We often confuse pleasure with happiness. Pleasure is found outside of us and comes from contact with the senses. Happiness is found inside of us and comes from contact with the Self.
Pleasure supports our life when it leads to the realization of the magnificence of life. We can feel pleasure in seeing a sunset or feeling a breeze against our face. We can enjoy the gentleness and beauty of pleasure. Pleasure can lead us to the experience of our Self. But in many cases pleasure is unsupportive when it leads to desire, grasping and self-cherishing. In this case, pleasure is always transitory and fleeting and leads to exhaustion. Pleasure is generally ego-centric and limiting, strengthening our attachments and aversions.
The happiness which comes from long practice, will lead to the end of our suffering. It can feel difficult at first, requiring determination, discipline and steady wisdom and feel like poison, but, in the end it will become nectar because it will establish us in the serenity of our mind.
While pleasure is fleeting, happiness can become permanent. While pleasure can lead to misery, happiness leads to unity and connection to the source of intelligence and energy because it is predicated on connection to our Self, our Source, our Presence.
When we lead our lives consciously, we can examine our motivations and outcomes. We can determine if our thoughts, words and actions are seeking pleasure that is ego-centric, leading to attachment and aversion and a life of self-cherishing or are they seeking happiness that is centered, unified, compassionate and loving. This becomes the difference between a selfish, separate life, or a compassionate, connected life. This becomes the difference between a mind filled with addiction, grasping and monkeys or a mind filled with bliss, freedom and unity.