When the prefrontal cortex goes offline, we fall back into our old habits, which is why this disenchantment is so important. Seeing what we get from our habits helps us understand them at a deeper level –to know it in our bones so we don’t have to force ourselves to hold back or restrain ourselves from behavior. We’re just less interested in doing it in the first place.
And this is what mindfulness is all about: Seeing really clearly what we get when we get caught up in our behaviors, becoming disenchanted on a visceral level and from this disenchanted stance, naturally letting go.
This isn’t to say that, poof, magically we quit smoking. But over time, as we learn to see more and more clearly the results of our actions, we let go of old habits and form new ones.
The paradox here is that mindfulness is just about being really interested in getting close and personal with what’s actually happening in our bodies and minds from moment to moment. This willingness to turn toward our experience rather than trying to make unpleasant cravings go away as quickly as possible. And this willingness to turn toward our experience is supported by curiosity, which is naturally rewarding.