The Psychology of Comfort

[Resuming a series on Merton's Seven Storey Mountain after a hiatus over Lent.]

Merton offers a concise but insightful take on on a feature of our collective psychology which has only increased since he made the observation:

"Indeed, the truth that many people never understand, until it is too late, is that the more you try to avoid suffering, the more you suffer, because smaller and more insignificant things begin to torture you, in proportion to your fear of being hurt. The one who does most to avoid suffering is, in the end, the one who suffers most: and his suffering comes to him from things so little and so trivial that one can say that it is no longer objective at all. It is his own existence, his own being, that is at once the subject and the source of his pain, and his very existence and consciousness is his greatest torture."

~Merton, The Seven Storey Mountain, p. 91