I believe a little solitude every so often is good for the soul and my chosen place to do some soul searching this time were the mountains - ginormous, glorious, jagged, sky-high peaks. Ever since I was a child, I’ve always been attracted to mountains and I understand why saints, sages and writers have often turned to them for solitude.
Solitude is a state often forgotten (or feared) by many. I was completely disconnected from the world when I was there, which meant I was devoid of any network; my phone being the useless appendage (fortunately, except for the camera). It’s easy to live on autopilot. Surrounded by work, responsibilities, routines. All of it is important, yes, but sometimes life loses its purpose or rationale. Life can start seeming like one giant blob, much like the black blob of paint you create when you mix all the colours in your palette. Solitude helped the things that I do everyday find meaning again.
Most importantly, being disconnected also meant that I wasn’t distracted. I didn’t have social media, whatsapp or Youtube and I didn’t have to or (feel the need to) catch up with something or someone. I had nothing to do but stare and marvel at the sky and be mesmerised by tiny villages perched precariously on cliff edges.
I was truly living in the moment, which felt both really good but also a little scary. Scary because staying without distractions and (constantly) checking in with ourselves can seem like quite the difficult task. Sometimes, we are afraid of what we will find or feel. However, if we don’t have a space for voluntary solitary confinement, not a prison but a quiet corner of room, how will we ever get to know ourselves?
The by-product of solitude is reconnecting with yourself, which in turn helps one with connecting with others. Solitude (even if it lasted for a little while) meant that I had the ability to be more sure of my needs and wants, and could charge myself to be more attentive to the people around me.
Very few people are in the position to renounce the material world and live in the mountains to self actualise. This could work both ways, pondering upon the meaning or the absence of meaning of our existence. At some point, I know that I’d want to recreate the truly present feeling of the mountains in my everyday ordinary life.
Coming back to Mumbai (and these rains) has been helping me with that.
Where I can finally sit at my window and enjoy the rain, petrichor and the present.