Do you think that pleasure and happiness are the same thing? Though they seem similar, they are different.
What is the difference between pleasure and happiness?
Let’s first start by defining pleasure, and then talk about happiness.
What is Pleasure
Pleasure is a state, in which you feel good and enjoy what you are doing. Pleasure is usually caused by external stimuli, and often involves the five senses. Here are a few examples:
- We enjoy the warmth under the blanket on cold winter day.
- We experience a sensation of pleasure when we eat a delicious slice of cake.
- We get pleasure when we listen to pleasant music.
- We experience pleasure when we do something we love doing.
- We also derive pleasure from reading a book and from daydreaming.
- We get pleasure from the smell and taste of good food, from a pleasant breeze on a warm day, or from the sight of a beautiful person.
Pleasure often does not last long, since soon the attention moves to other matters. We enjoy the pleasure we experience, until a certain point, where we want or need to stop. For example, you might eat chocolate and enjoy it, but after a few pieces of chocolate you feel you cannot eat more.
Often, we have other things we need to do, like work, cleaning the house, driving somewhere, fixing something, or carrying tasks or chores we do not like. Then, we have to stop doing the thing that is giving us pleasure and do other things.
- When you eat some delicious food you derive pleasure from it, but the pleasure doesn’t last for long, since you cannot go on eating indefinitely. You finish eating the food on your plate and the sensation of pleasure wears off after a while.
- You may enjoy watching a movie, but the movie lasts for a certain amount of minutes.
- When you read a book that you enjoy reading, ultimately, you arrive to the last page.
As you see, all pleasure is time limited.
What is Happiness and how It Differs from Pleasure
Pleasure is emotional in nature, and often depends on the five senses, while happiness is different, it is an inner sensation. In pleasure the emotions and feelings are active. In a state of happiness there is calmness and peace.
Happiness might be triggered by events or external factors, but it does not depend on them. It is a sensation of inner calmness and satisfaction.
Though happiness is similar to pleasure in some respects, yet it is different.
When do you feel happy? You usually feel happy when a problem has been solved, when you receive good news, when a goal has been accomplished, when you earn a great sum of money, or when you are deeply in love.
For a few moments, you feel happy. What do you actually feel?
You feel free, blissful, as if the sun is shining on you, and you have no worries and nothing is bothering you. It is a state of exhilaration and peace. For a few moments, you feel as if a burden has been lifted, and you feel no fears or doubts, and don’t think about the next thing you are going to do.
For few moments, there are no thoughts and there is no time. These are moments of peace and happiness. You experience a deep feeling of relief, without any thinking, doubts or expectations. For a moment your mind is empty.
In this “empty state”, happiness arises. It usually does not stay for long, since you cannot stay in this state for long. Your mind is not trained to be peaceful, and all the thoughts, desires, doubts, fears or expectations rise back again, hiding the calmness you experienced just a moment ago.
As you see, happiness is a state of inner peace and inner calmness.
Everyone seeks happiness, when actually, the search is for inner peace and freedom from nonstop thinking.
Happiness and inner peace come from the same source, from within. Through training, one can reach a state when happiness and peace are experienced more and more often.
The more you are able to free your mind from the compulsion of thinking nonstop, moving from one thought to another, without any rest, the more you will be able to enjoy inner peace and happiness.
As you see, though pleasure and happiness bring joy and a good feelings, they are not the same thing.
We need and enjoy both pleasure and happiness, and while pleasure often has to do with physical sensations, happiness is more an inner sensation that is associated with inner peace and mental and emotional calmness.
Instead of waiting for external events to trigger happiness, you can bring it from inside you. Since inner peace has much to do with a state of happiness, the more peaceful your mind is, the more happiness you can enjoy.
When you are able to make your mind peaceful, you enjoy more happiness.
For more information, and practical techniques and exercises read: