Investigating our own feelings is difficult….. Many folks go to a psychotherapist to try to unravel their feelings, and the roots behind them… The more i have learned to treat my life as a scientific research project, the more my life has begun to open up to me. Research doesn’t begin with a bunch of assumptions or dogma. Research begins with an investigation, as unbiased as possible…. Sometimes research begins with a question of “why is this happening?” then moving towards designing a research method to investigate and or clarify an answer to that question. So, unlike our way of dealing with life by emotional reactions, in a research project, if you kept on bumping into a problem, would you try to suppress it? Ignore it? Pop a pill to make it go away? Take medication?? No, you would investigate it.. while it is hurting and visible …. look into its origins, tear it apart to see its make up….. Search for an understanding of its workings (let it respond to you in dialogue) . But I think we lose faith in being able to resolve our trials and tribulations, and lose hope that a true solution can be reached. After reading 100’s of “how to’s” we cry bullshit…… nothing seems to work…………..
With the out of control opioid problems facing us, it should be obvious that our “feel good” culture is not working. We might call it a “Failed project”….. We seem to be in a search for a “24 hour high”…… even meditation seems to be oriented towards “feeling good”. Even “freedom from pain” has become a “running from life” type of endeavour.
Of course this makes sense…. no one likes suffering………… But like the Buddha said, running from suffering only creates more suffering…..
It makes sense….. when we “feel depressed”, we look for a way to “feel good”, and when we “feel tired”, we look for a way to “feel energized”….. but in a research project, we would investigate “what is causing this depression …. is this depressed feeling due to something which can be resolved?” Why am i having this automatic emotional response?…. This might move us away from our incessant urge to pop a pill or smoke something in order to cover over the feeling…
So how does one research oneself?
I think the first step, is to stop manipulating and dodging our issues, and to begin the art of watching….. as long as we are “stuck” in the mire of our problems and feelings, it is difficult to investigate them in an unbiased nature….
Stepping back, by doing a “stop, focus on your breath, breathe…. and watching what is going on”, allows us to “look” at it without getting mired in it …..
So, rather than treating our moment by moment life as a nuisance, reacting emotionally to it, “stop, focus, breathe, watch” allows us to research it….. with the research, lights will start to turn on ….. “Oh, I see what is going on there”…. and it is REALLY an exciting research! Especially when our longterm issues begin to be resolved by our internal research process.