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The Cave of Solitude

Articles Inspirational articles from Hay House authors

The Cave of Solitude

Learning to be alone is part of the journey.
Jeff  Johnson
Jeff Johnson More by this author
Dec 27, 2009 at 09:00 AM

Often at workshops, participants ask why they have to go through loneliness to reach their personal best. Experience has shown me that no one completes the journey to his or her personal best without a period of going it alone. This period of solitude is like going into a cave. You’re in the world but no longer of it.

For some reason, this period of seeming isolation will be the result of natural evolution. People who were once part of your loyal tribe no longer share your vision. Or you may need to answer an inner call to prepare for the next level. Either way most of us haven’t prepared the kind of lifestyle that supports prolonged solitude.

Stop! Don’t be scared and don’t punk out before you even start. Read on to learn why your “cave” experience is so necessary, and how to use it as a springboard for reaching your best self. During this crucial time, you will need three things.

First is an unwavering source of light that keeps you connected to a clear picture of your destination, because periods of solitude can often make you feel as if you’re standing in the dark. It’s at this stage more than any other on your journey that you must have an indelible and detailed picture of your best. As with any picture, the closer you get to it, the more details you should be able to see. This is not some form of modern art that looks great far off, but when you get close it turns into a dizzying mix of colors and textures. This picture of your best actually glows. Your light is not simply the light at the end of the tunnel that will guide you out of the cave of solitude. It’s also the torchlight to help you discover the secret treasures hidden in the darkness. In practical terms, your focus will be on the detailed picture of your best and the thought of being in and taking up residence in that place. Remember, this is a picture of you, in this moment, being your best, not you en route to your best. That’s what makes the picture radiate its own special light.

The second thing you need for your cave experience is food, meaning information. During this period you need to consume as much information about your destination as possible. You should be reading instead of talking with friends on the phone, or surfing the Internet’s vast information buffet in search of clues about your destination. Think of it as the time spent before going on vacation when you’re researching where to eat, the must-see areas, the best beaches, or the hottest clubs. Your cave research will prepare you to find your way around a place you’ve never been to before, which in this case is your personal best life. When you’re searching for your best, you must identify what it is that’ll feed you. Is it a book on how to be a better parent, or do you need a DVD on building a website? Will you take a business class at the community college, or will you seek counseling for some lingering emotional issue in your life? Your daily food requirement consists of whatever will strengthen you to become your best and give you the power to stay there.

Finally, you need confidence. The belief that allowed you to start your journey now must be transformed into a swagger that allows you to walk into new places, even the darkest of caves, with your head held high. Your belief got you here, but now it’s not enough. At this point, you must go beyond belief. Confidence is not faith. Confidence is about knowing who you’re not, knowing who you are, and knowing who you’re getting ready to become. Now you must move beyond who you think you can become to arrive at who you know you are.

If you fail to take these three things—light, food, and confidence—into your cave of solitude, you may not make it out. Although many people are afraid of solitude, it actually provides three things that are essential for reaching your personal best:

  • The opportunity to walk alone
  • The silence to hear the Universe
  • The confidence to walk with freedom
About Author
Jeff  Johnson
Jeff Johnson is the host of BET’s The Truth with Jeff Johnson, and a weekly commentator on the nationally syndicated Tom Joyner Morning Show. Johnson’s interviews truly “represent” 21st-century America—showcasing grass-roots organizers Continue reading