We as people have been built with a natural desire to enjoy pleasure. Pleasure has it’s place as a reward for what is deserved. For example any time you create something you’re proud of, and you receive praise for it, you genuinely are pleased and have a sense of accomplishment. Despite what may happen you can hold your head up high and you feel good about what you have done. Likewise if you work hard to provide for those you love you can feel good at the end of an exhausting day. Likewise if you help others in need you will also feel better about yourself.
Culture. The U.S. of A. is one of the wealthiest countries. We’ve been seduced by media and advertising… a propaganda of sorts. Our eyes are often shown things to deceive us into believing that we’ll be better off if we spend our livelihood on things that are perceived to have us enjoy life more fully. For instance a beer commercial will typically have a tropical beach experience, or some well dressed people in an environment they enjoy, or even the commercial that appeals to men of a barbecue with friends (of all advertisements a barbecue is the more likely reality.) But in all senses the ads are there to appeal to your subconscious, to appeal to your desire of self fulfillment. And it’s in everything from clothes, jewelry, movies, snacks, and electronics. What the beer commercials never show you is the drunken stupor of a person who’s had too much, or how some become real emotional and share personal details about their life, or even those who fall to core desires/emotions such as sexual desires or anger and violence. The point being is that we are constantly bombarded with an image of a life we desire but it’s always associated with something that will not accomplish it. The more we spend to have a happier life, the less fulfilled we really feel, and the more depressed and bored we become.
Value. Values is something many have lost in our modern culture. So many people have been lulled into just getting by, to being lazy, self centered, and ignorant. When we have our values right, life will have purpose, it will have meaning, we will know what will truly fulfills us.
Diligence. We start out in our childhood as selfish and self centered in nature. It is only by proper discipline that we can be broken from this self destructive path. And what becomes more important as we grow older is to be diligent in practicing self discipline.
Self Discipline. This is one of the most neglected things for us in the country we live in today because we are made way too comfortable, we are protected too much, basically . . . we are spoiled. The freedoms we experience were at the cost of others in a past that many are forgetting to remember. When times get hard so many times it is by friends and family that we are padded from the actual experience… it’s at their cost. Government assistance teaches us to invest in things that fail, to spend ourselves beyond what we are able because we won’t have to pay the price. The weak are living off the sweat of the diligent hard working entrepreneurs. And the weak will remain weak and the number of weak people will continue to grow… because it’s “easy” to be that way. The more hand outs that are given, the less drive people will have to survive and to succeed. That is why self discipline is of utmost importance… when each person becomes of age they must govern their daily habits in a way that will continually increase the blessings of their future and the futures of all those around them. Self discipline in the right things daily will help you sleep well at night, and the day that follows will feel amazing.
Substance Abuse. I once heard a young man tell me skate boarding was all he had, and that if he didn’t have that he’d be out doing drugs. Substance abuse doesn’t have to be drugs or alcohol, it can be anything we take too much of. Gluttony is a form of substance abuse. For the health of the mind, soul, and body their needs to be a balance of the good things we intake. Too much food effects the levels of chemicals throughout our bodies in negative ways which can lead to organ failure, artery clogging (heart attack/stroke), obesity, and the short term effect as either an upper or downer. Similarly the friends you keep around you the most will effect your soul, and habits. If your daily company consists of people who complain about their problems all the time, then this seeps into you and your mind will work on these negativities and your daily focus. Same with the habits of friends… bad habits (if you have not already set your heart and mind against them) will become your own. Drug/alcohol/pornography abuse sell you short. They give you an experience without having deserved/earned it. It is a corruption of purpose. The mind will naturally release (good) drugs, such as opiates, into your body when the time is right. Drug abuse forces the body to experience this feeling in a violation of purpose and condition. Drug addicts may have, and probably have, caused permanent damage. Addicts may also become dependent. Many people already know that withdrawal can be an awful experience that takes days… and that even after withdrawal the habitual tendencies may draw you back in to the vicious cycle. What most people don’t know is that in the cases of drugs/pornography you can severely damage your natural experience for your future. In the case of drugs you may not get the natural opiates for your life experiences because of the damage caused. In the case of pornography it will take away from the beauty of a pure experiential relationship. Your mind will become darkened by the images you’ve let into your mind. The mystery that once existed, and is such an important part of life’s experience in a pure relationship, fades away. Problems will arise in relationships and cause discord/friction/distance between you and your partner. It will take a lot to heal from any kind of substance abuse. The biggest problem is that the damages are so often not felt immediately, and the temporary pleasure is enough to induce us to form a habit. And over time the habit slowly corrupts the mind/soul/body till the damage is severe and we wonder how we got here. It is much like the story of the frog who sat in a kettle of water and didn’t realize that the water was slowly getting hotter and hotter until it cost him his life. So what it comes down to is this “Every little thing matters, it’s the small things that will reap our big future. So be watchful of your eyes, your ears, your mind, your friends, and even your own heart which would deceive you if you let it”.
Escapism. Escapism is the result of us living a day, or even a moment, outside of purpose. When we do not fulfill what we know to be right, to be true, to be love to all… then we are left lacking, we feel a void, and we as humans will escape into anything to replace the feeling that we would have had if we were living in the truth with purpose and self discipline. Desires have a place, do what is right, and do not sell yourself short.
Let me end this with a question to you. Outside of there being a God who has infinite value and created you in his image… What is the purpose in life, and where do our values and morality come from? If we are all here by chance of evolved slime… then I dare say these letters evolved on this page themselves.
I wish you all a victorious and blessed life, may the truth set you free!
Daniel P. Clark
“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.”
– Philippians 4:8,9