Solitude and Self Reflection

By Chen, Hua-Shuan, LDP Cycle 3, Dept. of Japanese Language and Literature


Course Introduction: The course aims at cultivating the spirituality of leaders. The venue will be deep in the mountains where people rarely go. The course includes 24 hours of solitary time, 72 hours of solitary time and then group communication. Instructors will help set goals before the solitary time, during which participants are not allowed to meet or talk with others.

Taking the course of solitude is a hard decision for me. I want to grow and want to be safe as well. I want to be independent and be responsible for myself; however, I also hope others to ensure I will be fine. I hope to come close to the nature, staying away from the secular world; however, I fear supernatural things very much. My bad habit of independence gets worse and worse because of my cowardice and ignorance. The teacher told us: “Don’t be afraid to be with yourself. You are not so terrible.” Others fear to face themselves, while my fear has such shallow origins! Aside from my concern for my own safety, am I avoiding facing myself, too? I hadn’t figured it out before I went on the journey.

Among lots of miscanthus floridulus, I sat and watched the grass. The landscape put orange and dark green together. For a short while, I felt at ease in my own world. However, as I turned around, I saw the silent two pieces of blue and white plastic cloth, in which I was about to stay at night! Sadly I could not help but have the cloth in place, get some stones and started to build up my “home” step by step. The question was: I was so bad at making tent. I remembered how the teacher taught us to make ties, but I was not sure how to make the tent stable with the knots. Time after time, when I was done with the left part, the right part collapsed, and when I was done with the right part, the left part collapsed. I spared no pains and repeated the same work, trying to fix the alpenstock in place with stones. It seemed like I forgot something. After so much failure, I hadn’t learned the lesson and the tent kept collapsing. All of a sudden, I recalled the tip! I should have tied the stone and alpenstock together with a thread! I got some large stones and tied them one by one. With the right method, I succeeded very soon. Seeing the built-up tent, I felt great sense of achievement.

After that, I picnicked beside the tent with ease, enjoying the wonderful free time. I watched the sceneries, playing with the miscanthus floridulus beside until the landscaped was colored orange by the setting sun. I turned around, and just found my tent collapsed on one side again! Did the knots loosened up? I stepped forward and saw the broken alpenstock. My heart sank as a cold current drew near.

However, I had been lucky enough. Though I had spent the whole afternoon making the tent and the alpenstock had broken, it hadn’t started raining until I fixed these all. I hid in the tent, watching the sceneries through the transparent rain, and I felt an unknown sense of serenity. The uncertain had passed. I felt lots of gratitude inside. My “home” was fragile but somehow stable. I decided to name my tent “Wind Stopper”! As I made the tent in the chills, my heart felt hope of seeing the blue sky. Fortunately, I had found the way to build the tent. Now it was raining a little outside. The fluid sceneries in the dark were beautiful as water. Thinking of what I had been through in the afternoon, now my heart could stay still despite of the weather.

Just like this, I stayed alone silently. I didn’t know how much time had passed before I started to think of my mother. I wanted to tell her what had just happened. I wanted to tell her that I did it! I built a tent myself! For long, others had run the world for me and protected me from both the wind and the rain. Now, it was about time to change! The sound of rain was leaving; a galaxy of stars appeared in front of my eyes. I needed to make a promise to myself.

I thought about so much. Under the dark sky, I thought about the important people in my lives as well as many significant or insignificant things. I thought more as the time passed.

There had always been an unanswered question in the deep of my heart. It had prevented me from moving forward. I had been so concerned, but couldn’t have done anything to help. Was it I that cared about the hair-splitting too much? What should I do? What did I really want? I indulged myself in every part of the memory. Sometimes I felt confused, and sometimes I felt happy. However, I couldn’t think these feelings over. Finally, I wrote these secrets down on my notebook. Gradually, things became clear. The great tides in my heart calmed and the mists cleared up. Word by word, I studied the hidden feelings deep in my heart and realized something. I wrote down a passage carefully, “If you ask, I am ready to tell you all about what I feel.” After all, all the answers are in my heart, nowhere else.

Now I have lots of hopes and expectations, which I don’t want to miss nor fail. I want to build for myself the most beautiful heart.

Deep in the mountains, at the altitude of 2,500 meters, I had known more about myself. After I left, these would become the lasting landscape in my dream, staying forever in my heart.