I’m deep in the countryside of Norfolk now, having driven here earlier today, and the scenery is magnificent. As the sun slips below the western horizon the sky changes colour in the distance, the air is cooling, and a slight, refreshing breeze – hardly detectable, but it’s there – can be felt upon my face.
Anywhere, away from the hustle and bustle of regular life, can be a place of deep awareness and peace, of solitude, and enable us to go deep, and deeper still. And, Norfolk, where I am now, is just such a place. Of course, even in the city, there are parks and other places of quiet, and even in part of your home, a time and place can be sent aside to centre yourself and go inward on that imaginable journey of solitude. You don’t have to travel to remote places to enjoy it.
But, sometimes, and you will know the occasions, sometimes some extra ‘effort’ is need to do the ‘nothing’ of awareness and solitude by relocating for a while.
The air temperature is dropping now. After a hot, windless day, and a barmy evening, the temperature drop and slight breeze is most welcome, most refreshing. It’s getting dark, and darker still.
‘The best thinking has been done in solitude’. Thomas Edison
I’m alone. And yet, surrounded by the wildness and wilderness, the wild things of Norfolk. A bird, maybe a crow, cries out and flies off into the distance. There is foraging in the nearby under growth, but I can’t see the animal, but can see the trajectory it takes as plants rustle and move as it moves from me.
Solitude. Awareness.What did I expect? There is a school of thought that says that if you don‘t expect anything, and nothing happens, then you won’t be disappointed. Others, might say we should expect for them we’ll look, and in looking we will find. But, it depends on your aim, your purpose at that moment in time, and right now ‘no thing’ apart from solitude is sought.
Here are a few thoughts about the awareness of solitude and experiences, or expectations as I sit here, having finished my meditation. They are:
– solitude, as opposed to being lonely, is about choice and awareness. To be lonely is to feel bereft of support and company. With solitude, one has chosen authentic solitude – but at the back of your mind, and after that act of solitude, you know, just know that you we’re surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, elementals, some call them angels, or the Companion encouraging you onwards, invisibly, impalpably.
– solitude can bring about deep peace, even joy. Happiness or not may depend on external influences, but joy is very much a decision, lifestyle, a way of being which is firmly in your grasp. As I sit here, all the ‘challenges’ of the day melt away. However, there are other ‘avenues’ that may be open to you as great works of art and music can have the same joyful effect.
’Hildegard viewed music as the key to opening a third state of consciousness, a trance-like strate’ HeathyHildegard.com
– solitude can enable you to gain an insight into your fundamental values, goals, your unique strengths and weaknesses.
– solitude can create a clear perception of what is important in our lives, what to expect, what not to expect and how to deal with events when expectations are thwarted. Remember, there is always tomorrow.
It’s now quite cool, and to any casual observer I have been sitting here for an hour and nothing has seemingly happened. But it has. My aim was solitude, and the purpose was meditation. Anything else is a bonus.
But, at one fundamental level here, and where you are right now, great movements have taken place, perhaps unaware to all of us.
“I have a feeling that my boat
has struck, down there in the depths,
against a great thing.
Nothing happens? Or has everything happened,
and are we standing now, quietly, in the new life?”
(Juan Ramón Jiménez)*
Tomorrow, another day, and I will have different expectations. Tomorrow I perform a land healing ritual in Norfolk and I’m looking forward to that, and the following day I meet up with a dear friend and his wife. Would you believe that I haven’t seen this friend since I was twelve years old – some fifty two years ago. Time flies.
I’m now back in the little cottage I’m staying in, in Norfolk. As I sit here with a hot cup of milky Ovaltine and boyhood memories come flooding back, I realise that great expectations can come to us sometimes disguised as quite small and insignificant occurrences. Treasure those times, and revel in those times when nothing seems to happen – perhaps, then, we really are standing in the new life!
* [Apologies for not earlier accrediting the poem to Juan Ramón Jiménez. Now corrected]