I have become enamored recently with a book titled “I Am That”, a collection of talks with the twentieth century sage Sri Nisargadatta Maharaja. His awakening or enlightenment came after three years of meditating and contemplating “I am” or “Aham” in Sanskrit. Here is a beautiful passage from the book about working skillfully with with pleasure and pain on the yogic path. It is not pleasure and pain that cause suffering, but our attachment and aversion to them respectively. This passage elucidates that insight perfectly.
“What is wrong with seeking the pleasant and shirking the unpleasant? Between the banks of pleasure and pain, the river of life flows. It is only when the mind refuses to flow with life, and gets stuck at the banks, that it becomes a problem. By flowing with life I mean acceptance– letting come what comes, and go what goes.”
To view the full chapter from which this is excerpted, click on this link, I Am That, and scroll down to “The Living Present”.