Do You Prefer Electrical Shocks To Your Own Thoughts?
In 2014 a joint study from the Universities of Virginia and Harvard was conducted where researches left people alone in a room for 6 to 15 minutes. No Music, no TV, no smartphone. Just the person and their thoughts.
Participants ranged from 18 to 77 years old and were from a variety of economic and social backgrounds. The results were the same. People reported discomfort and inability to concentrate, even though there were literally zero distractions.
Just to test whether the discomfort was a laboratory setting, participants were asked to do the experiment at home. The results were the same, and one third of the participants reported that they cheated. You read that right. They were asked to just be in a room, and they cheated.
The scientists took it a step further. They administered a painful electric shock to the participants that hurt so much most said they would pay money not to be shocked again. When they returned to the room for another 15 minutes they were told they could reduce their time by shocking themselves. Nearly HALF the participants shocked themselves to reduce their time, because apparently this extremely painful torture was not as bad as being left alone with themselves for 15 minutes.
One participant shocked himself 190 times, so maybe he just liked it, but the rest? That is, pardon the pun, shocking.
Why are we running from ourselves?
In my teachings I have stressed meditation over and over again. It is the best way I know to be comfortable and clear with your own mind, which is after all the lens that we know everything through.
I have a course called Take Back Your Mind for those that want to go the distance with a three month course. It is one of the first meditation courses designed with the idea that the students are not seeking to do long retreats, and is not rooted in contemplative lifestyle practices (aka, watered down stuff they teach to monks). But a course is not for everyone.
If it’s not, then pick up Meditation in a New York minute, which is probably the pithiest take on the basics I have seen.
If that is too much, then just take control of your devices are realize that they are robbing you of idle time that used to come naturally. You need to schedule it yourself now.
Sit Down. Shut Up. When you get distracted, do it again.
How can you use your mind to bend probability, communicate with spirits, and peer through the veil if you cannot even sit comfortably in a room by yourself?