Desire shapes the brain faster than any other emotion and we can do anything we set our minds to when we understand how it works.
We all want, over and over, again. From breakfast to bed, all day long, we’re constantly in pursuit of our next objective. Sometimes we want what we can’t have, and we suffer for it. We clamor over worldly possessions, but they’re never enough. In short, misdirected desire creates suffering. We begin our path to self-mastery by first letting go of all the extra desire we carry around that’s negatively impacting our mental health.
Breeding ground for bad habits
The feeling we get when we’re learning something new, the heat of anticipation that burns in our solar plexus when we’re wanting, that’s dopamine, a neurotransmitter that fuels brain growth.
We’re wired to become good at getting what we want. It’s been this way from the beginning. Consider our Paleolithic ancestors craving woolly mammoth for their upcoming holiday feast. Well, with the help of a little dopamine those caveman brains will be molded into those of master woolly mammoth hunters.
In today’s world, what we want is a click away or right around the corner. The proximity of the objects we desire, the ease at which we obtain them, and the endless variety of such objects have made for a bad habit breeding ground.
The brain’s dopamine pump isn’t to blame for our present-day pursuits and pleasures. It only activates when our attention is drawn to something attractive. There’s no judgment or discrimination deep in the limbic system. It’s a snakelike, primitive relic of our ancient past, and we become what we choose to feed it.
How’s your brain shaped?
The chunk of meat between our ears is shaped and grows according to our desire.
Brains are as different as fingerprints, a little larger here, a bit shorter there. The primary factor that shapes the brain and how it functions is learning. Therapy helps us unlearn things about ourselves that we’d like to change. When we unlearn our bad habits, then we discover a boundless energy that can be invested in other pursuits. This is because our dopamine reserve is full when desire becomes more restrained.
Desire shapes the brain faster than any other emotion and we can do anything we set our minds to when: 1) we understand how it works; 2) and stop doing the things that are working against us.