As I follow the events of the day I find it harder to hold on to a healthy relationship between myself and the steady flow of conflicted and conflicting news. If I am not careful I find myself reacting to all the published tragedy, sadness, callousness, and primitive aggressions with life draining despair. So far I have been able to combat that despair by consciously doing what I can to transform the process of reaction to the hard truth of our times into positive response and relationship. What does the transformation of reactive energy to responding energy provide me? I would have to say hope and the energy to hope which in turn portends feasible actions to restore my balance.
Solitude is a qualitatively different state than being alone. Being alone is having no other person around you or supporting you. Solitude implies being alone, but more centrally it means being present first to yourself directly rather than through a connection with other people. One can practice solitude in a crowd. I sometimes am concerned that we have built society plagued with loneliness not for the lack of other people but rather an aversion or fear of connecting directly in solitude with our own self and soul. Being present to our own existence is a pre-cursor to presence to others. Our consciousness of self is a composition of mind/body suspended over, and drawing from, our vast mostly unordered sea-of-subjectivity. Some people call that subjective state ‘soul’. The primary solo relationship we have in our experience of life is the relationship of our own minds with our souls. Whenever consciousness is involved we are in relationship with first that part of our non-conscious self tasked with the job of building the conscious experience. Only with the emergence of consciousness does the world and its people enter our experience. Reaction by definition needs to bypass self-consciousness to execute from muscle and body memory. Reaction is life-saving in war as well as beautiful in sport and art. However reaction by definition needs to occur before the body can turn the lights on for the work of the world and relationship. On the brink of consciousness the inability to consciously pause even briefly to take in the experience of the presence of your own mystery is a symptom of personal work needing to be done.
I have no illusions this project called The Good Decision is going to turn a corner for our wounded planet or even reach many people but this discipline is how I transform reaction and despair into responsive relationship and hope. I share these postings in the ‘hope’ that maybe a few other people will find some little insight and equanimity from these reflections. This is a solo discipline of conscious presence to self that for me transforms potential bitterness into the more productive micro actions of relationship building. Unless twins, we are born in solitude and will die eventually in a similar state. But at the moment of life’s great and radical transitions if we are in relationship with first our own souls, and then critically a nurturance community, the skills of solitude/presence will dissipate the fears of loneliness. I hope you treat the Pauses of this practice not as narcissism or self absorption but rather skill building in the work of the personal soul connection and community building.