I am in the midst of a slight predicament. Lately I have been seeking out pleasure more than normal. I have heard it said that this is what human beings do who are in the the midst of suffering. As of late I have been spending more time in the bathtub than normal. My bathroom is lined with blue tiles and the rusty faucet drips small oval water drops into the warm bath water. I will sit there until my heart starts to palpitate and think so many thoughts that my head is spinning when I get out from the tub. The bathroom at midnight is the most quiet place in the world for me to contemplate my life.
Lately I have been looking at the Craig’s List erotic postings more than normal. I have been drawn to not only the pictures of scantily dressed women but also the the titles of the add. “Best Head Doctor In Town,” “Three Sexy Holes For The Price Of One.” It seems as if the titles are exciting me more than the actual erotic pictures of women. And then yesterday it occurred to me- I am obsessed with the fantasy. My life has become so mired in struggle that I am escaping through the mechanisms of fantasy. I am becoming a man obsessed with naughty words.
My wife is fed up with me because in the midst of this obsession I am failing to take care of real responsibilities. Rather than spending my days searching for the raunchiest title I can find that will throw my depressed body into spasms of ecstasy (yesterday I found an add that caused me to immediately gesticulate- “Petite Young Pussy Wants To Snuggle Up With Lonely Cock“)- I should be paying for bills, exercising, cleaning our home, taking the dog for walks and looking for work. But instead, I have become a man stuck in a limbo of pornographic memorabilia.
In the bathtub I use all my might to stay away from my penis. It is not an occasion to indulge my need to orgasm. Taking a bath for me is a time of meditation, of renunciation. I sit there trying to cultivate the silence that alludes me all through out the day. My wife (who is suffering from a chronic cough) will knock on the door every ten minutes to ask me how I am doing. The answer is always the same (“fine, thank you” or “still simmering in hell and high water”). Occasionally I will take a whiskey straight into the tub with me but as of late I have noticed that this simple pleasure has created more suffering for me in the form of uncomfortable irregular heartbeats.
Last night while sitting in the tub I started to think about if there could possibly be a way out of this predicament of not having sex with my wife and being obsessed with the Craig’s List erotic postings. The therapist that I have been seeing has told me to remain patient, “to accept myself as I am without judgment and strive to make little choices that will make my life a lot happier.” She is a Buddhist and is always quoting from the Buddha. The other day she told me, “the Buddha said, seek not pleasure from pleasure but pleasure from suffering.” “What is that supposed to mean?” I asked her. “You seem to be caught up in a cycle of trying to seek out pleasure so that you can escape from your deeper feelings about your life,” she said looking me straight in my eyes. “Yes,” I replied, waiting for this to make sense. “When you can begin facing your deeper feelings, being present with where you are at and feeling it, rather than running away from it by seeking out sexual fantasy, than you can begin to start cultivating pleasure out of where you are at!!”
I have been confused by this, but last night while soaking in the tub I may have experienced a revelation. While sitting there in the nude- I noticed that deep down were feelings are felt I was experiencing discomfort. My innate reaction was to reach for my penis and create a feeling of forced pleasure. But rather than masturbating I decided to just sit with my discomfort, to be present with it rather than run away into fantasy. Everything started to come up- all my months of dissatisfaction and failure. There I was naked in front of it. Now I was able to start to process all this heavy baggage that was beginning to cause me real physical discomfort in my body.
And then just today while sitting in front of my computer staring at a brunette who has sticking her index finger up her vagina and smiling for the camera, I got it. Seek out pleasure from suffering. This means- be present with my discomfort and learn how to transform it into pleasure rather than run from it and go shopping or look at pornography (or whatever my means of escape may be). Just be with the pain…..feel the pain.
So I have been doing this all day and have now broken out into a rash and have a slight fever. My wife says that something is coming out of me that seems to have been stuck deep down for a long time. She has been bringing me hot water and lemon and warm soup. I look at her and smile and realize that there may be a possiblity that I can learn to really make love to my wife. Last time she brought me hot water I thanked her and said “do not worry, sweetheart- I am only in the midst of a slight predicament.”