Monday, March 23, 2009

A call to solitude

If it weren't for the pact I made with my daughters -- to stop apologizing except in situations where it is unquestionably appropriate to do so -- I would apologize, not just for yesterday's post, but for the last few days' posts. It's not that they are bad, exactly, but they've been coming more from my head than from my heart. And when that happens, it feels a bit like this photograph -- like I'm attempting to make stuff pretty in arbitrary ways that are not consistent with nature, or grounded.

Part of the problem is that my back has been out for the last several days, which always tends to make me cranky and unfocused (pain and sickness manifest for lots of people that way, I think) but also my meditations have been less than satisfying, caught up in business and details and monkey mind stuff, so I've been feeling out of touch with what Freeman calls solitude.

"Merely withdrawing to a desolate or secluded place does not guarantee solitude. Physical or psychological isolation no more creates solitude than candles and incense make prayer. The need for solitude means more than the psychological need for space and time alone. Solitude is much more than being alone. It is the discovery, the recognition and the acceptance of one's uniqueness.

This uniqueness should not be confused with what the ego thingks of as its specialness at the centre of the universe. All the ego's claims for special treatment are only a pale reflection of the radiant uniqueness inherent in the Self...it can only be experienced when the separateness of the individual has been dissolved and given way to indivisibility, in the non-duality of the Spirit. The true nature of solitude, according to Ramana Maharshi, is not determined by where you live or what you do, but by the absence of thought. Solitude is realised by stilling the surface levels of consciousness."

It's that stillness I've been missing -- for whatever reason -- both from my meditations and from my photos, and if that's what you come here to touch into, then I thank you for your patience with its absence. Life works that way sometimes, as if we've just drunk too many cups of coffee or had too much sugar: everything seems to have this vibratory unsettled quality. Which is why true solitude and the peace that rises with it are so important.

Something tells me we'll all need to work a little harder to cultivate that for a while. It's easy to get caught up in the "stuff" of life, and to forget that a calm centeredness may be the best way we can give back to the world. But if we can do it, create these calm pools of peace around us, even if only for a few moments a day, I do believe that we are not the only ones who will benefit.

4 comments:

I AM ROSE said...

Diane,
I love reading your insights. The following is an entry on my own blog earlier in the year. I hope and trust it is of some help to you at this time.
I feel we can create our own outcomes by our own consciousness.By this I simply feel that what we put our energy into can actually become our reality.(for your discernment)
There has been quite a lot of drama happening,not just in the media but also in our own lives.It can be perplexing to say the least.However I have found that to connect to my...
Divine Self....
By simply breathing,brings me to a state of solitude which then restores my body,mind and spirit.
The difference between loneliness and solitude is that loneliness depletes the body and mind by ignoring the spirit. This then can manifest as mystical depression.
It can be too easy at times to offer help or to come to another's rescue.To listen and feel exactly what another person is saying and then not offering uninvited advice is true unconditional love.
I feel the solitude of stillness is what brings me to a space of Love...
My space of oneness...
Heart to Heart...Love...
I AM ROSE

Contemplative Photographer said...

Wow. A beautiful way to tie the last post and this one together -- and it helps me see that the blog's path isn't as disjointed as it was feeling. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Great post, Rose!

I'm glad to see that by the time it took me to get back here and comment, the view has brightened a bit.

I was a little disappointed to read that you felt that your last couple of posts weren't really from the gut and soul of you because I really felt them. Just because YOU aren't feeling it doesn't mean the rest of us aren't! *g*

It's been a rough week for me too...maybe it's meeting the halfway mark of Lent that is getting to us? We're at day 24 now, it's all downhill (in a good way!) from here.

P.S. And never mind mental or spiritual pain, PHYSICAL pain in the back can wreck anyone's joy in the best of days. I pray that God eases the weight of your burden in all areas and gives you a second wind to make it through.

Contemplative Photographer said...

You guys are so great. I think I just lost my nerve there for a bit: it feels like I'm hacking through this jungle with a machete, and all of a sudden I just lost the energy to keep at it; wanted to lie down and give up. Today I was even wondering if I should just stop posting for a while. But you're right: it's always darkest before the dawn... Hopefully as we draw closer to Easter things will thin out a bit and more light will shine through... But thanks. And the back is much better today, so that should help.