Painfully Alone In Our Thoughts

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                       July 7, 2014

 

                                  

 

Recently released findings from a University of Virginia psychologist indicates that most people are extremely uncomfortable being alone with their thoughts. Tim Wilson recruited volunteers for the research- mostly college students-  from a church and a farmer’s market. Each person was placed in an undecorated room and asked to be alone with their thoughts for fifteen minutes. Many of the participants admitted afterwards that they had cheated during the time frame and checked their cell phones or listened to music.

After an initial fifteen minute period participants were asked to do another fifteen minutes, but this time they were given an out. They were hooked up to an electric shock. If at sometime during the fifteen minutes they wanted to be done with being alone with their thoughts they could self-administer the electric shock to themselves and they would be done. Of the participants “67%” of the men went for the electric shock rather than be alone with their thoughts. of the women 25% administered the shock.

Amazing, that so many would choose the pain of an electric shock over the uncomfortableness of being alone with their thoughts.

It also may say something about our reluctance to seek quiet. Quiet threatens, so we “self-medicate” ourselves with music, social connectedness, and cell phones. Think about it! A traumatic experience for many people is having their cell phone broken and having to go through a full day without it. As I’m writing this I’m listening to music on Pandora to help me focus.

How did our grandparents ever make it? They must have had to hum a lot!

For me as a Christ-follower there are other implications. How will I hear the whisper of the holy if it chooses to not come through my headphones? How will I see the burning bush if it doesn’t come through a lap top screen?

This is a quandry, a challenge, and an opportunity for me. I’m at the beginning of a month-long study leave. To call it quiet time would be too threatening, and, to be honest, not as productive-sounding. Not many people see a month of quiet reflection as being valuable.

Listen! I’m not necessarily comfortable with it either. If the button for the electric shock we close at hand I would might it numerous times.

I’ve come to believe, however, that I serve a God of quiet moments in a world of noise. It is often in the silence that he entertains and tames my thoughts, and reigns in my tendency to race forward like a wild pony.

Explore posts in the same categories: Bible, Christianity, Jesus, Prayer, Story, Uncategorized, Youth

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

You can comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: