This is where some science comes in… it is the newest neuroscientific findings that the brains JOY capacity or development of our brain by experiencing Joy primarily through our primary caretakers as a babies. You know when you look at a baby and you are just happy to be with them?They smile at you and look at you in the eye?
Well, what is happening is that they are literally being developed by that interaction.. I could explain it more in a scientific way (to the best of my understanding), but it is safe to say that the front of the brain where we are most like ourselves.. where Joy is built.. that is being built then…. It is what gives the brain the "ability to engage in every intense or difficult aspect of life.”
So, because our parents weren’t perfect, we all probably had some level of non-joy building moments. However, if you came from a loving home where mom and dad had pretty full joy capacities then you got off to a good start in terms of being able to bounce back from trauma. Go thank them, because sadly, this is rare.
ADDICTIONS COME when the trauma we experience is GREATER than our capacity for joy… because if we need to RETURN to JOY and we don’t have the skills to do so to affect our neurotransmitters.. then we will learn to get a FALSE way to get those transmitters through behaviors, events, experiences, people, or substances. We do this in order to help us get out of TRAUMA and back to joy and peace. However, although dopamine or Seratonin might be released it is a false sense of joy and doesn't satisfy the deep longing but creates a need for more that needs to be satisfied by more of the substance or interaction that produced it. Thus you have a never ending "I need more" cycle.
The brain is changeable… this is a recent discovery.. in the last 20 or so years. It is what is called NEUROPLASTIC and this is very good news. This means we can build more JOY and, of course GOD help us with this... Joy is all over the Bible, right?
Not only do we build Joy, but according to Dr. Karl Lehman - "the brain needs to go through a process to metabolize pain". So… when we are in pain we tend to disconnect from God and others, and connection is what we need to help metabolize that pain. We need to feel validated... not like we need to be fixed, but that we are heard and understood.
THE BEST WAY TO HEAL OUR BRAIN IS TO EXPERIENCE THE JOY FROM GOD BEING HAPPY TO BE WITH US.
Take a moment and reflect
When was the last time you felt like God was happy to be with you?
When were you happy to be with him? Write it down and tell a friend.
This is how our brains learn best... reflectively and in relationship.