On occasion, it is important for a person to engage in self-reflection. Being able to look at the microcosm that is the mind, body, and soul is as important as being able to see the world and community around you. Humans are communal animals, born into a tribe/clan/family/culture. Throughout history though there are stories and traditions of hermits and lone holy men that return to nature and shun to interaction of humanity as a whole. There are several pathways out there that call for this silent and sometimes lone reflection of the universe that is us (or me).
I have talked before about the balance of individual and community. I still believe that it is important for the majority of society to exists in a healthy coexistence with the people and culture around them. This is not a matter of shaping ourselves to fit into a role or niche but more of understanding the expectations and definitions of the world around us. Sometimes though, especially in the hectic world of today, it becomes necessary to step away for a time (hours, days, weeks, etc.) to refocus our energies and put into perspective our place in the universe.
Too often though this reflection and introspection is coupled with sickness. When we take up the role of the patient, it means that for at least a bit we have to exist on our own, away from humanity. This gives some the time for rest and self-actualization. Unfortunately, this view of ourselves is often cast away when we return to the healthy world, putting the “fevered dreams” behind us for another day. I wonder sometimes if this is for the best or if we would all benefit from a chance to listen to silence.
Questions such as “Who am I?” or “What do I want out of life?” are very loud when the silence of the world envelops us.