Time to think…about pleasure

“Whenever you get an impression of some pleasure, as with any impression, guard yourself from being carried away by it, let it await your action, give yourself a pause. After that, bring to mind both times, first when you have enjoyed the pleasure and later when you will regret it and hate yourself. Then compare to those the joy and satisfaction you’d feel for abstaining altogether.

 

However, if a seemingly appropriate time arises to act on it, don’t be overcome by its comfort, pleasantness, and allure – but against all of this, how much better the consciousness of conquering it.”

 

Epictetus, Enchiridion.

‘Give yourself a pause’. Take the time to step back from the temptation. Create some space – both physical space and ‘headspace’. If you can see the likely course of events (the consequences) – much like seeing a wide river channelling into a waterfall – then plan when you should take action to get out of the current before it becomes an overwhelming torrent. Your premeditated plan is made up of ‘if, then…’ statements. Make them prominent; mentally rehearse them while the waters are flowing gently. Then be ready to put them into action when the time is right.