Quiet Time Alone

All of humanity’s problems stem from the inability to sit quietly in a room alone.

Blaise Pascal

Back when I truly discovered psychology and read everything I could find that Carl Jung wrote, I came across this story of a client.

A man came to Jung with problems. He was full of anxiety and was driven to succeed, but everyone was driven away from him. Jung advised solitude and stillness. “Go to your office at home, close the door, and sit with yourself for an hour a day,” he prescribed.

Next session, Jung asked how he did. The man replied that he could not sit still. He got up and played on his violin. Then looked at books in his library. He could not sit still. [Note, he didn’t have today’s problem of a smart phone and social media.]

Jung noted that the man couldn’t even bear to be with himself. He said, no, you don’t understand. You don’t do anything. You sit with yourself, quietly, and listen.

Pascal wrote in the 16th century. Jung in the 20th. The famous David of the Hebrew Bible wrote 3,000 years ago of the need for stillness in his songs.

Yet, today, how long can you go without checking Facebook or Instagram? How long can you sit and pray? Let alone meditate? Do you need an app even to spend 5 minutes of quiet time almost alone?

Quiet time alone at least once every day will cure many problems. Maybe you’ll really hear yourself. Maybe you’ll really hear God.

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