I recently read an essay on introspection by Jim Wilson. He defines introspection as “the act or practice of meditating on one’s own past actions and emotions.” We have a tendency to mull things over in our minds. Either things that have happened to us, mistakes we have made, sins we have committed, or sins committed against us get run through our mind over and over. He points out that we are often encouraged to do this because it is away of explaining or understanding the things we do or the way we feel. But he also says, ” Introspection is not like walking in the sunlight on a summer day. Instead, it is like going down dungeon steps with a flickering candle in your hand. You have a tiny light that throws long shadows and dimly shows skeletons, spider webs, and gross, crawly things.”
Going over the same ghastly things in our mind repeatedly never brings about joy, and he attributes some depression to introspection. He suggests the alternative of walking in the light as in I John 1 : 5-10 and to pray Psalm 139:23-4 when starting down that path: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the everlasting.”
The full essay is online here.