06 May 2014

I've been trying to do this for years. Decades, maybe.

Inside the thick stone walls of the villa, on the unpopular side of the tiny island, well before the start of the high season, I can hear nothing but the refrigerator. When that clicks off, it's completely silent.

Not 'London silent', with distant rumblings of traffic, unexplained banging from upstairs neighbours, erratic sirens, muffled television. Properly silent. Even straining, there's nothing at all.

I'm a 40-minute walk from the nearest 'village', featuring a bakery, a corner store, a few restaurants and a scattering of people whose English isn't much better than my Greek. But I'm self-sufficient for food and there's nowhere I need to be.

This is day two. I've done a ten-day silent meditation retreat that wasn't this isolating.

There are no distractions. This has been my dream for a long time. But, instead, I find that I'm distracting myself. I've been leaning harder on facebook, on gchat telepathy, just to feel a part of the world that I've successfully disconnected myself from.

I can't work out if that means I need more of this or less. It might just be an adjustment period; life in London is so socially saturated that I imagine it moves the set-point, and the mind needs a few days to adapt. But if I'm going to unplug the net connection and spend a few days literally talking to no one, I need a good reason, and I'm not sure that I've got one.

A long time ago, I learned that I don't actually need to stop. Perhaps it's also true that I don't need as much quiet as I'd thought.