To get the full benefit of your periods of solitude, you must sit quietly for at least 30 to 60 minutes at a time. If you haven't done it before, it will take the first 25 minutes or so for you to stop fidgeting and moving around. You'll almost have to hold yourself physically in your seat. You'll have an almost irresistible desire to get up and do something. But you must persist.
Solitude requires that you sit quietly, perfectly still, back and head erect, eyes open, without cigarettes, candy, writing materials, music or any interruptions whatsoever for at least 30 minutes. An hour is better.
Become completely relaxed, and breathe deeply. Just let your mind flow. Don't deliberately try to think about anything. The harder you "don't try," the more powerfully it works. After 20 or 25 minutes, you'll begin to feel deeply relaxed. You'll begin to experience a flow of energy coming into your mind and body. You'll have a tremendous sense of well-being. At this point, you'll be ready to get the full benefit of these moments of contemplation.
The incredible thing about solitude is that if it is done correctly, it works just about 100 percent of the time. While you're sitting there, a stream, a river, of ideas will flow through your mind. You'll think about countless subjects in an uncontrolled stream of consciousness. Your job is just to relax and listen to your inner voice. At a certain stage during your period of solitude, the answers to the most pressing difficulties facing you will emerge quietly and clearly, like a boat putting in gently to the side of a lake. The answer that you seek will come to you so clearly and it will feel so perfect that you'll experience a deep sense of gratitude and contentment. You may get several answers in one period of quiet sitting. But in any case, you'll get the answer to the most important situation facing you every single time.
When you arise from this period of quiet, you must do exactly what has come to you. It may involve dealing with a human situation. It may involve starting something or quitting something. Whatever it is, when you follow the guidance that you received in solitude, it will turn out to be exactly the right thing to do. Everything will be okay. And it will usually work out far better than you could have imagined. Just try it and see.
That brings us to the final point on getting in touch with your feelings: You must learn to trust yourself. You must learn to take time to listen to your emotions and your feelings as to what makes you happy or unhappy, as to what feels right or wrong. You must absolutely trust that what is right for you is the right thing to do. You must never compromise on what your inner voice tells you to do. You must never go against what you feel to be correct. You must develop the habit of listening to yourself and then acting on the guidance you receive.
When you listen to yourself and act on what you hear inside, you are setting out on the road to personal greatness.
Brian Tracy, author of No Excuses!: The Power of Self-Discipline, was born in eastern Canada in 1944 and grew up in California. After dropping out of high school, he traveled and worked his way around the world, eventually visiting eighty countries on six continents. His extensive personal studies in business, sales, management, marketing and economics enabled him to become the head of a $265 million company before he turned his attention to consulting, training and personal development. He is now the president of three companies with operations worldwide. He is married, has four children and lives in San Diego, California. For more information, please visit BrianTracy.com.