The Power of Introspection
How do you learn about yourself?
Our society is suffering from a distraction crisis right now, which is really a crisis in introspection. Even those moments in line at Starbucks or on the toilet, previously alone with our thoughts, perhaps even full of reflection, have become inundated with notifications and instantly-gratifying entertainments.
A quick hit of dopamine, the same pleasure chemical produced by smoking a cigarette, is readily available in the palms of our hands whenever we want to flip on our phones.
We can use psychology and neuroscience to observe our mental programs from the outside in, but a true understanding of the mind must include careful observation from the inside as well, observing our own thoughts, emotions and experiences as they play out. And therein lies tremendous potential to improve our wellbeing and happiness.
"Our minds are amazing. The vast intricacy of what happens in each moment is truly remarkable. When you sit, sit with amazement at what is going on, like a vast, complex, rich work of moving, fluxing, art." - Daniel Ingram, Ph.D.
Given that in the modern world our struggle for fulfillment has replaced the struggle for survival, at least in most of the developed world, we're left with important questions like, “What does bring us fulfillment?” And the answer to that might not be as simple as it seems because what may cause short-term pleasure, like candy bars and video games, do not usually bring a sense of long-term fulfillment.
We can look inward using meditation techniques like Headless Way (below), primarily taught by Richard Lang, who came on the FitMind podcast earlier.
This form of self-inquiry helps us get to know ourselves better and begin to shed unhelpful stories that the mind constructs. By getting to know our minds we increase our chances of living a fulfilling life.
PS - Claim a free trial of the FitMind meditation app here.