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"Gathering the Light" from the Taois...

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There was a time I felt acute loneliness when house sitting. I’ve stayed in such beautiful and comfortable places that it is inevitable that I would want to share but I don’t really like bringing strangers to other people’s homes and really, I get so accustomed to the silence that it isn’t necessary.

I’ve spent 3 weeks in a city where I didn’t know a soul and managed to deal with being alone…with the exception of a 4 legged friend or two. The mind calms down eventually if you quit fighting it.

I’ve often wondered why solitary confinement in prison was meant to be torturous. I get the obvious reasons, like wondering if you will ever get out and if anyone remembers you are there in the first place, but what is it exactly? Is it that we are such social animals that we can not be alone with our thoughts for too long or we go nutty?

Yes, being locked up in a concrete room the size of a closet isn’t inspirational but the mind is a very strong thing and it will work in our favor if we allow it. As I’ve said before, there are all kinds of prisons and human beings are experts in creating their own solitary confinement at home.

Maybe its just the nature of being an artist that gives me the ability to spend large amounts of time on my own and not get too fruity? Meditation can help in the hours that I feel beleaguered by something. Painting (for me) is a form of meditation in action; like walking meditation. Once I pick up a brush I stop thinking, or I stop trying to control what I think and let the thoughts run amok until they calm down. This is the moment when things get interesting.

Maybe before we throw a prisoner in “the hole” we should give them some tips on meditation? No I can’t really see a burly guard taking a gang-banger aside and teaching him to follow his breath as he tosses him in but it’s not a bad idea.

I don’t have the Science Channel where I am staying at the moment but I found National Geographic and watched Locked Up Abroad. Wow are some people stupid. Anyway, there was one guy who talked about his 3 years in a Korean prison. After struggling with his future, a fellow inmate told him to use the time, not let the time use him. He began to do yoga and meditate and it actually helped.

Whenever I’ve spoken to people about meditation their eyes glaze over and their legs twitch. I know it’s hard to settle down because once we stop distracting ourselves, things we’ve avoided float to the surface. Culturally we are conditioned to avoid those thoughts by always having a distraction until we pass out…but they never go away or shrink if we continue on that path.