When I feel highly engaged in what I am doing, I can temporarily feel immersed in some activity or entertainment. Mental stimulation is my favorite drug. It comes with a sense of significance as richly meaningful events unfold all around me. But I can't stay mentally stimulated forever, and when the mental stimulation ends I may experience stimulation withdrawal. I can find myself craving any form of mental stimulation, but like a drug that has worn its use, temporarily I cannot achieve it and in place I will feel intense boredom.
It helps me to see this pattern which has occurred for me more times than I can count. We are taught to seek interesting things, to captivate our attention. And when our attention is fully captivated and we are completely mesmerized by something, we are taught to value this as the way life ought to be. But when the excitement is gone, right underneath it there is often a sense of urgency and compulsiveness. It is the need to stay continuously enchanted and the fear of disenchantment.
The disenchantment phenomenon tells me that I do not care at a deeper level about what I am experiencing on the surface. If I could force myself to care, I would. But this is outside my jurisdiction. What matters to me isn't really up to me to choose, but it is my responsibility to find it. No one can ever tell another person what deeply matters to another. We can't even tell ourselves what deeply matters to us. But we can find it. We are given a clue when something that we want to enjoy becomes meaningless. This can be depressing when we feel it is futile to find something we actually care about, but when we do find what we deeply care about we then have the possibility of aligning the surface of our lives with the depth of who we are.
We then experience the same sense of being highly engaged, but this sense reaches even deeper. It is even more full. Now we are mentally engaged in a direction that has deeper meaning to us and it feels much more enjoyable and delightful as we are able to bring more of ourselves into whichever direction we choose.
Life often feels like an onion to me, and for a while a path may fulfill me, but in time the superficial layer wears off and I am left feeling directionless. I am forced to reach deeper and as I find something that matters to me at a deeper level I can feel engaged again, but even that direction might wear off one day as well. The journey of life leads me to knowing myself at deeper and deeper levels with the result of feeling more deeply fulfilled then I ever thought possible. But I also get to experience the emptiness when my activities don't really reflect my values. I can only fool myself for so long.
It has helped me to let go of what no longer engages me rather than trying to bring it back to life. When I was little I used to enjoy playing with all sorts of toys that are meaningless to me now, and if I were to attempt to keep myself entertained by them, in time it would all become frustratingly meaningless anyway. This isn't a problem, it's a blessing. I can't stay stuck when something within me wants so much to grow and experience bringing the depth of who I am all the way up to the surface.