If it weren't for the pact I made with my daughters -- to stop apologizing except in situations where it is unquestionably appropriate to do so -- I would apologize, not just for yesterday's post, but for the last few days' posts. It's not that they are bad, exactly, but they've been coming more from my head than from my heart. And when that happens, it feels a bit like this photograph -- like I'm attempting to make stuff pretty in arbitrary ways that are not consistent with nature, or grounded.
Part of the problem is that my back has been out for the last several days, which always tends to make me cranky and unfocused (pain and sickness manifest for lots of people that way, I think) but also my meditations have been less than satisfying, caught up in business and details and monkey mind stuff, so I've been feeling out of touch with what Freeman calls solitude.
"Merely withdrawing to a desolate or secluded place does not guarantee solitude. Physical or psychological isolation no more creates solitude than candles and incense make prayer. The need for solitude means more than the psychological need for space and time alone. Solitude is much more than being alone. It is the discovery, the recognition and the acceptance of one's uniqueness.
This uniqueness should not be confused with what the ego thingks of as its specialness at the centre of the universe. All the ego's claims for special treatment are only a pale reflection of the radiant uniqueness inherent in the Self...it can only be experienced when the separateness of the individual has been dissolved and given way to indivisibility, in the non-duality of the Spirit. The true nature of solitude, according to Ramana Maharshi, is not determined by where you live or what you do, but by the absence of thought. Solitude is realised by stilling the surface levels of consciousness."
It's that stillness I've been missing -- for whatever reason -- both from my meditations and from my photos, and if that's what you come here to touch into, then I thank you for your patience with its absence. Life works that way sometimes, as if we've just drunk too many cups of coffee or had too much sugar: everything seems to have this vibratory unsettled quality. Which is why true solitude and the peace that rises with it are so important.
Something tells me we'll all need to work a little harder to cultivate that for a while. It's easy to get caught up in the "stuff" of life, and to forget that a calm centeredness may be the best way we can give back to the world. But if we can do it, create these calm pools of peace around us, even if only for a few moments a day, I do believe that we are not the only ones who will benefit.