Sitting quietly in a room on my own

“All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”

– Blaise Pascal

Currently my family are on holiday in Devon and I am at home looking after the cat. Well, that was my excuse. I actually wanted to spend time on my own and to take the opportunity to do nothing.

It is surprising how difficult it is to do nothing. Our brains don’t like being left to their own devices. It is fascinating what they do to try and avoid this. Just sitting, as the Zen tradition refers to meditation, is ridiculously difficult. The temptation to get up and do something, to pick up my phone and read something, to feel justified in tidying up or tinkering, or to replay events from the past, is enormous.

But doing nothing doesn’t half teach you about yourself. You get to learn what occupies the constant stream of chatter in your head. You get to see what you think is incredibly important, and what isn’t. You get to peel back the layers on what you think. Layers upon layers…

The idea is that by stripping back these endless layers of chatter, self obsessed thinking, culturally induced guilt, and on and on … that you finally get to the calm, peaceful, contented true nature that we hide from ourselves.

I’m not there yet …

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