Who ever lives looking for pleasure only, his senses uncontrolled, immoderate in his enjoyments, idle and weak, the tempter will certainly overcome him, as the wind blows down a weak tree.
Graceful, particularly in youth, is the tear of sympathy, and the heart that melts at the tale of woe; we should not permit ease and indulgence to contract our affections, and wrap us up in selfish enjoyment. But we should accustom ourselves to think of the distresses of human life, of the solitary cottage, the dying parent, and the weeping orphan. Nor ought we ever to sport with pain and distress in any of our amusements, or treat even the meanest insect with wanton cruelty.
It is impossible to remove all desires. But we have the ability to channel our desires from physical and material pleasures to spiritual endeavors... Someone who finds fulfillment in spiritual matters is not being deprived of pleasure. Rather he is gaining more pleasure than is possible in material matters.
Pleasure comes from obtaining what we feel we are lacking. We have the ability to choose our answer to the question, “What am I lacking right now?” Some people answer materialistically. It is wiser to choose to focus on your lack of spiritual accomplishments and then you can derive pleasure from meeting those needs.
In reality a major part of pleasure in obtaining things is overcoming the obstructions that stood in our way. Once we realize this, we will be able to decrease our desire for those things that are spiritually or physically harmful just by examining them objectively and seeing that we are not missing so much. At the same time, we can gain more pleasure from spiritual accomplishments by focusing on how much we are missing in this area and can feel the sense of accomplishment in overcoming the necessary difficulties.
We can learn to overcome temptations. The pleasure we derive from physical and material pleasures is to a great extent based on our own imagination. We subjectively build up our feeling of need for those phenomena by greatly exaggerating their inherent pleasure.