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Beyond pleasure or pain

In our world, everything is relative to something else – such is the world of dualism: we recognize light by knowing darkness, we know kindness by experiencing cruelty, happiness by knowing sorrow, health by knowing illness, and so on. Taoism makes a point of not having preferences of any one state over the other, as one state can only be known by experiencing the opposite. We always run after those experiences that make us feel good, but how would we know what pleasure is if we didn’t also feel discomfort?

Ultimately, all these states come and go. When good fortune comes our way, we should let it be. When sorrow comes, we should let it be. We suffer more in trying to avoid the pain of sorrow, than by just allowing it to be. Remember, “This too shall pass”.

One benefit of meditation is to train the mind to not be attached and cling to any condition, pleasant or unpleasant. Eventually, it finds rest in a space beyond duality. When we can be comfortable with both pleasure and pain, suffering ceases, and true understanding and enjoyment of life begins.

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