I have a cool job. I get to talk to some of the most interesting people with interesting perspectives. Sometimes I wish I could just transcribe my interviews, so people can read all of the quotes in context. One single article sometimes doesn’t feel like enough.
So I have decided to put some more excerpts from my interviews on here, in case you want a little *more* than the paper has space for.
I am currently working on a story about the importance of solitude and silence.Here are some of my notes on the importance of being alone.
Johann Robbins, of Boulder, who offers guided silent meditation retreats.
The groups are usually 15 to 20 people who spend time together, yet silent, in the mountains for 10 days or so. Robbins leads about four to five retreats per year.
He has also offered wilderness canoe retreats.
More info: http://www.impermanentsangha.com
“The silence is what creates the solitude. If you go into the wilderness alone, that creates solitude because there’s no one to talk to. If you go in with a group and everyone’s chatting, you won’t have that impact. But if you’re with a group and everyone’s quiet, you get the same solitude, but the power of the group. The intention on being silent makes it easier to quiet your mind than even being alone.”
“The idea of practicing in nature for me isn’t sitting with your eyes closed watching your own mind. It’s sitting with your eyes, ears and whole body open and watching nature — but without trying to think, compare, analyze or judge it. Rather than allowing the associative mind to go onto whatever train it does, you bring it back to the present: What am I actually seeing, not what am I looking for or thinking of.”
“Nature reflects back to us our inner nature, our pure inner nature.”
“The way the mind gets habituated to a certain level of intensity and activity, there’s a lot of fear that propels that. So to confront that head on by stopping everything is scary.”"We all try to escape our own minds in different ways. Some do it destructively with drugs and alcohol. But when you go on a vacation, change jobs or partners, essentially what you’re trying to do is change your mind. Your mind is saying, ‘This doesn’t feel good. If I change the external circumstances, my thoughts will be more pleasant and thing will be easier.’ But a lot of times we find we’re back to the same situation and things haven’t really changed. … We’re all trying to change the externals to make the internals feel better.”
“Just by paying attention to something, we change it, we purify it. We don’t have to try to change anything. We just see it, we watch it, and in watching it, it self-purifies.”