Learning to be alone

Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.

— Carl Gustav Jung

We have all experienced it at one point, that uncomfortable feeling of being alone with only your thoughts. It is haunting facing what races through your mind, your fears, of the future, regrets from the past. All you can think about is what was or what will be, you are everything but present in the current moment, not living life. The horror of this makes us quickly look for a distraction, turn on the TV, look on facebook, call a friend, have a drink, smoke a joint, anything but be alone with our terrifying mind.

For the past year I have been vastly alone for the majority of the time, but out of that time how much of it was spent truly alone, with only my thoughts? Not much. I am constantly reading, learning, or practicing guitar, all good things, but also a distraction from my thoughts. It was around this time last year that I began meditating, it was an incredible experience, and quite the challenge at one of the lowest points of my life. It brought healing and insight to my life, but I did not continue once I hit the road. There is no good reason why I stopped, they would all just be lame excuses. It was simply easier to stop than continue.

After a year of being alone and having no earth shattering insights I have realized that I was never truly alone, and it is time to fix that. I am recommitting to meditate and wrestle the never ending stream of thoughts down to silence, to find clarity.

You do not have to run away and live in a van to be alone, set aside 10 minutes in your day to be alone, some place where no one can bother you. No electronics, no sounds, just you and your thoughts. Close your eyes or lightly close them and focus on an object, now try to let your thoughts go. They will come on fiercely, when you have a thought come in, accept it and do not become discouraged, just let it go, recognizing the thoughts is the hardest part. Start doing this for as little as a minute, and work your way up each day. At one of my lowest points I meditated for an hour, I saw visions and found clarity to the most vexing questions, I felt alive afterwards. I want this back. Who will be alone with me?

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