joining the dots

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Porn rewires your brain

In a few days time I head to Uganda for a couple of weeks, so this will be my last porn-post (for the time being at least). This post, like the previous ones emphasises the seriousness of pornography, yet this post also offers hope for those who feel like they are trapped by porn.

The inspiration, the ideas, and the illustration need to be accredited to an article I read on the Relevant Magazine’s website recently, which itself was excerpted from a by Michael Cusick, entitled Surfing for God: Discovering the Divine Desire Beneath Sexual Struggle.

Simply put, your brain is like a grassy meadow. Every time you look at porn (and this applies to whatever you think about) you walk across the meadow, and a path is cut into the grass. At first the long grass is flattened. But the more you look at porn (or think lustful, bitter, greedy or angry thoughts), the more defined the path becomes, until the grass which is being continually trampled dies and eventually you have a dirt track.

Viewing porn creates certain paths across the grassy meadow that is your brain. The more you look at porn, the increasingly defined those paths becomes. This illustrates both the seriousness of porn (viewing it physically rewires your brain) and explains why once you start it’s hard to stop, because porn, as with all manner of negative thoughts, cut paths in our brain which eventually become the clearly defined pathways and therefore the natural ones for us to take – it’s easier to take the dirt tracks than wade through the knee length grass.

However, there is also good news in this. Our brain, like a grassy meadow is a living thing. It’s not easy for the grass to start growing over the dirt tracks, but, if you stop walking along the dirt tracks, eventually the grass will begin to grow again. It is possible to stop walking along negative pathways and start walking along positive pathways instead.

This is a concept I’m quite passionate about, because it’s the idea behind my new book 40/40. In order to break bad habits, we need to promote the development of good habits. To stop cutting negative pathways across our brain, we need to start cutting positive ones. To stop thinking unhealthy thoughts, we need to start thinking healthy ones.

It’s all about replacement. You can’t just stop going something; you needed to start doing something in its place. Therefore, if I’m concerned about my diet and want to stop eating so much chocolate, I can’t just stop eating chocolate, I have to replace it with something else. So I replace chocolate with crisps and all is well. You can’t just stop thinking lustful thoughts; you need to think about something else.

In order to stop viewing porn, and to stop thinking all the thoughts associated with it, you need to replace it with something else. You need to start walking across the grassy meadow in a different way. I’d suggest that that replacing porn with the word of God is an excellent starting place. I’ll also finish with a shameless plug for 40/40 because I believe that doing the 40/40 challenge for 40 days will help you change the way you think, it will help you focus on God’s word in a relevant way, and in doing so it will enable you to cut new positive paths across the grassy meadow that is your brain and you’ll begin to experience the grass re-growing on the paths cut by porn.

“…be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:2)

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About Phil Green

By day I work for the Evangelical Alliance, by night I lead a small charity called a little bit of HOPE.

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This entry was posted on 18/06/2012 by in porn and tagged , , , , , .

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The opinions expressed on this site do not necessarily represent the views of the organisations I work with.
Copyright © 2009-2012 Phil Green
a little bit of hope
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