The main chakra responsible for pleasure is the sacral chakra or swadhisthana. It is the second chakra responsible for awakening and regulating the pleasure center. However, a clear understanding of what the word “pleasure” means is essential; otherwise, we may end up blocking our pleasure chakra to the detriment of our psychosomatic health.
There is a fundamental drive in human beings to seek pleasure and avoid pain. It’s a survival mechanism and our natural instinct to do so. However, when the sacral chakra is dysfunctional, this drive to seek pleasure becomes unconscious. The chase for unconscious pleasure-seeking becomes suffering in the long run.
It is only in the context of this discussion that we create a distinction between pleasure and pain. As we move to higher chakras, this distinction begins to fade away. In reality, pleasure and pain are two sides of the same coin. You know pleasure only because you’ve experienced pain.
There is a big misconception about the word “pleasure” that most people do not address while discussing sacral chakra healing. There is a wide gap between what your mind perceives as pleasure and how your body reacts to it. Your body is an aggregate of parts, each with its own intelligence.
The body is like an elephant, and the mind is the mahout riding it. The elephant mostly follows the rider’s instructions, but sometimes, the elephant sees a ripe banana bunch on a tree and disregards the rider’s instructions. This defiance makes the rider angry, and he beats the elephant, but it does not budge till it finishes the bananas.
Therefore, for most people, suffering happens because the mind is generally not in sync with the body’s understanding of pleasure and pain. Your mind may crave sugar, alcohol, high glycaemic index foods, or other substances; the body, however, may react differently to what you consume.
Now I’m not telling you what you should or should not consume. Everybody is different, so there can never be generic one-fits-all advice. Moreover, diet and nutrition are not areas of expertise, so I won’t go in that direction. I’m simply giving you examples of a few unconscious behaviors that are misinterpreted as pleasures by the mind.
With imbalanced sacral energy, we misinterpret pain as pleasure. For example, in the ultra-competitive and hectic modern world, our idea of unwinding and relaxing usually revolves around spending money on costly vacations, going shopping on weekends, and indulging in substances after a hard day’s work.
There’s nothing right or wrong with the above. If you think you need to consume something to feel relaxed, take it by all means, but once you discover the pleasure center within, the need to use external things and substances cease altogether. Then an occasional indulgence will not harm the body.
I’m only hinting at the possibility of experiencing pleasure without compromising the mind-body’s integrity and vitality. Without numbing the mind. Without depleting the body of essential resources that it needs to survive and thrive.
I’ll give you my own example. A few years back, when I was working as a software developer, I needed at least 6 to 8 cups of coffee to sustain my work throughout the day. I could not start my day without a cup of hot cappuccino. My job was demanding, and my work schedule was hectic. Sometimes, I had to work late nights and forgo sleep.
Sugar and caffeine give me the kick or a short temporary spike of pleasure that I needed at that time. However, every spike of pleasure was followed by a crash, and so I needed more caffeine to keep myself alert and awake. I continued this lifestyle for almost a decade, and it brought a host of psychosomatic problems. I never admitted it back then, but I had severe anxiety.
Not only had I gained a lot of weight, but I was also experiencing joint pains and debilitating migraine headaches. Binge eating high carbohydrate food was my coping mechanism to soothe my anxiety. Some of my colleagues were experiencing similar symptoms.
I remember one of them had liver cirrhosis but could not stop drinking alcohol because he was addicted. He told me he could not stop because that was the only thing that helped him cope with work stress. Such compulsions not only affect us but also take a toll on our relationships.
Therefore, seeking pleasure to avoid the discomfort of the present situation is not the solution. Buying expensive gifts to feel better about yourself is not pleasure. Pleasure is not sitting on a sunny beach and sipping piña colada all day or partying hard all night.
Pleasure is not about going on a shopping spree or pampering yourself with expensive items. It is not about dining in expensive places. I’m not judging you if you’re that way. Neither am I suggesting that it is immoral to indulge.
And I’m also not against consumption. I’m all for conscious consumption that nourishes the body and mind. If you have to spend money, spend it on items that expand your mind and provide your body with essential nutrients.
You have to assess your lifestyle yourself and strike a balance. You don’t need to imitate anyone to know what’s best for you. Nobody other than yourself can tell you what’s good for you. The best indicator to know is to see how you feel throughout the day, how you feel about others, and how it impacts your creativity. Do you feel irritated and restless or remain peaceful and calm during the day?
Don’t worry if you’re trapped in the cycle of mindless consumption. It happens to the best of us when our sacral energy is dysfunctional. There was a time when I was like that myself. I wanted big cars and expensive watches. I used to buy clothes from expensive fashion brands. I used to consume unhealthy food.
I didn’t have to fight my urges using willpower to overcome these indulgences. Self-control using willpower never worked for me. Instead, I allowed myself to be the way I am, and it all dropped at some point without my “doing” anything about them. Once you discover your pleasure center, you stop depending on external things for happiness.
The pleasure principle is innate. Your whole being is a pleasure center. What that means is that you don’t need anything external to acquire it. You’re born with it. It’s the excessive thinking and self-misidentification that we begin seeking happiness in the external world through accumulation and validation.
Just as indulgence sways us away from our pleasure center, so do avoidance and denial. Some people have this idea of denying themselves basic pleasures like food, sex, and sleep to attain some superhuman state or spiritual awakening.
They torture themselves only to end up in frustration and bitterness in the end. Buddha saw the futility of both worlds. He was born to a king and saw that true happiness cannot be found in a life of luxury and excesses.
He also saw that there was no happiness in living as an ascetic practicing hardened discipline and denying oneself basic life pleasures. That’s why he advocated a middle path. You have to find your middle path through self-knowledge.
We mistake thrill and excitement for pleasure and chase them to find meaning in life. Those things just temporarily excite our nervous system, and when the dull feeling seeps back, we again crave a new stimulation.
The conditioned mind feels restless in the absence of a new stimulant. That’s why we constantly check e-mails, flip through social-media feeds, binge-watch programs on OTT platforms, spend hours playing video games, or indulge in junk food and substances.
Such a conditioned mind experiences alternating short bursts of excitement (which is the activation of the fight-or-flight system) followed by long periods of dullness.
I’m not suggesting that you give up all of it. You have to be observant and find a balance yourself. Change what you can, and accept what you can’t change. Simply do what you can and leave the rest. For example, I knew I could not get off caffeine abruptly, so I switched from coffee to tea. This simple change made a significant difference. I started sleeping better, and my anxiety vanished.
Take time to get out of your habitual thinking pattern and allow the awareness to cultivate stillness in your mind. Then you will be highly receptive to your surroundings. For instance, take a walk in the park, keep your body hydrated with water, eat whole fruits like oranges and apples or whatever you prefer, do yoga and meditation, and engage your mind in artistic endeavors to unleash creativity.
Learn to take breaks in between work and spend some time alone. In the beginning, you’ll find it difficult as the body is not used to the mind’s new ways. But when the mind becomes harmonious, you find yourself in the most restful place.
You can activate your pleasure center simply by balancing the sacral chakra through conscious living. Pleasure is not something you “get” outside of yourself. It is within you. Once you tap into this source of happiness, it stays with you even while you perform mundane everyday tasks like cooking, cleaning, etc.
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