When was the last time you were alone? I mean completely alone, no distractions, just yourself?
I did a silent retreat some time ago. It was an amazing experience and I could feel the effects even after only 6 days. I was in the middle of the rice fields in Bali, right next to the jungle. I had an open room with the view over the jungle and every night I had a live concert of sounds coming from the forest. There were no phones, no computers, no wifi. When I tell people about this experience, the first thing they ask me is: How did you manage to be quiet for 6 days?? And the second thing that comes as a shock for them: No phones or wifi?? Their reactions surprise me, as it wasn’t hard for me at all. Being quiet was the easiest part of it, actually. If you talked to me a few years back, I would’ve been be the one asking those questions. And now I see how much I’ve changed. Years ago I couldn’t shut up for a minute, couldn’t be alone for an hour and had to constantly spend time with people. Being by myself was a nightmare. And that’s how the majority of people are today. We need to keep ourselves busy all the time, so we don’t have to face ourselves. We need to be involved with other people’s lives and stories because it’s easier than dealing with ourselves.
When was the last time you were alone? When I ask this, I don’t mean alone without a partner, home alone watching a movie, reading a book, scrolling down on Facebook. Just being alone with yourself. Maybe never? It’s strange how hard this is for us. Even on a silent retreat there were ways to keep myself busy. Thinking was one of them, or reading a book. Even meditation and yoga were “things that I had to do”, they gave me the feeling I was actually doing something instead of just sitting around (although meditation is kind of supposed to be just sitting around haha). Because we all just love doing something, otherwise we think that we are wasting our time and we feel useless. We just have to do things that distract ourselves from – ourselves. Being alone and not having something to do is so damn hard. But the truth is that for me all the magic happened exactly when I wasn’t doing anything.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that reflecting, yoga, reading and all those things are bad. Quite the opposite, they are all ways of getting to know ourselves better. And if we know ourselves better, maybe we will enjoy our time alone more 🙂