By Remez Sasson
Making progress on the spiritual path does not mean that you have to reject any kind of pleasure and fun and live an austere and harsh life. This idea sometimes holds people from taking the first step toward spiritual growth. Walking on a spiritual path does not require that you avoid everything coming through the five senses, and treating yourself harshly and rigorously.
Pleasure and enjoyment do not hold you from making spiritual progress, but the attachment to them does. It is the attachment that has to go. Attachment is a kind of fear, addiction and lack of freedom. It is the fear of loss.
It might seem to you as a paradox, but you can enjoy life, but at the same time stay unattached anything you experience.
It is the inner attitude that is important. Someone, who has progressed on the inner path, can live and enjoy life, like anyone else, but at the same time not be attached to anything. Such a person may not seek pleasure deliberately, but when there is pleasure, he/she can enjoy it while it lasts, without being attached to it. When the source of pleasure is gone, there is no clinging to it or wishing it stayed, neither there is regret and or a feeling of loss.
Here is what Ramesh Balsekar says on this subject in his book “Who Cares?!”:
“The difference between the sage and the ordinary person, in regard to the enjoyment of sensual pleasures, is that while the ordinary person is continually in search of such pleasures, the sage does not hanker after such pleasures, but enjoys them with zest when they happen in the ordinary course of life. The sage does not seek pleasure, nor does he reject it when it happens.”
Ramesh Balsekar also quotes the words the sage Ashtavakra: “Absence of attachment to sense objects is liberation; passion for sense objects is bondage.”
Overcoming attachment and developing detachment lead to peace of mind and happiness.