Being alone holds beautiful possibilities for the person who is open to them.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but it’s hard not to these days: it seems like everyone is running everywhere, going places they’re ready to leave the moment they get there, spending time with people they may not even like that much, and constantly “hooking up” online on their multiple social sites.
It’s almost like we can’t bear being by ourselves; as if there’s something to fear in being alone.
But loneliness is not a necessary outcome of time spent alone. Ironically, when speaking about loneliness, it’s only a wrong relationship we have with our own ideas about what being alone means that causes us to fear it. And because of that fear, we miss out on one of life’s greatest opportunities.
The truth is, being alone holds beautiful possibilities for the person who is open to them. Only when we’re by ourselves — free of distraction and the pull of the world — can there be a conscious relationship between the True Self within us, and the Divine above us. Being alone is the nourishing space and place where our soul can receive what it needs to flower. It’s where truths are revealed that can transform us. It’s a kind of coming home.
The value of being alone has been expressed by sages across the centuries. Here are some examples for you to ponder:
A little while alone in your own room will prove more valuable than anything else that could ever be given to you.
— Jalal Al Din Rumi (1207)
Don’t surrender your loneliness
Let it cut more deep.
Let it ferment and season you
As few human
Or even divine ingredients can.
Something missing in my heart tonight
Has made my eyes so soft,
My need of God
— Hafez (1315)
I never found a companion that was so companionable as solitude.
— Henry David Thoreau (1817)
This is a country whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere. You do not find it by travelling but by standing still. Yet it is in this loneliness that the deepest activities begin. It is here that you discover act without motion, labor that is profound repose, vision in obscurity, and beyond all desire, a fulfillment whose limits extend to infinity.
— Thomas Merton (1915)
You could be sitting all alone in your room, in anguish, regretful over the past, anxious in the present, and worried about the future, having nothing, hopeful for nothing – and if you would snap the hypnosis of your mind, all grief would vanish in a flash.
— Vernon Howard (1918)
What a great reminder of the value of setting aside time to be by ourselves — and not resenting life when it doesn’t provide us with a diversion or a companion. We can use these moments to start fulfilling a different purpose in life — our truer purpose of discovering who we really are. We can begin to develop a pool of silence within ourselves that we can then carry into every moment — even a crowded room — so that every moment is enriched.
Just Say “No” to the Fear of Being Alone
Do you avoid being alone? Would you like to better understand the value of being alone, and the special gift it offers for your happiness?
OneJourney founder Guy Finley has some helpful wisdom to share with you…
Key Lesson: No one can say “no” to this world who is afraid to walk through it alone. The unseen cost of this baseless fear is not just ending up in the company of cowards, but that one may lose the possibility of ever coming to know the company of the Divine.
Bring Your Loneliness Into the Light
Nothing is missing from our lives except for our not yet awakened ability to see this essential truth: just as fire needs wood to express its warmth and light, so too do we need the “darkness” of what we have yet to understand about ourselves.
It rarely occurs to us, but there is a greater potential in what we don’t yet know about this life of ours than there is in what we’ve already seen about it. So this great undiscovered territory — this “darkness” within us — is there for a distinctly divine purpose: it exists as it does to serve the Light that reveals it; for in each such revelation there is a simultaneous realization and release of a new order of consciousness.
Any thought or feeling that troubles us in mind or heart, any fear or worry, is like a candle not yet lit. What purpose has any flame or light — in any form we may find it — other than to enter into and transform what is dark into more of itself?
For instance, maybe we turn around one day and find ourselves caught in the dark grip of some kind of fear. Perhaps we see the one we love “looking the other way;” maybe a phone call delivers uncertain news about our deteriorating health; or someone tells us about a forthcoming change at work that threatens our sense of security.
In moments such as these our future grows as dark as it seems full of the loneliness, worry, and loss we see coming our way. But our lives need not be swallowed up in unconscious servitude to this kind of suffering. We have another choice if we will only dare be still and be the Light. Here is a way to practice realizing the truth of your Self that begins with remembering to make the new choice that follows:
Instead of surrendering yourself to its punishing presence, bring your loneliness into the Light of your Self. If you will remain there within your awareness of this “darkness,” here’s what you’ll see take place before your inner eyes: the fear of being alone will be transformed into the contentment of knowing that you have never been without the love that you long for. You will see that a tenderness beyond words lives within the Light you have embraced.
We cannot control the way the world turns, we cannot change day into night, we cannot keep what is not ours; and we cannot hide these facts from ourselves no matter how hard we try. But what we are given to do, and that turns out to be the one power of ours truly capable of transforming the whole of life, is that we can choose — moment to moment — to be the Light of our Self. We are created as co-creators of all that we can be conscious of within ourselves. It is our right to be in relationship with only those powers whose presence serves our chosen purpose in life… which is to be one with the Light.
Does your tradition talk about the special beauty in being alone? If so, can you share a quotation about it with us? It may be an encouragement to someone going through a dark time. So, click here to your quotation to the OneJourney Living Book.
Dr. Ellen Dickstein
The OneJourney Project
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