I once heard a neuroscientist describe neurological pathways and their potential for plasticity– change over time– as being like a stream coursing over a streambed. In this metaphor the water of the stream is the incoming sensory activity of your day-to-day life; chaotic and ever-changing. And then the physical shape of the streambed is the hard-wired pathway that has been shaped over time by that incoming stream of water; much more fixed and stable, but able to change slowly over time due to changes in the activity of the water.
The PMO streambed has been so deeply formed from years of pleasurable, short-circuited results. So if we want to change our habits and our ingrained pathways, we first have to stop feeding water into this stream, thereby drying up the streambed.
Once dried up, the geography of the streambed starts to physically change. New things can grow; rocks settle and block a once well-carved path. The next time water comes rushing down, its trajectory is totally different than what it once was– but it never could have changed in this dramatic way had the water not been stopped for a prolonged period.
That’s why it’s important not to give in to any urge for a substantial period of time. We have to commit to the importance of time above all else. Give your brain the time it needs for real plasticity to occur. Don’t feed the stream.