Desensitized to fun Part 2: Present Moment Awareness

The one time I did nothing for 4 hours:
I once did an experiment where I hung out in my room and did nothing, just stood, sat, and stared off into space for at least 4 hours. I wanted to see if I could over ride all the urges that ran through me on a daily basis like surfing the internet, watching tv, playing video games, and goals. So I did nothing for four hours to see if I could condition myself to be comfortably in that state.

What happened was that at around the four hour mark I was playing with a piece of string or something equally as mundane and I was actually beginning to enjoy myself while doing so. I ended the experiment around then, coming to the conclusion that fun is relative to what you have available to you. Meaning you can have fun with nothing but a piece of string if that’s what you have to work with.

The time I studied for 2 weeks straight :
During the 2 weeks leading to the end of one particularly hard semester in college I was studying non stop almost, for two weeks. After the exams were over and I realized I was a “free man” for the next 3 weeks winter holidays I felt a rush of emotion. I had 3 weeks to do what ever I wanted. From this I concluded that if you got used to one level of fun and then an more intense level was introduced you will experience a rush. Strong pleasure associated with the expectancy of fun and the fun itself will be more enjoyable having not been experienced recently.

These two experiences lead me to believe that fun was like a drug and that it was something you could become desensitized to and need more of to get the same high or a better high. Also that you could desensitize yourself by going cold turkey for long enough to “get used to” a lower level of fun.

However I am re-examining my findings in light of new research into Mindfulness. There are two factors of mindfulness that seem to fit the two experiences I described. Present moment, and novelty.

The present moment is being focused on the present moment only, without relating it to the past or future or seeing it as good or bad.

Novelty, I would say is a form of fun, meaning when you experiencing it, you are having fun. It is the feeling that you are seeing something for the first time, seeing the wonder of something. What it is is your brain taking in an optimal amount of data from something. When you see something for the first time, the less related it is to something you’ve seen already, the more novel it is and the more data your brain will take in at once to process this new thing.

The connection between present moment and novelty is that if you observe something as it is in the present without relating it to what you know from the past, you create novelty because you observe that thing as if you haven’t seen it before.

Part of my first experience may have been of novelty because I was playing with string almost as if it was something I had never seen before. I wasn’t thinking about the future or the past, I was just in the moment.

The second experience is more related to present vs future thoughts. Once I finished studying I realized I had 3 weeks to explore new and novel things and that was exiting but it was future oriented. When it actually came time to have the fun, I didn’t have as much fun as I had anticipated. Maybe because I was anticipating more than being present.


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