SEED QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: What is the importance of solitude in your life? Can you share a personal story of a time when you experienced the value of solitude? How do you balance the need for solitude with the need for community in your life?
For those who find being alone difficult, start with creating an escape room in your mind, a quiet place to retreat to now and then. Use whatever stimuli you wish - or nothing at all. From there it may be easier to enjoy true solitude. Like others, I need my own time and space to feel centered.
Solitude has become more important in my life as I age. I seem to crave it more than ever. Perhaps this is also due to how interconnected we've become through technology; we are seemingly never alone with text messages buzzing at all hours, Facebook messages or notifications popping up and as the writer said, we can connect in ways like never before and yet so many feel so alone and disconnected. Solitude for me is in the mornings when I wake and sip my tea, crunch through an apple and just sit and look out the window. I feel fortunate that most days I really enjoy my own company and over the last 15 years have chosen to do many activities solo. True I meet people along the way and I enjoy meandering through a village or city on my own taking in the sights and sounds at my own pace. I am also an extrovert so need face to face with people too, and I admit Facebook has at times been a life saver when I am in depression and perhaps not as able to reach out in person. The balance of solitude and community in my life is to be sure to have quiet time each day to myself and then at least 3 times a week to go out and do something with friends; even if that doing is simply sitting together. HUGS from my heart to yours and here's to solitude![Hide Full Comment]
I find lack that spending no time alone - even if I am meditating to slowly produce a lot of unwanted noise in my body and I can become irritable, a simple walk in nature is often all it takes to enable me to loose the shackles of claustrophobia but real time alone away from all and in silence is a blessing that can re-charge my soul.
My husband has Parkinson's Disease. I am his only caregiver at this point. I need my solitude in the mornings before he gets us to renew myself and be able to face the day. I limit my time with other people especially ones who are negative. The energy it takes to be a caretaker is breathtaking especially the emotional toll it drains from me. The morning solitude is a must.
I crave solitude each day, especially when I am hurt or challenged by something. It provides a safe haven for me to wrestle with issues and come to some resolution. I am able to retreat to this solitary place for introspection and reflection which I so desperately need during these times. It isn't lonely at all, just reassuring and peaceful. After spending this time with a cup of tea, Telemann and Vivaldi, I am good to go!
When I sit still and mindfully explore my inner land- scape of bodily sensations, thoughts and feelings compassionately, I deeply feel connected with me. I just got a call from my client who is feeling very lonely, bored and depressed.I asked her to do mindfulness meditation with me on the phone.In the beginning it was difficult for her to let the bodily sensations, thoughts and feelings come and go.She started feeling close and more connected with herself and with me too.A bridge of empathy, compassion, authenticity and connectedness was being built from a long distance call. It was a short session on the phone but it was very effective.I felt pretty good for being with her when she needed my help and she expressed her gratitude for being for helping her.
So we need solitude, stillness, for nurturing ourselves and also for nurturing others in our life. I use technology wisely and I am teaching my grand children to use social media wisely. Slowly and steadily they are getting the message and I am not in hurry.
May we cultivate kindness and compassion for ourselves and others to learn how to be still in the midst of ongoing noise within and without us.
Jagdish P Dave
I think there is a lot of truth in Pascal's statement that "All men's miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone." Alone is a basic condition of being human. We can run from it, but ultimately we are each alone, even while we are in community. I can be alone in solitude, which I think is important because it's time with myself to be quiet, reflect, regroup, and get to know me better. As the author said, solitude enables us to secure the integrity of the self as well as to explore it. I take at least an hour and a half alone almost every morning to exercise, meditate, maybe read or write a little, and I love that time -- it's nourishing for me. I can also enjoy community where relationship, different perspectives, agreement and disagreement are available. I have a need for both solitude and community, though my need for community seems less than my need for solitude. Solitude-community is one of those dialectics we live in the tension of. After enough solitude I gravitate toward community, and after a dose of community I move back to solitude. Solitude and community stimulate one another and I grow in the back and forth.[Hide Full Comment]