(Photo by Microsoft Clipart) ~~ These are two very different subjects yet somewhat related in the sense of our needs and awareness.
I thought about this when I read a passage from Kent Nerburn’s book entitled Simple Truths (pg. 57) where he says:
“Solitude is a condition of peace that stands in direct opposition to loneliness. Loneliness is like sitting in an empty room and being aware of the space around you. It is a condition of separateness. Solitude is becoming one with the space around you. It is a condition of union.”
It’s true. You can be in a crowded room and feel isolated, cut off, alone. Yet, you can be miles from civilization on a mountain top with only the trees, sky and wind as your companions and feel as if you’re one with all of life.
Why is that? How can we have such contrasting states of being? It’s not just different people experiencing solitude or loneliness but this contrast can appear within us at different times of our lives. What are we focusing on that gives us such peace or turmoil?
When we feel the world is unfair and not providing what we want, we put ourselves in a state of isolation and loneliness. It is not that the world is necessarily being unfair but it is that our understanding is only centered on self and we get fearful or uncomfortable when it’s not going our way. We are focusing only on the external and if it satisfies our needs or not. We want people, things, to fulfill us and they can’t. They aren’t designed to fulfill that longing and desire deep within.
On the other hand, solitude is the surrendering of self allowing the fullness of life to flow and be experienced. It is in this state where we find peace and fulfillment unlike anything a temporary external form could provide. It is in this peaceful place of the ebb and flow of life where we operate in handling the noise and endless chatter.
You don’t have to go to a mountain top to find solitude. We take it with us where ever we go – it is within us. There will always be countless errands to run and endless labors of life long after we’re gone. Accept the rhythms of life and when you need to take the time breathe in and feel peace and solitude right there with you – never to leave – and you won’t feel lonely.
As Nerburn goes onto say:
“Though this may sound mystical and abstract, the universe has an eternal hum that runs beyond our individual birth and death. It is a hum that is hard to hear through the louder and closer noise of our daily lives. .. It makes us part of something larger. In solitude alone do we become part of this great eternal sound.”