When we find ourselves in a state of ecstasy, we want it to become the new normal. Of course, new and normal are opposites. As soon as the novelty turns into a routine, the ecstasy disappears. The first time was a happy accident, but now we’re unhappy until we get to repeat what can’t be planned. A vicious cycle begins, and one day, years later, we scratch our heads, wondering how we ended up on this witch hunt for something we weren’t looking for to begin with.
Hedonism’s sneakiest trick, however, is when ecstasy doesn’t make us ecstatic at all. It might be a moment of serenity while overlooking the mountains at dawn, or a wave of gratitude for a privileged dining experience. “I should feel this more often.” Unfortunately, the path to more good feelings is rarely more of the same.
It is a rare commodity, the ability to stop eating before you’re full. But it is a skill you can learn. Drain the bath before the water gets cold. Let the fading tide expose your skin to the air. Inch by inch, you’ll return to your non-elevated state. Grounding, I hear it’s called.
That’s where we must return. The ground. One day it’ll be in a box, but until then, let’s practice it many times over – first with our feet and then with our minds – so the only ones left wanting in the cold will be the fallen angels of pleasure in excess.