Our monkey minds never stop chattering. When you become still reality opens to peace and wisdom.

Susan enrolled in a 10 day Vipassna course and it was there that she realised how much thinking happens without an OFF button. People were meditating from 6.30am until 9pm at night. They went for silent walks or back to their rooms with no interaction. Electronic devices, books and actvities were banned to ensure no external stimulation. It was an amazing experience to be with a group of people, not make eye contact, social distancing and be completely alone with your own mind to get to know yourself and recognise how you are run by thoughts mostly unquestioned.

Imagine those in isolation in jails would have similar experiences having to confront their own fearful, angry, frustrated thoughts they would normally be able to distract from, avoid, or project onto others making them wrong, they had to face themselves. Many over the years find peace in jail. Nelson Mandela was in jail for 27 years. According to Gabran Nasir:

When Mandela was first imprisoned at Pretoria Central Prison and thrown into solitary confinement, he had his first encounter with forced isolation. When you read what he has to say, I recommend pausing after every sentence or so. He writes:

For the next few weeks, I was completely and utterly isolated. I did not see the face or hear the voice of another prisoner. I was locked up for twenty-three hours a day, with thirty minutes of exercise in the morning and again in the afternoon. I had never been in isolation before, and every hour seemed like a year. There was no natural light in my cell; a single bulb burned overhead twenty-four hours a day. I did not have a wrist watch and I often thought it was the middle of the night when it was only late afternoon. I had nothing to read, nothing to write on or with, no one to talk to. The mind begins to turn on itself and one desperately wants something outside of oneself on which to fix one’s attention. I have known men who took half a dozen lashes in preference to being locked up alone. After a time in solitary, I relished the company of even the insects in my cell, and found myself on the verge of initiating conversations with a cockroach.

Several decades after this experience, Mandela, then the president of South Africa, was asked about his time in prison. His answer? “I came out mature.” His confrontation with the loudness of his own thoughts stands out as a particularly insightful reminder of what builds strength of character and defines leadership. The first obstacle we must overcome is our own mind. This means that we need to find ways to become comfortable being alone with our own thoughts. Much later in the book he reflects on his own growth and writes:

To survive in prison one must develop ways to take satisfaction in one’s daily life. One can feel fulfilled by washing one’s clothes so that they are particularly clean, by sweeping a corridor so that it is free of dust, by organizing one’s cell to conserve as much space as possible.

Happiness! Australia offers a 30 minute meditation/stillness session to create a space for you to meet you. It is to create a space where you can just be alone with your thoughts, nothing to do, just be. It is not 27 years or a few weeks, it is just a small taster of how important aloneness really is. This is one step on the road to healing and peace. Home alone. Yes!

Below is Happiness Frequency Meditation music. Have a go. Breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth rhymically. Easy peasy.

Contact the Chief Cheer Fool at community@worldpeacefull.com