I came across an interesting snippet of information recently. It cites a research study in the Buddha Pill. A number of people stated that they would rather self-administer a painful electric shock, than what? Care to guess?
People were terrified to sit alone with their thoughts and do nothing for 15 minutes. At first the answer surprised me as I love to be alone. Additionally, I am in a profession (psychotherapy) where people often are encouraged to find time to be with themselves and like it, and also to introspect.
However, if I dig through my recollections of people I can see why that particular study came to the conclusions it did. For example, I was doing a counselling degree and was talking to a former friend about it. I was describing a couple of assignments which required me to look into my life and pick some critical life points – important events that had occurred in my life. The assignments called for a considerable amount of introspection as well as potentially revealing intimate details about our personal life.
As I was describing the assignments, my former friend reacted with an aversion that could be best described as fearful. A number of times, the person stated they could not do the assignment if asked and was a little taken back that it was part of a course requirement to be introspective. But it was more the fear and how deep it seemed to run which struck me. I can definitely see this person choosing the electric shock option.
It would be nice to think that my former friend is an exception. Unfortunately, this is not so. I often see or hear of people with similar attitudes and fears. I should not have been so surprised.
If you would like to chase up the study, below are the reference details:
Farias, M. & Wikholm, C. (2015). The Buddha Pill: Can Meditation Actually Change You? Watkins Publishing.