Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Alienation or liberation?

I was going to write something else today. It's weird how one minute you feel like spilling your guts about something you believe is really important and then the next you're backtracking and thinking of something totally different (but hopefully equally important).

Sometimes I worry I'm giving away someone else's story, or worse, someone else's secrets, in these blogs. By being brutally honest in my writing, I start to see myself ratting out my own friends and family. Even when I try to be really vague and civil, private information spills out and I hesitate to click that little orange button asking me if I want to "publish" my words. I don't want to hurt anyone.

So tonight, instead of sharing with you some weird socially analytical piece of prose, I'm simply going to tell you about something entirely me - without the influence of anyone. And without bringing their privacy into the story.

I'm in my room and I've tried my best to shut myself off from the world - if only for a few minutes. I'm trying to be alone, and I'll risk seeming stand-offish as I alienate the world.

Lying on my bed, I stare into a corner next to my door and try not to think. Not to think of anyone or anywhere or anything. Just the place where two adjacent walls meet.

And it works - for about a half a second. The only time I'm really not thinking of anything other than the wall is as I fix my eyes to the spot of concentration. It's like for that instant my mind has tuned out all other sounds and sights are gone. As soon as the effort is done, I've lost my sense of zen and fallen back into a mind overwrought with outside stimulants.

But they're not the usual things that cloud my mind. They're a lot more tangible.

I start to feel my heart beating in my chest and in my left ear. I hear sounds coming from another room, but I don't think about what they are. I notice the light from a lamp is shining in the corner of my eye, but I don't move myself away to protect my vision.

And I stop thinking about all of the things that have been bothering me all day.

Most of my problems in life are from external factors, not internal. When I think about how most of the worst issues of my day-to-day existence come to be, they don't usually originate with me. They involve my friends, my family, my school, my responsibilities.

What if all of those things were gone - just for a moment?

It's hard to find ways to erase the world. One time I remember quite distinctly was when the power in my house went out one afternoon. I sat around in my room, unsure of what to do. I could call my dad or go on Facebook or something else incredibly 21st century-esque, but I decided I needed to take this time to be reflective. I actually had to actively make the decision to not be an active participant in society - it was hard, but more terrific than difficult.

Sitting on my bed that day I just looked out my window. I could hear birds chirping and see the sun beating down on my windowsill. The rest of life took the backseat to the very immediate feeling of being. In my own personal space, in my room in the daylight with the sounds of nature, the little squabbles of society didn't exist.

I don't take enough moments to stop thinking about the people and the expectations that go along with them. It's funny because humans really are incredibly self-centered; why would we ever let the problems of the world weigh on us when we could just take an afternoon sitting in a quiet room to let everything fall away from thought?

This is a question I face daily, especially as I tack on more responsibilities to my life and put myself in awkward and awful situations to please others.

When I tried to cut off the world staring at the wall, I was facing this same feeling of the need to be a participant in my own little internet/telephone/television world, and how that felt in contrast to the need to be alone with myself for a little while.

What we all really, absolutely, positively need is a moment to reflect that does not involve anyone else. If only to maintain our sanity.

Being by yourself doesn't have to alienate you, but it will definitely liberate you.

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