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“...all introspection is in one respect misleading. In introspection we try to look “inside ourselves” and see what is going on. But nearly everything that was going on a moment before is stopped by the very act of our turning to look at it…Unfortunately this does not mean that introspection finds nothing. On the contrary, it finds precisely what is left behind by the suspension of all our normal activities; and what is left behind is mainly mental images and physical sensations. The great error is to mistake this mere sediment or track or byproduct for the activities themselves.” (C. S. Lewis)

“Cultivating humility also means that we will begin to stop measuring ourselves continually against others—a problem ancient Christians had, too, judging by the many times it is mentioned in the literature: Abba Poemen said that a brother who lived with some other brothers asked Abba Besarion, ‘What I to do?’ The old man said to him, ‘Keep silence and do not always be comparing yourself to others.’…Having humility will mean that we will have no particular desire to do better than others, and we will not care if someone else does better than we. Pride hurts, but humility takes the fear out of a lot of introspection, making us courageous and strong.” (Roberta Bondi)

“…with the exception of syndromes directly attributable to malfunctioning brain chemistry, he [Fr. Sophrony] felt that psychiatrists often do more harm than good by making people focus too much on themselves and too little on God and their neighbor. He said they begin to concentrate too much on the “designated problem,” often not the real problem anyway, and then try to change it by yet more self-analysis and introspection, which only makes us prey to many kinds of illusion. In this interview, done a couple of years before his repose, Fr. Sophrony said he doesn’t advocate too much introspection even for monastics or his other spiritual children.” (Elder Sophrony of Essex)

“I observed over time, depending on our whether we are inclined toward extraversion or introversion, that finding the right balance of introspection is difficult. Some need more of it and some need less. Being a natural introvert, I was inclined to introspection. Looking back I realized I was too introspective at one point in my life. It led to a disproportionate self-focus on my part. It almost felt like an unconscious prison sometimes, trapped in my own constant self-analysis. Slowly, as I grew in Christ and continued to grow, I became much less introspective, especially as I began to love others around me better. I no doubt still have lots of growing to do, and introspection in measure is still a part of who I am, but now it is my servant instead of my master.” (Sacramental Living Ministries)

“We are a generation that has more access to incessant noise than any other in the history of humanity. This major cultural shift has largely taken hold for most of us without much in the way of introspection…Many of us have had moments in our life where something that had been elusive suddenly becomes clear. Perhaps it was a sense of direction that was evading us, or an insight into why we struggle with certain things, or an area of our life we had been neglecting, or a direction in which we needed to go. These moments of clarity are often sudden and vivid. They may arise during times of silent prayer or during times when we allow ourselves to be quiet and introspective. They are often also accompanied with an intense desire to follow through and make changes in our life.” (Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick, Fr. Joshua Makoul)


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