Picking up where I left talking on wine in the daily entry on my 100-day Ango page, a few words on bitter sweetness of not getting what we want. Abstaining for some time from what I used to enjoy surprisingly brought some… pleasure.
Exploring the phenomenon of pleasure as a biological process, Alexander Lowen holds that “…a concept of pleasure that limits it to the discharge of tension or the satisfaction of needs, though obviously valid, is too narrow to comprehend human behaviour. People actually enjoy a certain amount and kind of tension. They find pleasure in challenging situations, such as competitive sports, because the tension increases the amount of excitation. The buildup of excitation is in itself a pleasurable sensation when it is associated with the prospect of its release… When however the prospect of release is missing or the satisfaction is unduly postponed, desire and need become painful states. Thus, both need and fulfillment are aspects of the experience of pleasure in the absence of conflict and disturbances.” (Alexander Lowen, “Pleasure: A Creative Approach to Life”)
In other words, not getting what we want right away is a healthy thing (probably not the kind of information that would make marketers jump with enthusiasm). Creating a gap between the desire and its fulfillment also creates some space for reflection on what it is I actually desire and ask for. It brings to the surface all the stories I construct about why I want or need something (do I?) and the underlying inner believes.
Right now I look forward to uncorking a bottle of delicious red after the 100-days are over.