We live with constant noise and distraction; life is lived at a pace that would have astonished our ancestors. Want to buy something? Two or three clicks and it’s on the way, hungry? Food can be delivered. Bored? TV, Streaming, Music, You Tube, FB, Tic Toc, Instagram, Podcasts. If you are older radio, newspapers, books, crosswords, jigsaws. Constant stimulation, endless messages to be fitter, wiser, richer, busier, have more stuff. Subtle or not so subtle cues to conform, fit in, look like the next person, have what the next person has, do what the next person does. We measure ourselves and frequently find ourselves wanting, do I look right? fit in?
It is no wonder that there is such a rise in mental health issues and anxiety.
Oddly when I was looking for the image for this newsletter I typed in solitude and got words saying anxiety. Solitude is equated with anxiety now that is interesting.
We have to be busy; doing your work while engaging in social media and listening to a podcast, sitting watching the TV while scrolling your tablet or phone.
Studies show that multi tasking does not work; you end up doing several things badly. Whatever happened to concentration, one thing at a time?
How can we hear ourselves with all of this racket swirling around us?
What are we afraid of?
Spiritual traditions emphasise silence and stillness to be alone with yourself and your God if you have faith. To give yourself space and time to know who you are. Not who you are supposed to be and here is the rub. So many of us are trying to be what we are supposed to be, to look the part, to conform. There is no shortage of people willing to tell us what is right (including me!), but is it right for you? How will you know if you don’t stop to consider?
It is so difficult to find the space to stop; our monkey mind just wants to chatter constantly. It will offer you a million distractions, not to sit and contemplate.
Are we afraid of what we may hear?
Have you ever been transfixed by something? Maybe a beautiful sunset or the shape of a winter tree against a clear night sky. For a millisecond you are part of the scene and you disappear. You become part of the fabric of what you are looking at, held in a perfect suspension and you experience that exquisite moment of stillness and integration into something greater than yourself. It feels magical.
Then the spell breaks; but you will remember that feeling of peace, connection and knowing.
How to find it again?
Turn off the electronics, go for a walk in the country, sit in silence, day dream a little; be still and know.