BY SOFO ARCHON
In our culture, most people don’t seem to spend any time all alone, in silence, doing nothing but enjoying their own presence. They are continuously doing something or being with someone, distracting themselves in all sorts of ways, to avoid experiencing a moment of aloneness.
Afraid of Ourselves
Why do some people feel the constant need to distract themselves? Because they are not at peace with themselves.
Ever since we were children, many of us had to go through hardships in life, some of which caused us immense suffering that resulted in emotional wounds. Later on, in order to avoid experiencing any further suffering, many of us tried our best to repress our emotions that are associated with those traumatic experiences. But no matter how much we repressed them, they are still hidden deep inside our psyche, calling us to pay attention to them all the time, but we choose not to even stop for a moment and focus on them. We are so afraid to come in contact with our emotional world that we try to escape from it in any way possible.
In essence, we are trying to escape from ourselves. Not surprisingly, whenever we happen to find ourselves alone and unoccupied, we quickly start to feel uncomfortable. To avoid that discomfort, we rush to do something that will distract our attention. This is the main reason why so many people watch TV for hours without end or mindlessly surf on the Internet. Or why so many people overwork. Or why so many want to be constantly in the presence of others. This also explains why before going to bed at night, many of us consume sleeping pills: to avoid confronting the repressed, darker part of our psyche. We are so scared of our very selves that we are constantly dwelling somewhere between keeping our minds occupied and keeping them shut.
The Healing Benefits
of Spending Time Alone
If we avoid facing our inner world, we’ll never find peace with ourselves. We’ll always be insecure, stressed, depressed. That’s why, no matter how painful coming in contact with our deeper selves might be, we should gather courage in our hearts to take a look within. Then our life will be totally transformed, in an incredibly positive way.
These are some ways spending time alone will improve your life:
- You’ll feel unburdened from toxic, repressed emotions.
- You’ll be more in tune with your emotional world.
- You’ll better understand yourself.
- You’ll make friends with your past.
- You’ll be more mindful of the present moment.
- You’ll be able to make more conscious choices.
- You’ll overcome feelings of loneliness.
- You’ll be less stressed and more calm.
- You’ll feel less afraid and more strong.
- You’ll be more honest with yourself and others.
- You’ll find more peace with yourself and the world.
Learning to Be Alone
To reap all these healing benefits, you need to make some space for yourself. Every day, make it a habit to spend some time on your own (I’d recommend at least 30 minutes). Find a silent room in your house to stay, sit on a chair or lie on a bed, turn off any electronic devices, and be sure to let the people close to you know that during this time you don’t want to be disturbed.
While all alone, in silence, start paying attention to your sensations, feelings, and thoughts. If you’ve not done such a thing for a long time, chances are that you will soon start feeling uneasy — your body might start shaking, disturbing emotions might be felt and unwanted memories might pop up. If and when this happens, don’t rush to escape from what’s happening, no matter how scary it might seem. Stay there, mindful of anything that you’re experiencing, physically, emotionally, and mentally.
As I mentioned already, what most people are afraid of is to encounter their past traumatic experiences. But when you are all alone, doing nothing but being attentive, hidden memories are bound to jump into your awareness, and it’s very likely that they will awaken a lot of repressed emotions, which might make you burst into tears, feel sadness, and bring myriads of thoughts that will agitate your mind. When, however, all these memories are brought into the light of consciousness, a healing process starts taking place. The divided mind begins to come together. The darker side of your psyche merges with the brighter one. And then, through that process, you start experiencing inner harmony. You feel physically relaxed, emotionally cleansed and mentally refreshed. You become revitalized, reborn into a healthier state of being.
By choosing to spend time alone on a regular basis, you’ll learn to live at peace with yourself. You will stop distracting your mind with superficial things that are wasting your time and energy, and you will not want to shut yourself from life — on the contrary, you’ll be able to experience each and every moment to the fullest, squeezing the juice out of life, without feeling chained to the burdensome fears of your past. You will stop trying to hide your deepest parts of your psyche from yourself and others by pretending to be someone you are not — you will feel free to express your authenticity, finding that there’s nothing left to hide.