“Solitude, though it may be silent as light, is like light, the mightiest of agencies; for solitude is essential to man. All men come into this world alone and leave it alone.” -Thomas de Quincey
Solitude is essential to me.
I do not relate at all to people whose emotional well-being is reliant upon the presence of other people or of noise. I have often seen persons enter their vehicles only to immediately activate the radio to a station they are obviously not listening to. It appears they need sounds constantly–the sounds of a radio or a tv, etc.–whenever they find themselves alone. What do they fear in silence? Perhaps silence would cause them to examine themselves: their lives, their choices, perhaps their emptiness?
Introspection is a key to emotional, intellectual, and spiritual growth. And though the individual can certainly benefit from the wisdom of others, it is in silence that one is able to apply their own experiences, as well as that of others, into an opportunity of personal growth.
I need silence. I need solitude. I need those times to think and reexamine my life and who I am in this world.
Though I am grateful for those few in my life from whom I also learn, I am equally aware that it is in moments of solitude–pure awareness–the holy instant–when I truly grow.
In silence, I also find the wealth of wisdom imparted to me from writers. What a gift we have in books! Be it the contemplative poet, the political truth teller, the imaginative fiction writer…their gifts inspire, make me question, and show me I am not alone in the thoughts and feelings I experience. On the contrary, contemplative individuals who have courageously shared their paths of experience with us, bring me encouragement.
Solitude gives me the wealth of reading, writing, exercising, singing, listening to music, and in even simply doing daily activities-the quiet to fully experience this moment–my moment–the only thing that exist–the present. I am joyful in my moments alone, as I am joyful in moments with those I love. And, I believe the latter is predicated on the first.
Solitude prepares me for the public expression and interaction I often engage in. Having had the beauty of being alone, I am more able to face the world, communicate with it, and sometimes-though rarely-meet like-minded individuals…with whom sharing time with is also a beautiful experience. But such rare relationships with individuals (who think for themselves and who also strive for truth) are few in the insane world man has created…
More often, one encounters the majority, conformists who without examination accept what is told to them regarding what they should believe and do. They then become true-believers, incapable of free-thought, and thus incapable of true discussion or conversation. It is those, who aside from casual interaction, must be avoided. For if one mistakenly ties to communicate with them, the free-thinker inevitable encounters stress, boredom, and becomes the recipient of the emotional instability of the true-believer. Emotionalism (as opposed to true emotion) fuels the true-believer…and emotionalism is the cause of much evil in this world.
Thus, I appreciate only friendships with others who are seeking truth, open to sharing their thoughts and ideas, and open, as well, to listening to others. Those whose opinions are formed not from dogma, patriotism, or any other system created to control others by manipulating their emotions, but whose opinions are the result of their own contemplation of other’s ideas and systems of belief…they accept nothing solely because an “authority figure” has told it to them, but accept as truth (for the moment) those things that resonate from within their soul.
I recommend to those who have found themselves in a state of anxiety when they find themselves alone, to not run away from those feelings. For once, endeavor to experience silence and loneness. Examine the feelings (even the uncomfortable ones) that occur to you…for it is doing so, you can become more of who you truly are.
For me, it is solitude in the wilderness, which nourishes my spirit. In the mountains, where I can sit and ponder, watch the wildlife, gaze at the sky, listen to the wind or the snow falling, taste the rain, and lie in the warmth of bright sunshine…those moments mean the most to me. And, I have often found, ideas–extremely creative ideas–occur to me in those moments when I am thinking of nothing but rather experiencing all.
“Loneliness” as it is commonly defined is a state I have never experienced. I suppose it is because it only occurs if one feels a void or lack within themselves that they imagine can be eliminated by the presence of someone else. Yet, in truth, wholeness, fulfillment, and contentment comes from within oneself. Or as Voltaire expressed, “The happiest of all lives is a busy solitude.”
I do enjoy good discussions and sharing with free-thinking individuals…and often come from such exchanges with much to consider. But, again, it is only in my moments of silence, that I can really consider most deeply what others have shared…and I feel they do the same. All of us are teachers and learners. The two cannot be separate. There is value when individuals share together.
But one is weak if they come to need other people in a dependent sense. The extreme example are those who blindly surround themselves with strangers in social situations, feeling as if they are less a person, unless they are with others…many feel that way about having a partner in life. As if, being alone, makes them “less” in the eyes of others…and perhaps it does, but those others opinions mean nothing. Happiness does not come from finding another, but in fulfilling yourself, being all you can be, developing yourself in the areas you wish to excel in. Focus on your self development, and then you will have something to joyfully share with another whole person who is doing the same. Simply joining with another person who is also desperately looking for someone is doomed…two weak underdeveloped persons cannot find happiness simply because they join together in their misery; it is when two individuals–focused on their lives and not looking for another meet, that they can experience joy together…but it is a shared happiness because each was happy prior to meeting the other. I believe this principle applies to all relationships-between friends, family, and partners.
To be comfortable with one’s own company is strength. To allow one’s mind and heart to question everything is strength. To simply be…free of thinking even at times…to simply experience the beauty of silence…the beauty of nature..is to truly live…and in doing so, to further your journey of self-discovery.