After reading a chapter in the book “Flow” from Mihali Csikszentmihalyi, I can only do a little deliberation about the meaning of solitude in our lives.
We are surrounded by people, surrounded by stimuli. Work, television, commercials, streets crowded with people.
Mass culture of the Western world makes it quite complex to find a moment of solitude, a real moment of solitude. But the worst is that, when it happens, we are not educated to deal with it.
“Most of the people have an overwhelming feeling of emptiness when they’re alone”. When you are alone and there is nothing to be done, the thoughts flood the mind.
And a poorly educated conscience will not separate the negative thoughts from the constructive ones. It is in these moments when you feel overwhelmed by the feeling of loneliness and emptiness; when you start thinking about the meaning of your life, if you are fatter, or you don’t like your job, Is my partner cheating me?, Is this the life I wanted?.
Maintain an internal order is very complex, “We need external objectives, external stimuli, feedback from the environment to sustain attention. And when we need extra information, the attention wanders, and thoughts can be chaotic resulting in the state that we have called [ … ] psychic entropy”.
With no tasks that keep your mind busy, a poorly educated conscience can not prevent the unconstructive thoughts that usually are are placed in the foreground. Thus, concerns and potential problems take control of your mind.
As most people are unable to face the psychic entropy and put a constructive order their thoughts, they fill their free time with jobs that keep their mind busy, like watching TV, writing in social networks, and even taking drugs. Instead of structuring their emotions, they ignore them focusing on an external stimulus that distracts the mind of thoughts. They do not face themselves.
“Equipped with the minimum level of internal discipline, these people inevitably accumulate entropy with each passing year. Disappointments in their work, the decline of physical health, the usual destination setbacks are building a mass of negative information that increasingly threatens their peace of mind. How to get away from these problems? If a person does not know how to control their attention in solitude, will inevitably take easy external solutions: drugs, fun, pleasure, always distracting the mind.
But these responses are regressive, they do not lead anywhere. The way to grow while enjoying life is to create a higher form of order that keeps us away from entropy, which is an inevitable condition in life. That means taking every challenge as something that should not be suppressed or avoided, but as an opportunity to learn and improve skills”.
So what are constructive ways to enjoy your free time? Face your thoughts, not ignoring them but understanding and analyzing them. But above all, we must “fill our free activities that require concentration, that increase our skills, producing a greater development of our personality”.
Look for the growth, the evolution; no progress on autopilot.