is solitude in downtown NYC possible?

"Dear Stephen,
You are absolutely right about the fact that silence and solitude can do a lot of
good. But I find it extremely hard to find that in this day and age. Where I live,
there is nowhere to go to get away from the noise or the phone calls. So what's a
person to do?

Anyways, my question to you is: What do you suggest us busy city kids do?"
-jessi mo

jessi...
well first i would suggest what is probably the obvious which is to get away, plan a trip to camp a couple hours away, Buddha wondered out of his castle and wondered about the kingdom and eventually out of the city to seek enlightenment, Jesus spent 40 days in the desert and many times He is said to wonder "into the wilderness". So if you can, leave. Get in your car fill up the tank and pick a direction. go. or bus, or train, or hitchhike, etc.
but more realistically i totally understand that sometimes those things are impossible but honestly one time i found solitude on the strip in Los Angeles, though it sounds amazingly odd, sometimes the wilderness can be nothing more than a concrete jungle. here is how
1. get alone- go to the other starbucks where no one is going to know you, or across town where the chances of running into an equations is nearly impossible.
2. turn it off- turn off your cell phone, your 2 way, your pager, your palm pilot, your sideshows, your handheld internet, etc. the coffee machine is the only acceptable piece of metal allowed.
3. make time- you have to set a time where there is no prior commitments, and make it a solid block of time (like 3 hours) so that way you concentrate on the reason your there and spend the other 2 thinking about what you could be doing instead. block off the time from work, "emergency's", and commitments, which are simply distractions
4. bring your own paper- in big cities you cant simply wonder around talking to yourself like you could all alone in the woods... well you could, but you might be misunderstood. bring a notebook or start a journal, put the thoughts down on paper. this helps because later on in life you can see what battles and problems you faced and how you overcame them.  also sometimes thoughts flow better when your writing them out, some things you can get out with words maybe pen might do. i have found this is also helpful because if something pops into my head that i need to do i simply write it down instead of letting it antagonize my thoughts and time the rest of the night.
5. plan a trip- even though all the above steps may help there is something about nature that draws us closer to the infinite. something inside opens, and our mind naturally wonders and has no need for modern technological entertainment when stars and galaxies unexplored are in eyesight. plan to get out of town, make an effort to get away, get all your friends together to go camping, with the intent that at one point in the day you all agree to spend time alone.
6. ask someone else. i am not the expert on solitude just yet... i am learning along side you so if you or anyone else has suggestions please email me, and i will post them for everyone to learn from
-estaban

 

 

 

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