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"Sukh & Dukh, Pain and Pleasure, Which is Best? "

Updated: Jul 25, 2022


This is one of the hardest concepts to understand and to put into fruition. Attachment and detachment, in Hindi it is called Sukh and Dukh, pain and pleasure.

We would all agree that Dukh, pain and suffering are not good, but what about Sukh? Pleasure? Why is that bad?

This may be one of the hardest dichotomies that exist within ourselves but it is also one of the more important.

Why do I bring this up today? It's because it has come up in my own life recently and it surprised me!

I have been very aware of the suffering aspect of life and I have been doing a pretty good job at placing all aspects of suffering aside, well…. I'm not perfect but I have been working on it! But Sukh? Pleasure? I thought I had been working at this as well…but have I? Lately, it has found its way into my life and I recognize it as something that may create suffering as is its purpose unless we have a better understanding of it!

How do we experience pleasure without attachment? Many of you will ask why it is important to detach from pleasure? Good question, but it is no different from pain. It will make you think and ponder and dream, and pray and attach yourself to an outcome! It can steal the peace you have within by yearnings for more! Is it human nature? It is, but it's attached to our lower chakras. If understood properly, we can elevate that energy and bring it into our upper chakras! Understanding this important difference makes it a spiritual experience rather than one of the lower physical experiences. This does not mean we can not have joy and experience pleasure!!! But it's tricky! Let’s explore!

I have been blessed to have experienced great suffering as well as great pleasure. Both have left me with thoughts and emotions that ran amok! I had no ability to control either. Both need to be controlled and when we do that then an experience that transcends both of these arises in a way that one can not imagine, and it is born of faith.

Sukh and Dukh, are necessary for spiritual growth. I am fixating on Sukh, pleasure, for now since the concept of Dukh, pain, is more obvious (not really :)).

Pleasure, once you experience it on any level, you will instantly want to recreate it, have it exist forever, and never let it end. Most moments will and can not be reproduced and because of that, they will create pain and a feeling of mourning. In relationships even arguments and discourse. So, what to do?

I have been taking all the pleasurable moments of my life and stringing them together and creating an image of the life I have lived. It’s been lovely. I know in retrospect that If I held onto any of these moments too tightly I may have suffocated them, and they would have turned into a painful experience, rather than a pleasurable experience.

When I was younger, a very long time ago! I used to attach myself to both Sukh and Dukh. I did a very fine job of this! I also experienced suffering from both as well. Through a lot of work, I was able to distance myself from the suffering, Dukh, and that was good…. But what I believe I have been doing is not experiencing Sukh! I was not aware of this! I suppose this was an easy solution to not having to deal with it, although it may have introduced itself back into my life, so this is a good time to explore it.

Pleasure without awareness will always bring pain, until we can disassociate with the experience and allow it to exist in the present and try not to recreate it, or hold on to it, to suffocate it. Let it live and breathe without attachment. If it is to continue and bless your life then it will do so by its own fruition, all you need do is smile upon it and thank the Lord above for the blessing of its existence. If it leaves, then we should also thank the Lord above for the blessing of its existence. There is no difference.

Many of you won't like this, and may vehemently disagree, which of course is fine and welcome. But the thing that I know now is that what comes my way, be it pain or pleasure will bring amazing learning experiences as long as I can look at them as transient and separate from my true self. They come as gifts and great opportunities. Let them be, know that they are not of you, and you can decide what you want of them. They come to us so we can find our way to the space between the experiences, a special place that is not born of wanting, searching, needing, dreaming. It is pure bliss and a gift, albeit a tricky gift, but both bring great promise for a life well lived. It is called faith.

Faith is understanding that what we need will be brought to us in both of these disguises, and what stays without effort and with joy, should be looked upon as the Sun that rises every morning, and sets every evening. it is beautiful, it is a blessing, and it will continue for all days through storm and cold and sunshine, regardless of your efforts, regardless of your yearnings, regardless of Sukh and Dukh!

“He who binds to himself a Joy,

Does the winged life destroy;

He who kisses the Joy as it flies,

Lives in Eternity’s sunrise.”

-William Blake

Let Go and Let God


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