by George A. Boyd © 1989
The quest for instant relief of pain and suffering, and seeking immediate pleasure and ecstasy through drugs has spawned countless addictions and unnumbered ruined lives in every generation. Whether the inebriating substance was a natural intoxicant like alcohol, tobacco, opium, coca leaf, hallucinogenic mushrooms, or any one of a host of modern medicine’s psychoactive drugs, people have sought intoxication’s quick escape from the cares and responsibilities of living.
When you ingest a drug, you tamper with intricate biochemistry of your nervous system. You destroy or deplete your neurotransmitters. The ability to enjoy all the good things that you may experience in our lives is meditated through release of neurotransmitters. By interfering with their natural production by taking drugs is to risk upsetting the delicate balance of your nervous system, creating illness, madness, addiction and death as a direct result.
Yet simply by doing any of the activities of listed below, you can experience the natural release of the euphoriants within your body, and receive endogenous pleasure from “your own juices.”
Sustained Exercise. Running, swimming, bicycling, dancing, and other sustained sports activities will give you a healthy glow.
Good Nutrition. Eating a well balanced diet, together with vitamins and herbal supplements can increase your vitality and health.
Doing What You Love. A hobby that holds your interest, a job that challenges you with new learning and growth, or a career that expresses your potentials can bring you deep personal satisfaction.
Achievement. Reaching your personal goals and aspirations, making your dreams come true, can bring you moments of happiness in the enjoyment of victory.
Adventure. Exploring a jungle, rafting on a river, riding a powerful motorcycle, skydiving, or traveling to a new country can bring you excitement and exhilaration.
Curiosity. An intense intellectual interest in a topic, the drive to know more about something through research, observation and study, can spark your mental faculties to heightened activity, and yield the satisfactions of new knowledge and understanding.
Invention. The urge to know how something works, how to solve a practical problem, or why a negative condition persists can result in research or an invention can create a breakthrough in knowledge and technology. Increasing our collective understanding and ability to live more conveniently and efficiently enhances your sense of esteem that comes from making a worthy contribution to others, plus gives you the victorious satisfaction of finding out and making it work.
Social Pleasure. The communication of your ideas to another human being, the unburdening of the sensitive issues of your heart, and the sharing of the tender emotions of love and appreciation contribute to your sense of being a part of other’s lives, and your own feelings of being loved and valued.
Aesthetic Pleasure. Listening to your favorite music, going to an art exhibit, attending a museum, seeing a dance troupe perform, or watching a sunset with someone you love can satisfy your need for stimulation and variety.
Sensual Pleasure. Lounging in the warm sun, relaxing in a hot tub, having a invigorating massage, or lovemaking with your special someone can transport you to the soothing depths of comfort or the thrilling peaks of ecstasy.
Creativity. Painting a picture, taking a photograph, writing a screenplay or book of poetry, molding raw substance into finished sculpture by portraying the real world around you or the world of your imagination, can provide you with long hours of enjoyment. The challenge of wrestling with an impelling idea, capturing it, shaping it so that it is just right, and making it real before you can bring you profound fulfillment.
Playing. Going out and having fun with your family, children and friends at the beach or on a camping trip by playing games or sports can refresh your body and clear your mind, renewing you to tackle the challenges of your life once again.
Helping others. There is gratification in volunteering your time, or following an avocation to assist other people, animals, or to heal the environment. Using your spiritual gifts to enhance others’ lives enriches your own life, as well.
Spirituality. Engaging in communion with your Higher Power through prayer and meditation, or celebrating your community through praise, worship and song brightens your life, enlightens your mind, renews your spirit, and fulfills your Soul’s yearning for growth and expansion.
Yes, it is true that life has moments of suffering and misery, times of trial and stress. Yet if you weather these storms like an ancient tree, you will find that Life holds satisfactions that more than compensate you for the pain and sorrow.
You can no more cling to the bright side of your days than the sun can linger in the sky all 24 hours. But sorrow passes, misery lifts. You will again find satisfaction and value in the activities and people who bring you joy. And if it seems that your stars have all gone out, and your night is filled with clouds of despair, remember there is a star within that will never go out—Hope.