On the one hand, there is a way of being so anxious about physical pleasure, so afraid that you won’t make it, that you grab it too hard. You just have to have that thing. And if you do that, you destroy it completely. Therefore, after every attempt to get it you feel disappointed. You feel empty, you feel something was lost. And therefore you want it again. You have to keep repeating, repeating, repeating because you never really got there. And it’s this which is the hangup, this is what’s meant by attachment to this world, in an evil sense.

But on the other hand, pleasure in its fullness cannot be experienced when one is grasping it. I knew a little girl, to whom someone gave a bunny rabbit. She was so delighted with the bunny rabbit, and so afraid of losing it, that taking it home in the car she squeezed it to death with love. And lots of parents do that to their children. And lots of spouses do it to each other. They hold on too hard and so take the life out of this transient, beautifully fragile thing that life is. To have it, to have life, and to have its pleasure, you must at the same time let go of it. And then, you can feel perfectly free to have that pleasure in the most gutsy, rollicking, earthy, lip licking way. Whilst whole being taken over by a kind of undulative, convulsive ripple, which is like the very pulse of life itself. This can happen only if you let go.
-Alan Watts

On the one hand…


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