ConditioningIt seems that pleasure in the brain is all about conditioning.
The practice of mindfulness reconditions our minds to receive pleasure from the normal everyday parts of our lives by paying greater attention to them. You basically tell your mind, "Look. This is worth paying attention to. It is not the boring ob
I think it's logical to assume that ignoring these simple sources to the profit of more unusual sensations can lead to spiraling: a neverending seek for even more pleasure. Or, if that can't be fulfilled, to ever-increasing insatisfaction.
The problem with mindfulness I have most of the time is, my head keeps telling me "Alright, this sunset/sunrise is fine. But why should I seek pleasure from this in the first place? What is pleasure supposed to be to me? Why should even that mean anything"
Going from that, I'm thinking that some part of my brain was conditioned to think pleasure itself is invalid. That it's to be avoided somehow. All the pleasure I seem to find is mostly accidental... so I suppose somewhere, I learned that "It's OK to have fun as long as I don't make it the main focus of my day. It's perfectly alright for me to be happy as long as I don't think it's too important."
That would sound exactly like the feelings I have left of my schooldays. Had to keep the pace (when I wanted to run ahead); keep focused (when my curiosity was seeking what would give me most satisfaction); give exactly the answers that were expected, and no more (expounding was frowned upon). I remember this clearly from a day in sixth grade my brain tells me was pretty representative of school in general.
Basically I learned that I'm not allowed to have fun until I learn to do things the way everyone else wants them.
Which is pretty much what was reinforced at home by the style of parenting I was subjected to. I wasn't allowed to feel accomplished about anything until it was done exactly so. There was always some kind of improvement that could be brought to whatever I was doing.
The result: as an adult, my real talent is .... systems optimization. Finding solutions and improvements where people don't see them. Finding correlations in things that don't seem to go together. I used to be a perfectionist until I got therapy for that. (!) So my brain complied, in a way.
Except the way I go about finding these solutions and tying things together, nobody usually agrees with! In social situations, I make observations that people think are grabbed out of a hat until I explain what made me see it. And it's most always something far off, but ends up making sense. (Like this post and my others would, if you knew me well enough.)
So that part of me that enjoys doing things differently because that's who I am, is still there.
This is my avenue out of boredom somehow. Doing things unconventionally in spite of everyone. Depicting things that make no sense until I can make people see the sense in them.
My question now is, what's the direct counteraction to conditioning like this?
How do I break an old chain like this... An old belief.
Something tells me, if I can reason my way out of this one, my brain chemistry might follow (because the reasoned answer will always be available to fall back upon in the process of trying to create new habits).
My roommate happens to be a therapist. He has a ton of friends who are therapists as well. I think I will be asking some very pointy questions in the near future, and see what I get from there.
Going to the root of the problem may not solve it for everyone but if it can push someone to give themselves a long hard look in the hopes of escaping this crap..... Heck, I'll be glad I've posted.