Life Lessons from a Zombie, Part 8: I May be Alone but I'm not Lonely
Welcome to Mental Space Monday! Where we journey inside the rabbit hole of collective consciousness and submit to the whims of curiosity.
Welcome back to all my un-living rock stars and likewise to all you un-groupies! You have made it to part 8 of the Zombie Diaries series! – In case you are just tuning in, we are tapping into the secrets of life through the un-dead perspective using the 10 traits exhibited by people who have had near death experiences. Near death for us here includes emotional, psychological, life-altering moments that, while our hearts may never have stopped beating, we certainly feel like we have died; divorce, loss of a loved one, loss of a job, depression; anything that is so mind-altering that we re-examine all assumptions and beliefs we previously carried around with us through life. This week’s un-dead characteristic:
Zombie Trait #8: The ability to enjoy solitude and silence.
Those of us who have been to the other side of life's curtain know that getting here means facing A. Lot. of resistance. And then more and then more and you flail and kick and scream and hold on with all that is in you to avoid the crossover into the world of the non-living. And then, suddenly, all the pieces align. You have broken the barrier between "I can't" and "I won't" and "life" over into some floating, zen, dazed quiet.
The moment when you cross that threshold you find your bliss, your zen, your own personal Walden Pond inside you. There is clarity you have never known and perspective you never knew was even possible. The noise, the chaos, the stress seems separate from you. There are no more distractions. You don't have any energy stores left to fight against your ego and the world around you and once that surrender kicks in ... there is silence. And some new ability to sit in that silence. With your self. By your self. And revel in it.
Elbert Hubbard says “He who does not understand your silence will probably not understand your words.” How much more truth does this hold if you don't learn to understand your own silence? But your near-death or new undead-ness brings about an understanding, a resonance with this lack of distraction. The awesome online magazine Nautilus has a whole article on the topic called This is Your Brain on Silence. Apparently the word noise has its roots in latin for queasiness or pain - we simply run at such a pace through our minutes and hours that we don't take notice of the discomfort it causes. But it is even scientifically clear that the milk ads in the 80s got it all wrong and actually, silence does a body good.
Nautilus says that not only have epidemiologists discovered correlations between high blood pressure and chronic noise sources like highways and airports. But also that "Later research seemed to link noise to increased rates of sleep loss, heart disease, and tinnitus." I have that last one and take it from me, a constant, never-ending ringing in your ears is not awesome when you are trying to meditate. Nonetheless, there is ample research to show that we need silence to thrive in life (or even in the un-life). Here is a great article from Ariana Nikitina on the benefits of even 15 minutes of silence.
So once we have made peace with silence (maybe not all the time - I do still like to shake it to some mad tunes even after my "death") We are left alone; with the solitude. But we enjoy that now that we are undead, yes?
The etymology of solitude can mean both alone and lonely. These words have 2 very different meanings and those of us in the "undead" category know full well the beauty of being alone. The root of lonely has a sense of incompleteness as if it is an unfinished state of being. Inherent within lonely is a lack of something. The Online Etymology Dictionary gives us "dejected for want of company".
Alone, on the other hand is fully formed. It comes from an Old English contraction of all ana "unaccompanied, all by oneself," "wholly one" In his book A Beginner's Guide to Constructing the Universe, Michael S. Schneider discusses the infinite that is contained within the number 1. He quotes Isha Upanishad in saying, "Whence shall he have grief, how shall he be deluded who sees everywhere the Oneness?" That oneness that Alexander Pope calls "One stupendous whole". Schneider compiles mathematical, religious and philosophical works that agree (sounds like history is scattered with Zombies like us) they all have a similar perspective on solitude - the Oneness, the source, the womb, the monad: the essence and root of all others.
Embrace the delusion; enjoy the results. Have a wonderful day my lovelies.
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