“Absence of pain is predictably akin to pleasure, but the other two—losing a sense of identity and of bodily limits—are less obvious. Self-awareness, apparently, is no picnic. William James described the self as that kernel of consciousness that persists throughout various experiences and sensations. The self is divided between the stream of consciousness and an internal observer—except in those rare moments when we dissolve into mysticism.”
“Bliss, both sacred and profane, shares the diminution of self-awareness, alterations in bodily perception and decreased sense of pain.”
I think this is a very interesting idea. If this is to mean that when a person gets caught up in their own internal thoughts (as opposed to external stimuli directing our thoughts) that they feel less blissful, then I think I would agree from my own personal experience. Keeping completely to yourself without sufficient external stimulus to keep the mind from forming its own loops of cyclical thoughts seems to have negative effects, at least on me personally.
You can only spend so much time surfing the internet, watching TV, visiting new places… There is only so much ‘newness’ that you can supply yourself with if you lack the company of additional minds. Attempting to stimulate your own mind is a challenge because there is no mystery. You already know what you are thinking, surprising yourself is not easy.
Looking at the picture above, it’s like trying to plug yourself in. If you can find other people that know how to plug you in or want to learn how, then that’s the way to go.
And while surprises of every kind are not always welcome (i.e. there are good surprises and bad surprises), they can in many cases be beneficial for maintaining a healthy mind. To put it simply: Excessive solitude can be a harmful thing. When people purposely try to be too unique and different, they can make themselves less accessible to most people. Some people are fascinated by sports, and some feel completely apathetic (perhaps when they were young they had negative experiences with sports and people who they identify with sports or a particular sport, and perhaps no additional factors ever changed this feeling for them as they got older). However, there is always hope. With time, patience and some help, people can develop more positive feelings for things that bother them or remind them of unhappy experiences. The good can overcome the bad, it just requires some assistance from the right person or people.