Pleasure or Pain
(Workbook Page 43)
Pleasure and pain appear to be completely opposite concepts. There are times when seemingly painful experiences can give us great pleasure. On the other hand pleasurable experiences can have painful aspects. If something is painful, yet valuable than the pain is acceptable. An example would be the pain of a good workout yielding to the pleasure of attaining a goal of being fit. Childbirth is one of the most painful experiences that anyone can have, yet the reward of having a child is well worth the pain. When that very child leaves for college it is often a bittersweet moment, leading to painful experience of loss and emptiness.
The person with persistent pain, due to no conscious decision of their own, suffers in vein. The choice wasn’t theirs and the pain feels completely negative. This pain takes over a person’s life and robs people of pleasurable experience. Under these circumstances pleasure and pain do not exist simultaneously. We have choices to either reframe persistent pain differently to find something valuable from the experience or to replace pain with pleasurable experiences to rewire the brain away from persistent pain. Triumphing over that pain can be strengthening, defining, fortifying and transformational.
Look at the Graphic on page 43 of the Neuroplastic Transformation workbook. It shows the Orbital Frontal Cortex and many of it’s important functions. This is the area located above the eyes and is most highly developed in human beings. We use it to relate to other people with empathy and understanding, because it is here that we evaluate whether an experience is pleasurable or not. The primary directive of survival is to avoid pain and pursue pleasure and it is the two way circuit between the Orbital Frontal Cortex and the Amygdala and Hippocampus that allows us to do so.