There are a lot of distractions.
Smart phones. Social media. Making a living. Paying the bills. Friends. Family. Social obligations. Recreational activities. Trips. Some of these things we love, some of them not so much. But are we here to just entertain ourselves and have fun? Have more toys, more friends, more fun trips? (I love trips).
My favourite time of day is in the early morning, before the sun rises, before the world wakes up. When I can be fussed to pull myself out of bed that early, l love it. There are less distractions in the early morning. It is a time of day when there is enough quiet to really begin to listen. Listen to deep within the heart, the whispers and the shouts. To start to hear what's calling me, to initiate the inquiry into who I am.
Life offers us many distractions that draw our attention away from spending time learning about our real selves beyond our roles, labels and identities that we have taken on, from getting to know ourselves and our true nature. When do we have time to even ASK that question as the complicated matrix of life railroads over us? And what are we losing out on by not making the time?
From a young age I was asking "what is it all for?" and "why are we here?". I think I asked my grade two teacher about how does one reconcile one's belief in god and the bible with the existence of dinosaurs? (in grade 2'ers language of course) (That teacher may have had an existential breakdown after that as she went on "sick leave" shortly after, never to return to school).
I have always been naturally curious about it all and never quite satisfied to just continue to acquire more stuff, get a mortgage, buy a house, have kids all of that. Not that there is anything wrong with that. But it all just seemed like more distraction, more worldly engagement leaving less time for inquiry into the nature of life and existence. Even my marriage was not because either of us WANTED to get married. Neither of us ever did. But we did want to not spend our lives apart, so in our case, marriage was the only way out of that, but also, another distraction, as you both strive to de-tangle the intricacies of what marriage means. This being said, all of life's engagements are an opportunity to practice, whether you are in a partnership, or you are a parent, or in other relationships with friends, coworkers. Relationship is the perfect training ground for us to heal, grow and learn about ourselves. But I think that is only part of the picture. The other part, at a certain stage, requires solitude. Even if it is solitude in small, stolen doses.
We need to make a living, pay bills, take care of business, spend time with our loved ones, nurture and support them as they nurture and support us but we need to not neglect our inner world, we need to not neglect, that self-inquiry. We need to carve out time, somehow, somewhere, for our own education of self. We need to spend time alone, if we are so inclined, to see what we are all about, to clear out the distractions for a few moments everyday to make time, for just us.