The pleasure one has from mastery over desires is greater than the pleasure of one who seeks to gratify all his desires. The latter will only attain one in a thousand of what he seeks and will be constantly frustrated. But a person who is master over his desires experiences great joy. Such a person has a double advantage over the hedonist. The hedonist will feel he is lacking a lot and suffers because of this. Moreover, he does not enjoy what he already has. His suffering due to what he is lacking does not allow him to feel joy with what he has.
On the other hand, the person who has mastered the art of not desiring what he is missing feels happy even though he might lack many things. Such a person is surrounded on all sides with happiness. He is happy with what he has already obtained in the past and he feels good about the future. Since he does not worry about the future, he constantly feels good.
(Chochmah Umussar, vol.2, pp.99; Gateway to Happiness, pp.354-5)
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Rabbi Zelig Pliskin is the author of 25 books with his specialty in mastering happiness and other positive inner resources.
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