People today talk a lot about carving out time for themselves, or “making alone time.”
I’m actually not sure how much that makes sense. When I try to imagine humans from an ancestral or Primal perspective… You know the way we were for most of human history, it’s hard to imagine that there really would have ever been much alone time. It certainly seems counterproductive to hunt a buffalo by yourself or to wonder into the woods alone. How are you going to drag that thing home? And what if you got hurt? You’d be screwed! Certainly, no one had their own bedroom or time in the car line. There was no massage therapist or pedicure place or Netflix or whatever distraction you likely use to zone out, take a break, or excuse yourself from the world and its responsibilities.
If I’m honest, what I really think people are craving is less “noise.”
I’m not even sure you get that when you have your alone time. Is a smelly, noisy pedicure really a soul-filling experience? And when you step away from your family to go do something, don’t you just find yourself wondering what your kids and husband are doing? I believe what we really want- Hell, what we NEED- is silence. A natural silence, the kind of Silence you get when you experience the woods waking up, is a silence that allows you to connect. In this natural quiet, you can dig deeper into the box of all the world’s perspective and wonderment.
So many of us are just a reverberation of what we always have been.
We do what we’ve always done and live in the comfort of what we’ve always known. Our thoughts and beliefs are simply echoed back to us by someone with the same perspective, upbringing, status, religion, and generally similar political standings. These echoes bounce back and refill the space that they left- a little duller, a bit more grey version of the original. Over time, you might make your opinions louder or spew them more frequently to make up for the lackluster appearance. Life has likely forced you to have grey areas, as it so often does, and the way you once thought things were just doesn’t have the sparkle that it once did. Echo after Echo refills the space. There’s no need to ever dig deeper or find what’s under that first layer because it keeps coming back anyways.
But in that silence, the silence that you may not even know that you crave, nothing comes back.
No echo refills the space. Nothing confirms what you thought you knew. No one nods back affirmation. The only option is to dig to the next layer of thought and the next layer and the next layer. Unpacking everything inside isn’t always easy, either. Maybe that’s the real reason we fill our days with distractions. The “noise” and “to-do’s” of everyday life give us a reason to ignore the box of junk, albeit not a good one. Making peace with the silence can be as simple as finding a Sit Spot at your house. Take a 10 min daily to just listen to the birds. A quiet walk in the woods with your family is great, too. Simple acts of relaxed mindfulness provide opportunity to unpack layer after layer, to ponder and discover. Somewhere deep down in there you find your true self.