A mindful proposal: Can you handle 24 hours of solitude?


In our BlackBerried, Twittered, internet-overload culture, our nervous systems are too overstimulated for us to have the time to think. My father, Dr. Leo Chalupa, a neurobiologist and head of research for George Washington University, in 2006 wrote an essay advocating overworked, web-junkie Americans to take 24 hours of absolute solitude. No books, no movies, no texting, no media intake or interaction of any kind. It's just you and your thoughts. For 24 hours. Pretty scary, huh?

"Unless you've spent time in a monastery or in solitary confinement, it's unlikely that you've had to deal with this issue," my father wrote. "The only activity not proscribed is thinking. Imagine if everyone in this country had the opportunity to do nothing but engage in uninterrupted thought for one full day a year! A national day of absolute solitude would do more to improve the brains of all Americans than any other one-day program."