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 helpful wisdom to share with you:
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.
— Guy Finley (1949)
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
P.S. If you would like to receive the OneJourney e-newsletter straight into your inbox, please click here.