THIS ARTICLE made me look at silence and being alone in a different way.
“We seek reassurance in stimulation. That’s what the story in our head, the constant engagement, the flow state experiences are really for. Because whenever the stream of ‘everything’s-fine-at-least-for-now’ stops, it’s like someone pushes us into that room and shuts the door behind us. Silence.“
Indeed, I seek reassurance in stimulation, in distractions. Because often the silence brings the sadness, regret, guilt and remorse. I need distractions, inputs, etc. to keep all that at bay. Whether its listening to music, playing guitar, doing yard work, or increasingly the last few years, listening to podcasts…doing something, anything…it’s the stillness and the silence that gets me thinking of things and people that I don’t want to be thinking of. Rather, it’s what I shouldn’t be thinking of too much about: the past.
The article makes the case that what’s scary can be quite beautiful:
“As Twitter-philosopher Naval puts it, “life is a single-player game.” We’re born alone and we die alone. In between, we must learn to know ourselves, love ourselves, lose ourselves, find ourselves and do all of it over again. All of your life’s most important moments, you experience alone. You suffer pain alone. You enjoy the dopamine high of victory alone. Even things you experience in the presence of another person — your first love, first kiss, first time — you ultimately live through inside your own head and, thus, alone.”
And provides some interesting advice:
“First, loneliness is an absolute necessity to deal with life’s important questions. All of the noise and distractions don’t help. They make things worse. Because while sitting in discomfort won’t always guarantee the best outcome, running away will always lead to regret.”
The article makes the case that embracing being alone, and actually utilizing it, comes down to something I’ve always had trouble with: meditation. I always need distractions; when it’s quiet the rush of thoughts often comes in and then my mind is racing in multiple directions, and, invariably, it goes to places I don’t want to go. So I have to consciously go thru those thoughts, work my way through them to where I’m relaxed and not getting sad, or angst-ridden. I guess that process is part of meditating, but actually making time to meditate, to go and sit somewhere quiet and just…stop, to stop what I’m doing, to not do anything, and try and quiet my mind…that’s what’s always been hard. As I get older, though, I recognize more the need for it. I’m still working hard at it.