“As soon as we are alone,…inner chaos opens up in us. This chaos can be so disturbing and so confusing that we can hardly wait to get busy again. Entering a private room and shutting the door, therefore, does not mean that we immediately;y shut out all our inner doubts, anxieities, fears, bad memories, unresolved conflicts, angry feelings and impulsive desires. On the contrary, when we have removed our outer distraction, we often find that our inner distraction manifest themselves to us in full force. We often use the outer distractions to shield ourselves from the interior noises. This makes the discipline of solitude all the more important.” ― Henri J.M. Nouwen, Making All Things New
Yes, spending time to meditate and being still in our times of solitude can feel surprisingly chaotic at first because when the outside distractions of the social environment are removed, we are faced with our inner thoughts and emotions. Buddhists often call our busy thought life the “monkey mind” because our mind is often busy with thoughts like a monkey chattering incessantly. It is rewarding, however, when we persevere in being still and observe our thoughts and emotions, watching them passing by and surfacing and receding back into our subconscious, like the residues in a glass of water settling down after it has been stirred, we can see through the water clearly again. Our thoughts and emotions may still be present with us, but we will be able to observe them with clarity and calmness. So yes, cultivating the discipline of solitude is important in this respect, as noted by Henri Nouwen.