What I want to talk about today is how to find a balance between solitude and interaction, and how bringing presence to both cultivates productivity. Being a maker requires both solitude and interaction. Quality solitude awakens your inner life, your muse and your imagination. Meaningful interaction — a conversation with a fellow traveler — fuels creativity. Joseph Campbell said: “We may as well be with those who bring out the best in us.” How you spend your days, and who you spend them with, matters.
A full day of solitude is water for the thirsty maker…on these days, I often take a long time getting out of my pajamas. Breakfast is late too, but before noon. The length of time for dedicated solitude is less important than the quality of solitude. Quality is the renewal, the welcoming of a fresh horizon, that arises naturally from stillness. Yet stillness seems so distant to the restless mind. It’s as if everything is aligned in opposition to having an inner life. There is an aversion to boredom, a craving for stimulation, and a longing for the next shiny object. Let me give you an example:
There was a research study set up to examine our resistance to “doing nothing”. The participants were asked to sit alone in a room, without moving or having access to any devices, for 10 minutes. They were given the option to sit still, or to press a button that would give them an unpleasant electric shock. 25% of the women and 67% of the men chose to shock themselves rather than sit still.
It’s as if we don’t want to allow the presences tapping on our dark and luminous world of possibility, the images that are summoning us, to actually arrive and expand our being.Read More