Another item learned during this sojourn of the soul is that we can not only be blinded by ourselves, but we can blinded by others.
More specifically, blinded by our desire for the approval of others.
I became conscious over the last week how much I desire the approval of others - and not just the approval, but the conscious sense of being "in" with others. It's the peer pressure of high school, garbed in professional clothing and returned for another go around.
I find myself wanting - desperately wanting - the continued approval of others, to be counted as one of the "crowd". Being outside of the circle has always bothered me, especially for that of information - I seem to crave being in the inner circle "in the know" at a far higher level than I want to consciously admit.
Being apart has made that apparent, as well as the not so dormant longings that continue to exist in me. It's almost like being in grade school again: one finds oneself unconsciously wandering looking for an aggregation, or lingering near a conversation, all in hopes of being engaged in it. If one joins happiness ensues; if not, one wanders back to the increasingly empty office and starts the next pile of work.
Which is why enforced aloneness is a good thing.
I need to work on breaking this incessant need to belong, to be part of the group. I proclaim myself to be an independent individual, yet find that I am too often dependent on others - not for their assistance or help but for their approval. Being off and alone seems to help me pay attention to this, as well as to begin to sort out who I really need to seek approval from.
The more we climb the mount of individuality and let the dross of self and need of approval other be washed away by the high mountain streams of silence and aloneness, the more we find the true call of ourselves.