02.44: Chemical highs cheat us of spiritual highs
All material pleasures are essentially chemical highs. Whenever we perceive any attractive objects with our senses, the corresponding sensory mechanisms secrete certain chemicals. This increased chemical secretion gives us a temporary titillation that we mistake to be enjoyment. As our bodily capacity to secrete any chemical is limited, the enjoyment that we can ever get from any chemical high is inescapably limited.
On the other hand, spiritual happiness exists in a realm far beyond chemical secretions; it depends on the connection of love between the eternal soul and the eternal Supersoul, Krishna. This connection, being spiritual and eternal, floods us with a happiness that is free from the limits of matter and time.
We may wonder, are spiritual joys too not chemical phenomena? They are, but they are also much more. As long we are embodied, all our emotions will generally correspond with a chemical expression in the body. However, spiritual emotions, unlike material emotions, are not limited by the secretory capacity of the body and can continue even when the secretory capacity is exhausted. That’s why we can experience spiritual happiness by loving remembrance of Krishna in the most adverse of material circumstances – like severe bodily pain or the last stages of terminal disease – when no chemical secretion and material enjoyment are possible.
The Bhagavad-gita (2.44) indicates that those addicted to material pleasures just can’t have the freedom of consciousness necessary to achieve and relish spiritual absorption. Phrased in chemical parlance, this verse means that, the more we delight in chemical highs, the more our consciousness gets riveted to our material body which secretes these chemicals and becomes incapable of experiencing nonmaterial or spiritual emotions.
When we understand this mutual exclusivity of material and spiritual pleasures, then we can forego the fleeting chemical highs for the everlasting spiritual highs.