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The addiction to pleasure

Unless I understand addiction, I will never understand my own body.

October 2010

I am addicted to Reiki - and to a good many other things. Addiction is blood pusher number 1 in human life. Everything I have to repeat is an addiction, beginning with breathing. I am designed to run on pleasure. I live for it. Feelings of pleasure are pure energy, in other words a simple chemical reaction.

Each pleasurable feeling continuously restricts my freedom. The memory of a wonderful experience will drive me into similar patterns when I find similar situations. My personality narrows down. Every decision leading to success brands in and gives rise to my next decision.

Is addiction morbid? Or is it something very natural? If someone is addicted to alcohol or drugs, it is generally referred to as a disease. But does the object of addiction decide whether a behavior is »abnormal«?

The object as such is very important to addiction. Ironically, a different person, an external object, an external situation is connected with the feeling of pleasure. Yet the feeling itself is created entirely from within, unless the chemistry would be supplied from the outside. Whenever an external factor becomes a condition of happiness it is a sign of addiction.

And the dynamics are really simple. When a feeling of pleasure is created in a certain situation, the subconscious mind begins to analyze the situation. There was this person present. There was Santana on the radio. A bottle of red wine was open on the table. We have been on the beach in Indonesia. From that moment on just listening to Santana or seeing a bottle of red wine will create a good feeling. And to feel pleasure I will also need this person. Of course next vacation is to Indonesia again. If the feeling was generated while winning the championship or standing at the summit of Mount Everest or K2 things will become more complicated. The threshold for a further reward then is incredibly high. Brain researchers call it the »law of associative memory«. An experience gets an emotional charge. Allergies follow the same principle, just the connotations are negative.

The brain builds up all its concepts by this law of associative memory - ideas, thoughts and feelings. The concept and feeling of love for example can be connected to disappointment. Some people experience the memory of pain, sorrow, anger, and even rage when they think about love. Rage may be linked to hurt, which maybe linked to a specific person which is then connected back to love.

Without evaluation or proper judgment all this is simply stored. The idea that my bodymind is first and foremost a radio station with an attached chemical plant, is not particularly edifying. Presumably it is accurate. There are wireless (light) and cabled (nerve, blood, lymph) receivers, broadcasting stations, conductors and warehouses for all the signals. The electrical (conducting) and chemical (dissociating) properties of water are crucial for the body fluids. The perception of thoughts, the spiritual and mental power, what the mind wants is only the result of electrical and chemical processes, a share of one's own reality.

Every new experience becomes a memory. Neuronal connections and circuits are built in the brain. In creation they release chemicals that produce a particular feeling. Thus, every experience has an emotion and a feeling as end product. This is necessary for remembering my experience. For this reason I will also repeat new experiences - physically or in my mind. So they imprint themselves better. The learning process of life is primarily an act of building new connections in the brain, and memory is used to keep the connection intact.

To give the bodymind its drive certain peptides play an important role, the chemical components just mentined above, and they are produced by the hypothalamus. They create the feeling of pleasure, the feeling of happiness, the feeling of orgasm. Which bodymind would ever join in this life on earth, if there would not have been this feeling, at least? Which soul would have craved for the experience of consciousness, if there would not be a kick at least? It seems that nature (or God) have set this all up with a certain intention. Survival should be rewarded. If I could escape from the tiger, if I could knock down my enemy, when reproducing, then I was rewarded. It is not without reason that pleasure is associated with the sexual chakra (as well as the pathological counterpart - which is frustration). It was rewarded to live life, to be determined to survive, to experience consciousness, to collect this experience for the whole universe.

However, when frustration takes over the desire for reward and pleasure remain unsatisfied. The cells are yelling up to the brain, because their chemical needs are not met. The man is depressed, confused, or he suffers. The mind seeks for other situations then to start the rewarding process. Other neuronal connections may be established, that even bad situations could be interpreted as good enough and be connected to a good feeling to fire up the reward system. So basic is the neediness for pleasure.

There are people who have to eat under stress. This is addiction! This is self-sabotage! Because stress has to do with perceived danger to life! No normal person would sit there and cram with food in order to make oneself heavy, slow and inflexible. Of course, the consciousness of not fighting, of not taking to flight (it is actually a lack of courage or anger at oneself) has to manifest on the physical level, so in repetitions it may be experienced even better. The person continues to increase body weight and body sluggishness. This also hinders the removal of waste. True to its motto: If the slag is already here, why not keeping it? If somebody wants to become slim again, he must make himself addicted to 65 kg of body weight. He must feel the pleasure, how it feels to float with an ease up the mountain, how it feels to be admired for his body shape. The brain will then change the chemistry and establish different neuronal connections. The same principle is used in mental training. The mind creates pleasurable and vivid emotions, and these are being connected to the desired state of being.

If I have to buy beautiful or ugly clothes, or clothes my idol is wearing - all is addiction. What a feeling to reconfirm my poor self image again and again? Unhealthy addiction can reach a state of allowing the self being exploited, even tortured and abused. This is also the deep reason why partners in a destructive relationship - when they are able to separate and find a new partner - they often also find themselves in a similar destructive relation.

Even the much vaunted love often is nothing more than an addiction, unless it would be unconditional. But if I need my partner to flip the switch, to jumpstart my chemical plant, then this is a condition. If my partner no longer complies, then also all the love is gone and I have to acknowledge my partnership was just an addiction, which one day was no longer satisfied.

People that I love are usually willing to share my emotional needs, whatever they are: sexual, victimized, power or control. If I do not feel worthy I need the emotion to make me feel worthy. I can become addicted to anger or to starvation. To be in love can just mean to be in love with the anticipation of the emotion I am addicted to.

Dr. Joe Dispenza describes in the movie »Down the Rabbit Hole« an experiment with laboratory animals. They hooked up electrodes in certain parts of their brain, that produce those neuropeptides, and the animals were trained to press a lever to get that chemical release. The animal would choose that neuropeptide release more than hunger, more than sex, more than thirst, more than sleep. It went to the point of physical exhaustion and collapsed before it would take care of itself physically.

Each emotion can become an addiction, and so it is easy to imagine that a person could become addicted to stress, the person cannot change the jobs, cannot give up the relationship, cannot take care about his needs. If I cannot control my emotional state then I am addicted to it. I have to create situations which are able to satisfy this emotional state - my chemical needs.

The deep immersion in my own feelings of a certain experience creates the risk that the feelings become the means of my thinking. If my feelings determine my thinking I will only live from the past, because my feelings are associated to some past event. If I determine my future based on my feelings I will therefore recreate my past. I will recreate what I am already wired to. If all I know is victimization then I will revive it. That's all I know.

In order to create a new future, I have to leave the feelings of the past behind. If I am able to do that, I will break the associations; the neurological network can disperse the components, and a new experience can take place. This is the greatest challenge for every living being.

Thalamus Hypothalamus Pituitary Gland
Thalamus (green) - Hypothalamus (red) - Pituitary Gland (blue)
Content by © BodyParts3D/Anatomography
licensed under CC-BY-SA-2.1-jp

In Vedic physiology the hypothalamus is connected with Chandra (the moon). Its characteristics are similar to those of a mother or queen, female qualities of maintaining the status quo in the body. It controls the nurturing behavior, body temperature, reproductive behavior and hormonal cycles with different frequencies, e.g. the menstrual cycle of women. It is the principal regulator for all body functions, like heart rate, blood pressure, hunger, thirst, osmotic pressure, sexual hormones, stress hormones, immune responses, and autonomic (involuntary) nervous system. The hypothalamus has control over every endocrine gland in the body. It is located right below the thalamus at the center of the brain, next to the pituitary gland (hypophysis). The hypothalamus is like a little mini factory that assembles certain chemicals that match the emotional state I experience. Those particular chemicals are called peptides, basically small chain proteins or amino acids. There are assembled neuropeptides for example for anger, sadness, victimization, or lust. When I experience a certain emotional state in my body or mind, the hypothalamus will immediately assemble the corresponding peptide and releases it through the pituitary gland into the bloodstream. From there it finds its way to different parts of the body.

Every cell in the body has certain receptors on the outside waiting for corresponding peptides to appear. When a peptide docks on, it is like a key going into a lock, and while it is there it will send its signal into the cell and even change the cell. The signal can set off a whole cascade of biochemical events and may even change the nucleus of the cell, so that after cell division the new cells will be of different anatomy, physiology and consciousness. At the expense of receptors for nutrients, vitamins, minerals, fluid replacement or removal of waste products could for example more receptors for the specific emotion be found on the surface. The new cell will be of inferior quality. Aging is the result of emotional abuse.

Most people do not know that they are addicted to their emotions. We are addicted, because we never had anything better to replace what we are addicted to. Starting from the neuronet, this replacement would change my attitude, my interaction with the environment, my strategies, and my body chemistry. It would change my identity.

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