Right Brain’s Way: Chapter 8: Notice the childish features of your addiction.

A Right-Brain acknowledgment is related to an emotional state in which you can recognize something as familiar through your feelings. In this sense we may say that through the Right-Brain we understand things in a way we cannot fully explain.

Indeed, many time the only way an individual can connect to the deep wisdom of the Right-Brain begins with a readiness to keep on listening to information that may "sound interesting" or better yet to a "story" that is intriguing for no particular reason, even if the total impression from the whole input is that we poorly understand what we are being told.

The Right-Brain has its own ways connecting and exerting its influence. Many times we must do some temporary tricks that will soften the usual resistance coming from the Left-Brain, especially when we have to deal with what we cannot fully explain but must have enough reason to keep on sustaining interest in it.

When you go to the movie theater, you usually have no prior goal to fully understand the film you are about to watch. You sit there in the dark among other people eating popcorn and none of you expect a detailed explanation of what is about to happen.

Almost miraculously, you need only a few minutes to get into the story and feel as if you are an integrated part of what is going on there, "inside the screen." We come to the cinema in order to get excited and not to try to put much sense into everything we witness. This is a part of the beauty of the experience of watching movies.

Although our Left-Brain does demand to have some basic understanding of the plot, at least during the time of the movie it lets itself rest and allows us to get carried away with a combination of fantasy, imagination and emotional experience. This is part of the well-established "rules of the game" as far as seeing a movie is concerned.

My suggestion for you is to try to expand this allowance range and let yourself approach more issues and information through a temporary state of mind that lets understanding come later while you let yourself just observe and get as emotionally involved as possible.

So many times we find it beneficial to let some poorly understood aspects of a story or event remain as they are until they begin to make sense later. Eventually, they fill in a part of the big "puzzle." Imagine how many interesting things you can miss or lose if you insist on understanding everything completely.

Yes, it can be intimidating to stay somewhere you feel like you can’t commute to "safely." We are trained to operate in "clear zones" where the landscape is not blurred and we know where we are headed. At least this is the story we usually try to tell ourselves.

Yet, reality proves, time and time again, that what we seem to realize and understand is only a fraction of what is truly going on. The unexpected aspect of life is always a possibility we must face and be ready for. Yet, the more you train yourself to a more Right-Brain mode of examining what you are receiving, the less anxious and more ready you will become to handle surprises more creatively and effectively.

Furthermore, when the information we would like to discuss is related to early childhood experiences, it is clear that it will not be effective to try and understand everything completely, at first. If for whatever reason you would like to connect to the child you were many years ago, you must realize that back then you couldn't understand much. All you could do was explore your reality through your feelings and then construct a primitive basic explanation of what impressed you.

When we want to sort out the most important elements and the roots of our tendency to become addicted to problems, we have no alternative than to make some short "visits" into our past and take a look at what was and still is having a substantial impact on the way we tend to handle some of our challenges. The best way is through a Right-Brain kind of listening that allows a "cinema-like" event to take place. That is ― to be able to become emotionally involved in a story despite its many incomplete pieces of information (do you know how many gaps of information are glossed over when we see a movie? It doesn't bother us though because our emotional interest manages to cover so many things when it looks for its excitement).

The story of the child that later developed a tendency for an addiction to problems is quite simple and easy to grasp. However, the real use and implementation of this information in our quest to end addiction to problems goes far beyond this "mature understanding," that by itself barely contributes to a substantial change. The real shift happens when we manage to connect emotionally with the information. You may regard this as a central Right-Brain challenge: to get in touch, through your heart, with the childish truth you have been carrying all along.

As children, we require a whole set of basic needs to be met for our healthy development, including being fed on time, hugged, held, loved and reacted to when we ask for attention. As a rule, no parent can satisfy all babies' needs all the time, and many argue that to a certain extent this gap between what you need and what you get activates maturation of the ego and skills to later cope with life's disharmonies and demands. On the other hand, extreme deprivation of basic parental attention and care may lead, of course, to serious damage.

So the reality creates a life fact that we must all face very early on: our parents, who are everything for us at an early age, only partially satisfy our needs. There is no way to escape this situation. However, in the young child's eyes, there is no such thing as "acceptance of a non-perfect reality." The child, in its instinct to survive, learns quickly how to minimize the deficiency. And what draws parents to attend to their baby more than crying? What may alert the parents more than the thought of their child in pain?

So here is a basic model I would offer you to think about and reflect on for some time: In the face of our imperfect life, we have developed a tendency to unconsciously believe that repeating events where we witness pain will eventually grant us with pleasure (the same as the baby's joy when his parents finally approach him). Even if we do not really get reasonable attention from this experience, we are well trained, since infancy, to fantasize about a pleasure (which is never a real and productive pleasure).

I strongly believe that the masochistic addictive tendency to stay stuck with a problem is a kind of repetitive recreation of a situation where we force ourselves to connect to painful aspects like frustration, hopelessness and helplessness. At the same time, somewhere inside we fantasize that soon, since we have this pain, someone will come and give us all the love and care we need.

If as infants we came to realize that when we express pain we receive affectionate attention, we could have easily associated pain with pleasure. Following this paradigm, we will continue to seek for the promised pleasure, and so we turn to pain as the most effective stimulus. Furthermore, if we are talking about an infant's perception of pleasure, than we may assume that this may remain, in our mind, the grandest pleasure that not only satisfies but also is important for survival. As far as a baby is concerned, pleasure is a sensation of life and lack of pleasure is a sign of danger of extinction.

Given this background, all I want you to focus on is the possibility that your problems have stayed with you as a part of a primitive mechanism that copes with a partially satisfying world by gaining a sensation of pleasure through painful events. In this sense, in our fantasy, the recurrent pain is kind of a way to survive. Like babies, we have the ability to fantasize, so we don't have much of a problem continuing to fantasize about pleasure where it doesn't really exist.

The bottom line is that every chronic problem you may have is a reminder of the "hungry" baby inside you, who doesn’t quite receive the attention that it still calls for. The more you follow your Right-Brain’s rules and wisdom, the more you will learn and practice new ways of handling this "baby's needs" better. When you do so, you will be amazed to see how problems tend to simply "disappear."

When the child within is truly content, you will need less problems and pain in order to feed it with a fantasy of pleasure. You will learn to give the baby inside you what it really needs, the perfect "healthy food" that will keep it, in time, feeling cozy and safe. This is what we are doing this process for.

Ask the questions in order to generate the special mental energy that in time will become one of your major tools. Keep asking!

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