Loneliness is the poverty of self ; Solitude is the richness of self.May Sarton
Being alone is a frightening idea to many of us, one that we will do anything to avoid. Most of us are not open to the idea of being alone as we view it as a negative experience or perceive being alone as lonely. But in reality, spending some time in silence destroys all that is false. You discover your true self only in aloneness. Neither the work places, nor family or friends define who you truly are. As part of the society, friends or even as part of a family, we live with a false sense of identity, one that is imposed upon us gradually since childhood. Our true sense of self is often hidden beneath a false sense of belongingness.
We are moulded into a particular mental structure by our environment, social structure, education and subsequently by the religion we are told to follow. We are so accustomed to living with this false identity and comfortable living in a crowd that the moment we are alone, it becomes difficult and the mind always engages in seeking more of this or that to add to itself to make itself feel more complete. Very few seek moments of silence as we live in age of noise, and people are desperate to have their voices listened to or heard. We think, it is how we get the attention of others and we fear that if we were to become silent we shall simply left behind. This is the reason the moment of aloneness turns out as a scary situation to be in.
Aloneness destroys our false identity
Aloneness is our intrinsic nature and is not given by society, family or education. However, most of us try to escape it as the false identity appears to be soothing. Our real self is our natural state and is always waiting to be rediscovered. As Henry David Thoreau wrote in his essay ‘Solitude’ , solitude is not isolation, rather it is much more about introspection and self-observation. Thoreau discovered the true power of solitude during two years he stayed alone and compiled his experiences in his book, ‘Walden’’. The book is a reflective account of his time spent living simply in natural surroundings. He strongly voiced the fact that focusing inward rather than chase the excess of and deep introspection is the true gift of a prosperous man.
Aloneness is door to enter into our innermost core of being and destroys that which is false. When you trust the voice within, you find your inner strength core of being, joy, bliss, peace and learn how to become a great companion to oneself. Instead people are more persuaded by their false identity and seek to sanction from others or conform to others rather than spending some time in aloneness. Even when we are alone, we create enough distractions so not to notice our true self. We refuse the responsibility of facing our true self and instead choose to preoccupy ourselves with distractions. Of course the very thought of aloneness can be difficult, but without encountering our authentic self, the most blissful phenomenon of life cannot be experienced. When we are in solitude, we realise our natural state and we are one with existence and fully aware of ourselves.
Attachment to egoistic self comes from not identifying your true self
You experience loneliness when you exchange your true self with your egoic self. When our internal reference point is our true self, we experience our true potential, and when our internal reference point is the ego or self-image, we feel cut off from our source, and the uncertainty of events creates doubt and fear. Our ego often gets influenced by objects outside the self, that is our circumstances, people and things. The ego then becomes our social mask, it is the role we are playing, and thrives on the approval of others. Whereas being grounded on the knowledge of true self, you never feel fearful or insecure and evolve into greater abundance and creativity. And aloneness is the way to practice to simply ‘be’ and ‘to connect to your true self’.
Don’t confuse being alone for loneliness
When we confuse being alone for loneliness, we process the experience as a negative thing instead of appreciating time by ourselves. The mere act of being alone with oneself doesn’t have to be bad, and it can even benefit your social relationships, improve your creativity and confidence, and help you regulate your emotions. Choosing to spend time doing things yourself can have mental, emotional and social benefits, but the key to reaping those positive rewards comes from choosing to spend time alone.
How loneliness is described as being alone and wanting company, aloneness is a natural desire for solitude. Solitude helps us discover new interests and ideas without having to worry about the opinion of others. Cultivating this sense of being alone can help you to develop who you are, your sense of self, and what your true interests are. Knowing oneself makes it easier to find other people who share your passions. Time with your thoughts is often restorative, builds your confidence and makes it easier for you to maintain boundaries.
- The next time you experience loneliness, let that be your cue to get to know your true self. Develop an attitude of gentleness and kindness towards self. Be whatever you are feeling, be it joy, sadness or unhappiness. observe your breath, thoughts and what emotions are triggering your loneliness. When you spend lot of time with yourself, our mind plays expert in making bits of information into a story line. The unfamiliarity of being alone can feel awkward. By cultivating your ability to be okay with being alone, you may come up to appreciate and content with being yourself.
- Being alone with your thoughts, and giving yourself the space and unstructured time to let your mind wander without social distractions initially can feel intimidating. Don’t make your alone time about other people or obsessively checking social media. In aloneness, you are your first choice. When you contemplate being alone, be honest with your sense of self. Plan out something that you know you will enjoy doing. If you are having hard time listening to the thoughts inside your head, journaling can be a great way of working through and evaluating those emotions.
- Meditation facilitates silence and aloneness. Take time each day, even if it is for few minute, to meditate, be silent, to connect with your breath, to just be. As you do so, practice nonjudgment to be in harmony with nature and your surroundings. Practice self-acceptance. Remain established in the awareness of your true self. This will give you a sense of unity with all of life, and help you to get in touch with the innermost essence of your being.
- Be open to exploring new interests. Make space in your life and put in the time, even if it is to just spending 30 minutes. If you are just getting started, take small steps. Time spent alone is a great opportunity to explore new interests, but it doesn’t mean you have to totally push yourself outside of your comfort zone. But if you are at a loss of how to jump in, plan out something that you know that you will enjoy doing, may be that helps you feel more productive or helps you be more relaxed.
Loneliness is a negative state where there is a need to seek the other, while aloneness means a sense of completeness where one is totally entered and rooted in oneself. In aloneness, one is a part of existence and the other is not needed at all. Being aware of your aloneness is key to experience ultimate freedom. Allow yourself the freedom to discover your true self, be patient as you train yourself to do so. Spending more time with yourself increases your ability to recognise the forces in play in your life.
Solitude helps you find peace. Peace helps you find happiness.Maxime Legace