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Solitude and Companionship
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I love the company of congenial people. I sparkle; we enjoy mutual admiration; they inspire me. I look forward with great anticipation to spending time with friends of a compatible nature and enthusiastic frame of mind. I relax with companions with whom I can be quiet, sharing music and subtle evening shadows and tumbling seashore waves.

But too much company, even of the most delightful kind, wears me out. I find myself yearning for solitude, for quiet time when I cannot be disturbed, where there is no one to intrude with questions or problems or even happy news. That time alone is vital for mind and spirit, allowing the connections to the universe to be renewed and strengthened and mind and spirit cleansed of the corruption and acidic energy of every day.

"I find it wholesome to be alone the greater part of time. To be in company, even with the best, is soon wearisome and dissipating. I love to be alone, I never found a companion so companionable as solitude."--Henry David Thoreau

India provided a perfect balance. During the planting, growing and harvest seasons, as I have said in every entry, there was nothing that was done that was private or secret. Privacy is accorded to one's attending to bodily functins by being ignored; the night provides its own kind of privacy, but really the village could have been described as a living, breathing entity, all the parts connected to the others, interacting.

When, after six months or so, I could sit with the women and engage in the kind of "woman chat" that I imagine is found the world over among women's groups, without the separateness of always being an outsider, I felt that I had become part of that living organism called a village.

The monsoon brought a blessing for me that went beyond rain and renewal of the land. When it's raining that hard, no one goes about much, no one visits; mostly I sat in my hut with several candles burning for light and read. Or just contemplated the whichness of what in silence.

The rhythms of life in India suited me just perfectly (including the midday siesta). A time of close companionship, living and working together, balanced by a monsoon season, a time of solitude and quiet (except for the rain drumming on every surface and running in noisy rivulets across the compound and down the path). I wish my life now had a time of quiet contemplation to balance off the constant company of other people, real and virtual.

I begin to grok why some mystics and holy people retire to the tops of mountains to meditate.

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