We all live in a world full of incredible pleasure. Yet many of us don't feel as if we are getting enough pleasure from our life. Many of us are working, raising families, having relationships and taking care of other responsibilities that tend to give us less time for ourselves and our unique pleasures.
You see, as a counselor for more than 30 years, I see people drained from pleasure regularly. They might call it burnout, sadness or say they are just not enjoying their life.
I want to discuss a world that many find as pleasure zones. Even if you have never had any significant spiritual leanings, I think this would be important to understand for the sake of understanding others better. Various pleasure zones are one of the very important things that make us amazing humans. As human beings we are as different and unique as the entire animal kingdom.
There are various types of zones in which people find their primary sources of joy. For example, there are soul pleasure zones, power pleasure zones and so forth. I break down each one in my book, The Power of Pleasure. This article is specifically talking about the spiritual pleasure zones.
Spiritual pleasure zones are real. Like all the pleasure zones, billions of dollars are spent on spiritual development, worship centers and organizations promoting spiritual beliefs as broad as the oceans. In this article, I'm going to explain three types of spiritual pleasure zones.
There is an absolute joy in meditation; your mind is clear, your body is still; the only thing moving is your heart and lungs. When you are still, it's as if you can feel the world slowly move within your own stillness.
Meditation is sweet, intoxicating and "wowing" to those whose primary pleasure zone is meditation. I know a woman who has a special room in her very large house that is just for meditating. She assumes a comfortable position and all of life stops around her. She is with the silence of her wonderful self.
For some, meditation is absolutely a cleansing phenomenon. They blank all thoughts out and just cleanse themselves from the world around them. In that moment, they are as focused as a downhill skier or mountain biker. They are totally lost in meditation.
For others they have a form of meditation that may include thoughts or music. They also get in a comfortable position. They focus on an idea, spiritual thought or issue. They meditate as a way to achieve clarity about an issue. They might use the back porch, the hammock or a quiet space somewhere.
Some intentionally utilize meditation in their life for others; they wouldn't quite call it meditation. I know of a man who, when he comes home from work and before he really engages in all the joys of parenting, marriage, homework and housework, he slips off to his hammock in the backyard. He lies there for 15 to 30 minutes and just feels the hammock's slow movement as he experiences tranquility. He feels refreshed and is now able to give of himself to his family. He doesn't call it meditation; he calls it escaping, but he enjoys it like a cold drink on a summer's day.
I see some of these meditators on the plane regularly. They have their headsets, and they are off to a meditative place. They are not sleeping; they are clearing or connecting in a meditative state.
To those whose primary pleasure zone is meditation, this pleasure will need to be met quite regularly. This is the way you feel pleasure and feel centered in your surroundings and the world.
To those of you in a primary relationship with primary meditators, celebrate this. These moments of alone time give them the recharging they need to give of themselves to you and the demands of life.
Prayer is a pleasure zone distinctly different from that of meditation. Prayer is an active talking aloud process and active listening process. Prayer, unlike meditation, has a deity focus. This deity focus is unique to prayer.
Prayer is based on a spiritual or religious belief in a deity. Now these distinctions are important. The spiritual belief in a deity is relational. There is some interaction process between the deity and the one who is praying. The one who is praying is offering a communication of their self to the deity. They are friends in an unequal relationship, much like having a wealthy uncle, grandfather or mother. They like you for who you are; they can see the unrefined spots in your life but love you, and they have the resources to support your growth.
The religious have more of an object relationship with a deity. Often this deity has the resources but must be pleased by a performance or litany of statements, and the religious are often more formal in the way they approach this deity. The pleasure is in checking off the box or doing a right spiritual act as opposed to engaging or being engaged in a relationship.
Praying can be extremely pleasurable. Opening your heart to a deity can be incredible, engaging, cleansing and empowering. Praying for others whether they are people you know well or don't know at all can also be a pleasurable experience for those who are created in this way.
I know some people who call themselves intercessors. They receive real pleasure pouring themselves out on the behalf of others. When they are done, they report intense pleasure spiritually, emotionally and physically as they pray.
The praying pleasure-zone person is going to need the time to pursue their pleasure like many of the other pleasure zones. Their praying allows them to feel connected to their deity as well as to those around them. For the primary pleasure zones of prayer, they feel awesome knowing that they have brought those they love to the deity on a regular basis.
If you are in a significant relationship or marriage to a praying pleasure-zone person, engage that person on this level. Ask questions about this person's prayer experiences, give that person real concerns to pray for about your life and that person will feel honored and valued.
The serving pleasure zone also has a deity or cause focus. This person receives pleasure advancing their spiritual beliefs or causes. The beliefs are not the issue; the pleasure that they receive in advancing them is very important.
This person receives pleasure in teaching these beliefs to the young, their peers and even those outside of the fold of their beliefs. This may take place in a local community of similar believers or in serving in some broader manner to help get out the news of their beliefs.
Often this server will not just stop at personal time, but will often be a contributor in the cause as well. They work and give a percentage of their income to forward the cause locally, nationally or globally.
They feel pleasure when serving. They really like volunteering for service within this belief structure. They have a need to be a part of something bigger than them. Again, if you are in a relationship with a server, celebrate this. They will take time and money from their life to serve, but when they come back from giving, they are usually charged up about their own life and their life with you.
Hopefully this helps you better recognize your spiritual pleasure zones as well as those of your friends and loved ones. I want you to experience the pleasure of knowing and utilizing these spiritual pleasure zones to the fullest.
Doug Weiss, Ph.D., is a nationally known author, speaker and licensed psychologist. He is the executive director of Heart to Heart Counseling Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and the author of several books, including The Power of Pleasure. You may contact Dr. Weiss via his website, drdougweiss.com; on hisFacebook; by phone at 719-278-3708 or through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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