On many occasions I have watched people experience an exciting event for the first time—or describe it after the fact:
Children tasting ice cream for the first time
A first kiss
First time taking a breath underwater with a SCUBA device
First solo parachute jump
First time driving a car
First sexual experience
There is nothing quite like the first time, is there? My heart still flutters when I think the name of the girl I first kissed, even though I haven’t seen her in more than 50 years.
The first time is like an introduction into a new world. Subsequent to that introduction we can continue to find pleasure and fulfillment and fun in similar experiences, but there is still nothing like the first time.
So if “the first time” is such a great experience, why talk about it? Why not just search out as many such experiences as we can?
For many years I have watched people try to re-create the sensation of the first time, and therein is a significant trap. Our first sexual experience, for example, can be so exciting and such a relief from the stress and loneliness of our lives that we then seek to re-create that excitement over and over, only to discover that we never can. We become stuck in a cycle that never ends, a cycle that prevents us from realizing that sex can become an important part of a committed relationship but cannot by itself create genuine connection or happiness.
Our first romantic relationship—even without sex—can be so exciting with its combination of feeling worthwhile, powerful, desired, and intimately connected, that we believe the secret of life is re-creating those initial few weeks or months of emotionally narcotic bliss. But then real life happens, and we find that a real relationship requires that we have to learn to listen, to trust a partner, and to unconditionally give as well as receive—and all that requires trust, guidance, practice, and a kind of selflessness that we simply may not possess.
This same trap can occur with anything that makes us feel great the first time: the first high on drugs, the first adrenaline rush from skydiving, and more. In our pursuit of re-creating that first excitement, many of us become addicted to whatever gave us the initial rush. We’re hooked by the first time.
What’s the solution for this potential danger of futility and even addiction? If we find sufficient Real Love in our lives, we become genuinely happy. We have the foundation of fulfillment that grows with time and practice, and on TOP of that foundation we can enjoy any number of exciting experiences without feeling compelled to seek them. That’s the key. I repeat: when we are genuinely happy, we simply enjoy every experience in the moment, instead of feeling driven to seek and create the kinds of excitement that are poor substitutes for the happiness we don’t have.
I am not advocating that we not enjoy the “first time” in many experiences. In fact, go for it. We just need to be aware of the potential problems with trying to re-create it.
Replace your anger and confusion with peace and happiness.
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