In The Skills of Pleasure, Stewart Blackburn reminds us that life is a Great Adventure and teaches us how to fully jump on board. He helps us explore who we are by exploring our greatest pleasures: what makes us excited, happy and joyful.
First, the author helps us “Lay the Foundation for Pleasure” by explaining what may be holding us back. Then, he teaches us seven skills, from Awareness, Permission and Savoring, to Developing a Pleasure Strategy.
In each chapter, Stewart offers wonderful exercises and meditations that help lead you to who you are, and show you what brings you joy and what doesn’t. For instance, he takes you on a guided visualization into your inner garden, a meditation you can use over and over again whenever you want your outer life to match your inner desires.
The result? You learn to keep the focus on where the pleasure is, an unerring way to lead you to what you really want in life, and the recipe for bliss.
Stewart Blackburn is currently finishing up a Doctoral Degree in Consciousness Studies, and uses pleasure as his primary healing tool, having helped hundreds of people with his teachings. He credits three primary influences on his practice: Tantra, Shamanism, and Chocolate. He teaches classes in Huna, a form of Hawaiian shamanism, and other courses related to pleasure and self-empowerment. The Pleasure Journal is a free monthly newsletter he offers at www.stewartblackburn.com.
Here, Stewart answers my questions about his writing…
1) What is the underlying message of your book? A) that our own happiness is not something to be found, but something that we can create, b) that by paying attention to our pleasures, of all kinds, and practicing the skills involved with pleasure, we can develop increasing levels of life mastery, and c) that it really isn’t that hard to become gloriously happy if we understand the nature and power of pleasure.
2) What inspired you to write the book? Once I started to become aware of the incredible power of the mind, I kept noticing that most of the people I encountered were not only not happy, but they were unhappy primarily because they didn’t understand how they were making themselves miserable. I was motivated to dig deeper and see what I could possibly do to change that. Developing and teaching The Skills of Pleasure is my way of contributing to the well-being of the world.
3) What do you hope readers will take away from your book? A profound sense of empowerment, that they now have effective tools and skills to use for increasing their own levels of joy and pleasure.
4) Where do you find your inspiration? I play in my garden because it brings me great joy. I connect with people, both friends and strangers, because it’s fun. I meditate for the sheer pleasure of it. And I cook and eat great food because the sensuous creativity is both delicious and sacred.
5) Any advice for others who feel they have inspiration to share? I am reminded of one of the things that Sir Francis Chichester said after becoming the first person to sail single-handedly around the world along the Clipper Route when asked why he did it.”One does these things because one has a certain nature. One cannot get away from fate. If a person does not fulfill his nature, he will lead a frustrated life and be unhappy. If it involves him in fear, he will just have to put up with it.”
I feel that writing inspirational works is an important expression of who I am, and that for all of us just by being who we are, without reservation or timidity, is the real inspiration we have to offer.