When I was in my 30s I had a period of conducting experiments on myself. I started with a month of not speaking. I wasn’t working, but I continued to do everything else that I ordinarily do. I met friends and went to parties, I shopped and travelled, I dealt with the engineer who came to fix the boiler (who chatted to me, ascertained that I couldn’t/ wouldn’t speak, and then asked me on a date :D) I communicated a small amount via writing but mostly without words. It was a profoundly moving experience on many levels. I repeated the experiment some months later, during the summer holidays when I was again off work but this time house sitting on my own for a friend, when I chose to retreat and interact with no one. I also did not use lights in the evenings, and was working intensely on writing my book, Dancing the Paradox – all recipes for entering a different realm of reality. A few months later I decided to spend a couple of days in a blindfold. My memory is generally very poor but the experience is still vivid. I have always been curious as to what life is, how we might understand it better, and in spiritual awakening and opening. Each of these experiments had profound and longlasting effects. The loss of a faculty that I have taken for granted since birth was utterly disquieting and sometimes depressing. But also strangely rich. As though the life and energy that it normally used was forced into a different place in my being. A pervasive quiet and depth appeared, which became an ongoing thread in my experience.

It came to me, in this current odd time, that social isolation has the same qualities for me. The loss of basic freedoms and contact has brought with it a different experience of what and how life is. Another deeply challenging and rich, spiritually awakening experience. Except that this time we are all in it together.

Join me to laugh, breathe, connect and relax every weekday 5.30pm for 15 mins on Zoom: https://zoom.us/j/283525953

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Experiment in Social Isolation