September 24

Today's quotation:

There were many times in my life, until I was left alone, that I wished for solitude.  I now find that I love solitude.  I never had the blessed gift of being alone until the last of my loved ones was wrested from me.  Now I can go sometimes for days and days without seeing anyone. . . . Solitude--walking alone, doing things alone--is the most blessed thing in the world.  The mind relaxes and thoughts begin to flow and I think I am beginning to find myself a little bit.

Helen Hayes

Today's Meditation:

I used to hate being alone.  Somehow I saw the fact that I was alone as a failure, as a problem in my life.  I felt that it was an indicator of the many imagined shortcomings that I had convinced myself that I had.  These days, though, I've come to appreciate solitude as one of the most important elements of my life, for my times of solitude also are my times of reflection and introspection, times when I can seriously consider my life and my place in this world of ours.

Solitude allows us to slow down, to take life at a less frantic pace, to appreciate the peace and quiet that's available to all of us when we look for it.  Solitude also allows us to think our own thoughts rather than constantly thinking thoughts that are reactions to other people's thoughts or words or actions.  It allows us to dig more deeply into topics that interest us, books that fascinate us, ideas that intrigue us.  Solitude allows us to shift our focus to things that are important to us as spiritual beings rather than focusing on whatever it is that the group is focusing on at the moment.

A walk alone can be one of the most important elements of any given day.  An hour alone at home can help us to restore our energy and reinvigorate ourselves.  If we accept solitude for what it is, it can be the most relaxing and refreshing part of our everyday lives.

If we equate the term solitude with "loneliness," though, we can sabotage any chance we have of getting benefit from our alone time.  Our perspective towards solitude is what determines whether it's a part of our lives that contributes to who we are--and what we're able to give to others--or a part that brings us down, that we long to escape from whenever it visits.

Questions to consider:

What do you usually do with your times of solitude?

Why are so many people unable or unwilling to spend time alone?

What are some good things that solitude brings to you?

For further thought:

When we cannot bear to be alone, it means we do
not properly value the only companion we will
have from birth to death--ourselves.

Eda LeShan

  

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