Perhaps It Is The Hardest Thing Except For Death

Most of us can’t bear being alone with ourselves–while non-doing.

Someone between jobs in finance is frantically looking for his next job. A solopreneur is bored and worn out by the dog days of summer. Another, an entrepreneur, is almost 40 and terribly lonesome. You can think of many others.

I say most of us can’t bear to be alone with ourselves. Not, I say, to be doing nothing but to be still, to be barely there, only here, here in the peace.

It was the summer of 2012 when I had a philosophical conversation with a lawyer then living in Brooklyn. We were walking in Prospect Park. She spoke at great length. Later, we sat down on a bench.

I said softly, “You can’t be alone with yourself.” She said nothing. Tears slowly rolled down her face and, from there, fell onto the right leg of her shorts, darkening the cloth.

She couldn’t bear being with herself. She saw and felt that. Perhaps it is the hardest thing except for death.