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Word Gems 

exploring self-realization, sacred personhood, and full humanity


How To Sit Quietly
In A Room Alone

You Cannot Find Yourself 'Out There'



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While in a showroom of a tire shop, I couldn't help overhear an animated conversation by the sales clerks. It went something like this:

“He doesn’t work here anymore."

“What happened to him?”

“He went on a long round-the-world trip, to the Far East, to the Himalayas; who knows where else. Said he wanted to find himself.” (starting to laugh)

(mocking) “Find himself!?”

“Yeah. He was lucky to have rich parents to foot the travel bill of $40,000.”

“It’s expensive to find yourself. Did it work?”

“Nahh. Last time I heard, he’s still the same.”


the misguided plan, and the fear, of finding oneself

As I see it, there are two main reasons why people can’t sit quietly in a room alone:

(1) They want to find themselves and believe that the discovery will be made, with all manner of activity, “out there.”

(2) They don’t want to find themselves and believe that the discovery will be thwarted by distracting themselves, repressing themselves, with all manner of activity, “out there.”


a fixation on 'doing'

Notice that both of the above options center upon activity or “doing.” Allowing oneself an experience of “being” is not usually sought for.

While it’s not possible to find oneself “out there” in the domain of externality, the fellow who went world-traveling exhibits a certain virtue for us to note: at least he wasn’t afraid to try to find himself.

Most people are terrified at the prospect. This is why repression is such a popular pastime.