I’ve always found it odd how people seem to be so uncomfortable with the idea of being alone with themselves.
You see it all the time on the streets. If someone is not already with company, they have their head buried in their phone scrolling through news feeds. It becomes less and less of a sight to see someone sit and just be present with themselves as people, and get lost in their thoughts and daydreams. Nowadays if someone is standing on the street, waiting for someone or just having lunch, they are never looking around & appreciating nature; they’re buried in their phones.
Heck – some people even who are with company spend most of that time “together” but still with their separate heads bowed grazing their social media news feed.
I’m not perfect in this regard, nor do I propose to be. It’s never been about pointing out other people’s faults; in Seneca’s letters he states that pointing out an injustice committed against the laws of nature is not about appearing as someone who hails from a higher, more knowledgeable plane; it’s about self-diagnosing at the same time and recognizing that you are recounting all these things not only for others but for yourself as well so that everyone’s lives can be enriched.
We’ve always been social creatures. And certainly social media hasn’t been the only means for us to indulge in anti-social behavior (think of being on a train and every person has their head buried in the newspaper, not talking).
But we need to start becoming more ok with having those quiet moments of introspection & meditation, where we are forced to spend a moment or two stepping out of the hurricane of life and reflecting on how we ourselves are doing as humans and spiritual beings. We need those moments to take stock of our lives, appreciate it, and ultimately to take care of ourselves because no one else is going to do that for you (believe that).
I remember reading a post (on Facebook of course, haha) where someone was disgusted to witness that the person sitting next to them on a plane was doing nothing but looking straight ahead at the seat in front, listening to music for the entire flight. They thought they were a serial killer or psychopath based purely on the fact that they refused to interact with the entertainment in front of them (other than their iPod occasionally). This baffles me as I often do this; and to me it’s one of the most pleasurable parts of travel: to zone out with music and just reflect on life and to have a dialogue with myself in my own head (not in a crazy way though).
People are not used to being present with themselves or seeing other people be present within themselves; and their ignorance about the matter raises a serious issue about how we as society view introspection and introversion.
As for the impression that you’re giving off if you do this in public – fuck it. Perspective is everything. You could be doing everything the ‘normal’ way and someone somewhere will inevitably find it odd & alarming. You’ll be judged whatever you do so might as well be judged for something you actually want to do.
Enjoy the moment of being with yourself – there’s only so much you can control, other people’s impression of you is not one of those things so focus on what you can control: your own thoughts and how you conduct your inner world. For in the same way that perspective is everything in the sense of other people’s perspective of you, it is also everything in terms of the perspective in which you view the world, which will ultimately influence how you interact & engage with it day to day. And that – THAT – is something that has power.
A personal favorite quote from T.I. on the song No Matter What from Paper Trail:
“If your heart filled with faith then you can’t fear. Wonder how I face years and I’m still chillin’? Easy – let go and let God deal with it”
Take it with whatever view that you wish, but I take it as an empowering message about having faith in yourself, your choices, and your own unconscious. When things turn south and you’re up against adversity let go of your anxieties and let the universe move through you and guide your actions; if you know yourself well and have the capacity to have that dialogue with your unconscious, then you’ll always be in touch with what the universe is trying to communicate to you as your next course of action.
And you’ll ultimately be prepared for anything.