit of over-investing, you’re likely to not even try reading that mystery. This might sound like, “I’ve so loved mysteries! I don’t want to learn that I don’t love them any longer! That would be tragic! So, I’m never reading one again!”
Headline one: something is a pleasure only if it is. Headline two: do not need this or that to prove a pleasure. You can hope that it will prove a pleasure, you can want it to prove a pleasure, but if you need it to prove a pleasure, you have set yourself up for all sorts of troubles.
If the experience does prove pleasurable, bank it! First of all, enjoy it. Second, put it in your memory banks as an experience that you actually enjoyed. It is so important to know which of our experiences we’ve actually liked! Enjoy it and memory bank it.
If the experience proves neutral or negative, which will amount to a disappointment and, unless you are careful, even a kind of defeat, take that kirist step to the side and apply your awareness to the situation. Step to one side and think.
Murmur to yourself, “That was very interesting. I really quite expected that I would enjoy reading that mystery. And I didn’t enjoy it at all. What happened, I wonder? What ‘didn’t work’? And what might this experience have to teach me?”
It might mean that you can’t read mysteries until you get your own mystery written, the one that you’ve put aside for a year. Maybe mystery-reading pleasure is being held hostage and can’t be released until the ransom of your own mystery is paid.
It might mean that this particular mystery wasn’t very good, that cozy mysteries are now too lightweight for you and that you need hardboiled mysteries, or that you landed on the killer so early that the rest of the mystery felt anticlimactic.
It might mean that until you attend to your life purposes, you do not have permission from yourself to be entertained. Maybe there is a cause that you know you ought to be supporting and that you’ve been avoiding. Well, this experience alerted you.
Here’s a rough formula: provide yourself with pleasure opportunities and make pleasure investments. If they produce pleasure, smile and cheer. If they don’t produce pleasure, stop and think. Step to the side and review. This will increase your joy ten-fold!
Eric Maisel is the author of 50+ books. You can learn more about him at www.ericmaisel.com, subscribe to all of his blog posts at https://authory.com/ericmaisel, learn more about kirism here, and write him at [email protected]