“Being solitary is being alone well: being alone luxuriously immersed in doings of your own choice, aware of the fullness of your own presence rather than of the absence of others. Because solitude is an achievement, it is your distinctive way of embodying the purposes you have chosen for your life, deciding on these rather than others after deliberately observing and reflecting on your own doings and inclinings, then committing yourself to them for precisely these reasons.” ~ Alice Koller, The Stations of Solitude …
Although some of us might dread the thought of being alone, the benefits that are available to us through solitude are astounding and of great importance in our lives. Being alone offers us a fulfillment that can only come from activity that is purposeful, self-determined, and free-spirited. It is through our journeys in silence that we gain insightful and introspective understanding of ourselves so that in time, we might realize personal growth and meaning in our lives.
Much of society tends to look unfavorably at being alone. Somewhere along the way, we came to associate solitude with failure and unpopularity, or with wasted time and boredom; its presence, therefore, became indicative of a problem or shortcoming in our lives. Of course, this is not the reality of solitude. And when we manage to come full circle on our views, instead of running from solitude, we grow to embrace its company; and the times we are alone become one of the most important elements of our lives–occasions in which we can spend essential time in reflection and seriously consider our lives and where we fit in this world.
Solitude has so much to offer each of us. It allows us to slow down and appreciate the peace and quiet that is available to us in life. It allows us to formulate our own thoughts and feelings instead of reacting to other’s thoughts, words, and actions. It allows us to explore things that interest and intrigue us. It allows us to shift some of our focus to the other quadrants of our lives–the spiritual, emotional, and intellectual parts. And since we are spiritual beings, directing some of our focus towards this aspect of our lives is important.
Let the solitude available to you be an important element of your life. A walk by ourselves, an hour at home alone, a relaxing bath, a chapter of a book, several minutes of prayer–each moment of solitude that we accept has the potential to restore and invigorate us and bring about real and lasting growth in our lives.
Spend some quality time alone.
Questions to consider:
Why are many of us unable or unwilling to spend time alone? What effect might that have on our lives?
What kind of things do you usually do when you are alone?
What are some of the positive things that solitude brings to your life?
For further thought:
“When we cannot bear to be alone, it means we do not properly value the only companion we will have from birth to death–ourselves.” ~ Eda LeShan