The unquantifiable importance of solitude.
From time to time, I feel the need to take a well-earned break away from our work here at Openhand. Not that I feel pressurised by my life, not at all. Even though it is frequently full-on, I find it immensely rewarding and yet now and then, there's the undeniable heart-felt pull to spend time alone. I'm blessed to have a camper van, so as the flow allows, I find myself taking off into nature and the countryside. For me there is nothing more pleasurable than finding some quiet, secluded spot, parking up and simply hanging out…
The importance of Solitude
I couldn't begin to overestimate the importance of solitude in my life as a catalyst for accelerating the path and clearing unwanted inner debris. When I do get the time to take off, I find the first few hours can be a touch demanding. If you don't fill the space with 'entertainment', I find the mind needs a little time for 'detox cold turkey'. Even if there's no longer the ego to contend with, there's still the need to clear the inner landscape and expand into the emptiness. When that happens, I find I can sit for hours simply watching life unfold before me.
My favourite would be to park up on some secluded cliffs in Cornwall, like in the photo at the top - a treasured place of many an Arthurian legend near the mystical town of "Tintagel" (can you see the Dragon's head and his wing? Awesome!). I distinctly recall many magical hours there, simply watching the seagulls performing for me a merry wind swept soliloquy or the waves rolling powerfully in off the ocean or dropping naked into the icy waterfall at the mystical St Nectern's Glen (as in the photo left).
Amazing things happen when you spend time on your own. First, you might have some typical mental chatter to deal with: "I should be doing this", "why aren't I doing that?" "How can I waste my time like this?" There could be the nagging doubt that you're missing out on something or you really ought to be doing something more responsible and productive. Once you drop through these layers and peel them away, the profoundness of awesomely ordinary simplicity tends to strike one like a thunderbolt to the third eye. How could you pass such simple beauty by and pay so little attention?
Deeper into presence
The deeper we drop into this sense of pure presence, the more connected with life we truly feel. From this place of the empty void, the flow arises more strongly and one can be completely overwhelmed by the simplest of things. A recent evening comes to mind where it rained the whole night through and strong winds buffeted my camper backward and forwards. How wonderful! Rocked like a baby, I was enthralled for hours.
And as I awoke, it was the turn of the crows to be the aerial acrobats. It seems one had mastered hovering on the breeze like the famous kestrel. At first I thought it could have been one, until that is a kestrel flew up in front of it and hovered right in front of my camper. Wow, what a spectacle. Anyone whose seen the Gateway 2 section of Openhand's film 5GATEWAYS will know the significance.
It's these apparently simple things that become more prominent and speak so loudly when the mind and consciousness are still. To me, the crow always represents inner distortions. The aerial display was clearly revealing that the path to truth is by continually watching one's own tightness and tension. It's only then that freedom and liberation unfold their inner wings. As if to confirm, synchronistically as I write this, my iPod has started playing an old favourite "Free" (which I'll share with you below). Priceless!
"Okay" you might say "it's alright for you Open, but I have a family to look after and a busy job, I don't have the freedom to get away like that". Sorry to burst the bubble, but these are just excuses! Mostly because we don't believe others can look after themselves for a few hours and are sometimes meant to. Or else we're afraid of exactly what might happen in the void of stillness: "Will I have to look deeply at my own reflection? What will I see?" Even if it's just for a few hours, there is nothing more penetrating and cleansing than isolation and absolute stillness.
Speaking of which, the crows outside my window are calling. They're clearly saying I've spent enough time finger tapping and it's time to fly. It's felt good sharing this emptiness with you. I trust it inspires and encourages you to push the boundaries on the lone space a little more. When you do, I and the kestrel will catch up with you, hovering, hanging on the breeze in the space between the spaces.
And here's that video: "Free is all you gotta be..."