Every once in a while, there comes a time where some event sends you into a contemplative, introspective state. I don’t believe that can be a state of mind, neither should it be a predisposition. It’s a state of the soul.
Tragic events tend to make us wonder and question everything. Those what ifs are not necessarily introspective, and even when they are, they tend to be subconscious and subliminal, as a breeze caused by changes in pressure in the atmosphere all around you. They are driven and motivated by events that, no matter how dramatic, your mind and body are designed to overcome and move on from.
Critical life decisions on the other hand, coupled with time to make them, force you into a deep analytical state. These are not taken instinctively, nor weighed emotionally. Emotions are accounted for but the quest goes deeper and farther, in an attempt to explore scenarios and outcomes, to evaluate potential and consider consequences. With it come the questions, the contemplation, the introspection. You look back at past decisions and question them. You diminish the values of your strengths and over-critically consider your weaknesses.
This state of deeper introspection can be frightening. It is definitely disarming. But it seems to me that the potential outcome is always greater. You should come out more aware of yourself, warts and all, and that is priceless. We have been trained to think highly of ourselves and it seems that is ultimately leading to either delusional or depressive people. Meditation only takes you so far, emptying the mind to refill it with the same data as before, like a corrupted backup. The goal isn’t to empty but to fill, to savor, to ponder.
Honesty. That is the ultimate result of disarming introspection. And when you are honest with yourself, you’re more likely to be happy. And we all know happy people tend to live longer, fuller, more successful lives.