The Courage to Be Alone and Silent

By Leanne Surfleet

Image by Leanne Surfleet

Many have preached that searching for happiness in external things is misguided, that only by looking within will one find the light and that otherwise we’re doomed to dwell in darkness. These people obviously did not live in modern day America. This zen business is simply impractical in today’s society. Can self-knowledge pay the bills? I’m never in darkness when there is money to pay the electric bill. That money can’t buy happiness–– I beg to differ! Money sure does buy lots of things that make me ecstatic. What can hours of sitting on the ground crossed-legged looking like a fool get you?

This is how most educated and practical people think today, but in reality what is foolish is for us to continue sacrificing our emotional and physical health to make money and then having to sacrifice money to recuperate our health.

From the moment we are born, sociocultural and educational structures start molding us to become something that is practical and that serves the needs of society. With little regard to what our actual potential might be we are imposed with this false identity.  What happens one day is that in a moment of silence and loneliness  your repressed true self starts expressing itself, this is terrifying. For so long  you thought you knew exactly who you were and what you needed to be happy, and then in a moment of silence you realize none of it is true.

This is the recurring theme in our society, those who seemingly have it made, the ones that have the car, the house, the expensive clothes, the world travel, are still unhappy, in therapy, and on prescriptions.

No one seems too keen on committing to the examined way of life until alas we obtain all the things we thought we needed to be happy and find there is still a void inside.  Whether today or 20 years from now, there will come a time when the importance of this commitment to self-awareness becomes very clear to us. Why waste time and not start today. Have the courage to be alone and silent, and seek to know yourself. An examined self is a fulfilled self.


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Categories: Meditation, Philosophy


My name is Raimy, I’m a soul-searching writer and amateur photographer. Creative-guru is a by-product of a deep creative passion for personal and spiritual growth.

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12 Comments on “The Courage to Be Alone and Silent”

  1. January 15, 2013 at 4:23 am #

    Nice encouragement. Many people fall into Zen or other meditative practices after a serious betrayel or loss which forces them to look deeply and transform suffering (that’s my observation). May you be happy.

    • January 15, 2013 at 4:27 am #

      You know for once I really do think I am happy, thank you! I hope the same for you.

  2. Onel
    January 15, 2013 at 4:54 pm #

    If it is foolish to use up our physical and emotional energies during our time here to be productive in whatever aspect of life we like, then what should we do? I mean, regardless what we do or how we live our bodies and minds are going to age, sicken, decay, and eventually die. So, wouldn’t it make sense to put ourselves to some sort of use before reaching the inevitable?

    • January 15, 2013 at 5:23 pm #

      Onel, this is what I said: wasting physical and emotional energies doing something we hate just for the sake of money. Let me ask you, have you found your passion in life, are you doing something that everyday you wake up you are happy to be doing it and you feel it is meaningful? If so then you have it made and you are just affirming what I’m trying to argue, that we should all strive to do what is in harmony with who we are, something we think is meaningful and that contributes to our wellbeing.

  3. January 29, 2013 at 10:06 pm #

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  4. February 13, 2013 at 4:26 pm #

    This is a pretty great thought here and it astounds me because it is so in line with my own experience. We are fed a dream of lies from the time we start school. The path is supposed to be the same for everyone. It isn’t nor could it ever be. I hope that I am brave enough to sit in the silence and listen. Trusting what I hear. I have made it a point to read something on here every day. A commitment to self awareness should be everyone’s goal, shouldn’t it? Thanks for writing this Raimy, I learn something every time I visit.

    • February 14, 2013 at 6:39 pm #

      Jonathan thank you for your thoughtful comments as always. How is your self-awareness project coming along?

      • February 15, 2013 at 8:07 am #

        Thanks for asking, sometimes I feel like I make leaps and bounds. Then others not so much. When I am creative, that is when I start to get close. Then it seems like work and stuff like that comes along. I am searching for my authentic self and I feel like until I find it, I am kind of in neutral. Funny that the pictures I drew, the first thing you saw was what I feel. I am ready to fly, I am ready to go, but waiting for the destination. I am not clear on that yet.
        Part of me feels like if I learn everything I can about how this crazy thing called life works I will get there quicker. So there is a long answer to a short question. All of the things I write I try to write from the perspective of growth, expressing what is inside, because I think that will take me where I want to go. Love to hear your thoughts and what could get my balloons untied from that fence.

      • February 15, 2013 at 9:37 am #

        Jonathan what if we just took off? What if we chose to discover the way as we go? I feel like the more we plan the more unsure we become, I’ve been dealing with this for a while. I’ve put my graduate degree on pause because I wasn’t sure which way to go, but the more I wait the less sure I am. I think sometimes we just need to go for it and trust that we will choose wisely as we go, trust that inner voice.

      • February 15, 2013 at 9:47 am #

        That is the scariest thing I have ever heard! 🙂 For me, I have contemplated that a lot. Just do it, but finances and reality come to tell me a different story. I have seen one apparent hurdle after another be removed, seeming bad luck be a movement down the path. I would say this, if your heart is truly telling you to go to school, then go! I am sure that the voice I have heard, is saying, Just a little patience. Would you wait a week or a month if you knew that everything and more would be found there? I know I would. This experience is teaching me a lot. I just got into this blogging thing, being active, reading others blogs, learning, finding kindred minds and spirits. It has been a revalation. I used to separate myself, because I thought all of the thoughts I had about a unique self were, strange, or wouldn’t be understood or accepted by others.
        I still hear that reply, just be a little patient all the time, I am trusting that voice. Some days it is hard, because I feel like an animal in a cage, who just wants to run free. But running for no reason will only get me lost and into some other cage.
        Patience, just a little.
        Tell me why have you put off your grad school? What is your stumbling block?

      • February 15, 2013 at 9:53 am #

        It’s good that your listening to your inner voice! I think in time it will get you where you want to be. I’ve been putting it off because there are just so many things I like, so I’ve been trying to narrow it down by getting to know myself a whole lot better.

      • February 15, 2013 at 9:56 am #

        It is tough. You have a lot of talents and interests. There is nothing wrong with being patient. This time is a great opportunity to try them all, evaluate them. How do they make you feel? Are you happy and alive when you do certain things as opposed to others? Speaking as an outside observer, there are no limits for you. None. You can do whatever you want. So do what makes you happy.

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