Pride, Pleasure, and Suffering
Our culture rewards identity formation and self-aggrandizement. How does our pleasure in pride-driven self expression get interrupted so we can begin to let go of pride? A podcast from Satsang with Shambhavi
Podcast First Words
One of the things about our experience of pride is that when things are going our way, we get pleasure out of it. The flip side of pride is humiliation or shame. So that’s not so fun. But when we feel like we’re being successful at projecting the image that we want to project, or accomplishing the things we want to accomplish, or climbing the ladder we want to climb, we’re really hooked into it by pleasure.
And since this is a titan culture that’s basically fueled on pride, we also get a lot of external rewards for our pride. Pride fuels a lot of accomplishing. And we can even get rewarded for being prideful, which is kind of interesting. We get rewarded for our image formation, even our literal image, like on Facebook or something.
The very first step in beginning to unwind that is to feel how utterly trapped we are by it. So the very first step is to notice, in the midst of that pleasure, that it’s got you by the throat. Notice that you’re doing things that you think you’re choosing, but you’re actually doing them compulsively. Notice that things you think you’re making a choice about, you can’t stop. Or you’re afraid to stop. Notice that things that are giving you a lot of pleasure are entirely self-referential, and cause you to lose intimacy with other people.
So we have to notice that that kind of pleasure is actually just a kind of a gloss on suffering. And we really have to feel how the ambition, the autonomy, the accomplishments, the achievements, the accolades, the applause that we’re receiving, that we’re addicted to them. They aren’t satisfying us, and they’re actually part of the suffering that we’re experiencing. So we have to actually feel that, viscerally.