I am now back in the UK and enjoying reading the papers, listening to the news and basically relishing our summer. Almost the first article that I read on leaving the plane was about some research that had been done with people who were left alone with their thoughts for 15 minutes.
It suggested that once we stop being busy and start to allow our thought processes to be revealed we are driven to find some alternative than spending time with our thoughts.
The research found that if people were given the opportunity to self-administer an electric shock they would do that rather than feel their feelings or allow the deeper workings of their minds to reveal themselves. I can’t remember what percentage self-administered electric shocks but it was high and my response along with, I imagine, all those others who have taken steps down the road of self-discovery was something like, “How incredibly f…..g stupid!”
However once I allowed my initial reaction to pass I realised that on every level of our lives we actually do something very similar every day. We continue to take courses of action that deep inside result in many variations of electric shock treatment. We say things that result in hurt, we certainly do things that inevitably result in pain, and we continue with working practices that with the most cursory glance we would recognise as a certain path to unhappiness and even agony. And we would rather live like this than spend a little time removing our all-round poor assessment of ourselves which quickly descends into self loathing, even self hatred!
None of these negative self-concepts are true; yet our refusal to examine this seems to me to be the basis of many people’s lives. Somehow we would choose a life of self-torture than discover the path to genuine happiness. I think it is a choice I need to be very aware of and become diligent in striving for my desire to become happy no matter what is going on around me.