solitude - solitude 3

The most important education
you get is your own--the one
you learn in solitude.

Erica Jong

For solitude is an attitude, an attitude of gratitude.  It is a state of mind, a state of heart, a whole universe unto itself.  The early contemplatives in all traditions knew this secret of happiness.

Francine Schiff


Solitude is the nurse of enthusiasm, and enthusiasm is the parent of genius.

Isaac D'Israeli

Only in complete solitude do we learn the true meaning of the words:  know thyself!  For only then do we stand before our true selves.

Hans-Ulrich Rieker

It would do the world good if every person in it would compel themselves occasionally to be absolutely alone.  Most of the world's progress has come out of such loneliness.

Bruce Barton


It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great person is the one who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.

Ralph Waldo Emerson


The insight we gain from solitude has very little to do with
the amount of time we spend alone.  It has a lot more to do
with the quality of time we spend with ourselves.

Jan Johnson Drantell


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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.  I'm not entirely alone, because I listen to the radio and read the newspapers.  I love to read.  That is my greatest new luxury, having the time to read.  And oh, the little things I find to do to make the days, as I say, much too short.

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


I find there is a quality to being alone that is incredibly precious.
Life rushes back into the void, richer, more vivid, fuller than before.
It is as if in parting one did actually lose an arm.  And then,
like the starfish, one grows it anew; one is whole again, complete and
round--more whole, even, than before, when other people had pieces of one.

Anne Morrow Lindbergh


The choice of solitude is not so much a rejection of
community as a recognition that certain experiences
and truths are so alien to ordinary consciousness
that the individual must withdraw in order
to experience them.

Carol P. Christ


The awareness we experience in solitude is priceless for the peace it can give.
 It is also the key to true loving in our relationships.  When we have a part of
ourselves that is firm, confident, and alone, we donít need another person to fill
us.  We know that we have private spaces full of goodness and self-worth, and
we grant the same to those we love.  We do not try to pry into every corner of
their lives or to fill the emptiness inside us with their presence.

As always, look at the world around you.  The mountain is not restless in its
aloneness.  The hawk tracing circles in the sky is not longing for union with the
sun.  They exist in the perfect peace of an eternal present, and that is the peace
that one finds only in solitude.  Find this peace in yourself, and you will never
know another moment of loneliness in your life.

Kent Nerburn


All humans are frightened of their own solitude.  But only in
solitude can we learn to know ourselves, learn to
handle our own eternal aloneness.

Han Suyin

I find it wholesome to be alone the greater part of the time.  To be
in company, even with the best, is soon wearisome and dissipating.
I never found the companion that was so companionable as
solitude.  I am for the most part more lonely when I go
abroad among people than when I stay in my chambers.

Henry David Thoreau


Without solitude there can be no real people. . . . The measure of your
solitude is the measure of your capacity for communion.

John Eudes

solitude - solitude 3

Not everyone knows how to be alone with others, how to share solitude.
We have to help each other to understand how to be in our solitude,
so that we can relate to each other without grabbing on to each other.
We can be interdependent but not dependent.  Loneliness is
rejected dependency.  Solitude is shared interdependency.

David Spangler


Solitude can become your most meaningful companion and it can assist
you in being a more giving person in your spiritual partnerships.  Rather
than regarding your partner's need for time alone as a threat, see it as
a time of renewal that you celebrate.  Make every effort to help each
other have that space.  Treat that space as sacred.

Wayne Dyer


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We need periods of being by ourselves--alone.  Sometimes a
fortnight or even a week will do wonders for one, unless
he or she has drawn too heavily on the account.  The simple
custom, moreover, of taking an hour, or even a half hour,
alone in the quiet, in the midst of the daily routine of life,
would be the source of inestimable gain for countless numbers.

Ralph Waldo Trine
"Thought I Met on the Highway"
I can be alone,
I know how to be alone.

There is a tacit understanding
between my pencils
and the trees outside;
between the rain
and my luminous hair.

The tea is boiling:
my golden zone,
my pure burning amber.

I can be alone,
I know how to be alone.
By tea-light
I write.

Nina Cassian


I hold this to be the highest task for a bond between
two people, that each protects the solitude of the other.

Rainer Maria Rilke

Grant me the ability to be alone; may it be my way every day
to go outdoors among the trees and grasses,
among all growing things, and there may I be alone,
to talk with the one that I belong to.

Rabbi Nachman of Bratzlav

Being solitary is being alone well; being alone luxuriously immersed
in doings of your own choice, aware of the fullness of your
own presence rather than the absence of others.

Alice Koller


Solitude, though it may be silent as light, is like light, the mightiest
of agencies; for solitude is essential to us.  All people come
into this world alone; all leave it alone.

Thomas de Quincey

It is in deep solitude that I find the gentleness with which
I can truly love my brothers and sisters. The more solitary
I am the more affection I have for them. . . . Solitude
and silence teach me to love my brothers and sisters
for what they are, not for what they say.

Thomas Merton

If only you were willing to continue on your journey towards your Self.
Eventually you would reach close enough to the center of your Being so
that the feeling of loneliness disappears and is replaced by a sense of
aloneness, which is incredibly full and enriching.  When you are on the
way to alone but you are not yet there, you will feel lonely.  If you
keep going, you will reach to alone and then loneliness disappears.

Leonard Jacobson



To make the right choices in life, you have to get in touch with
your soul.  To do this, you need to experience solitude, because
in the silence you hear the truth and know the solutions.

Deepak Chopra


All who seek the roots of life dig in solitude for them.

C.H.A. Bjerregaard


All our misfortunes spring from our hatred of being alone.

Jean de la BruyŤre



We choose solitude.  We think loneliness chooses us.  People fight loneliness
because they think it is a statement about their self-worth, instead of a choice
they have made.  You might be lonely because you've defined only a few
unavailable or select individuals as worthy companions:  your ex-lover or
ex-spouse, your adult children, someone who is dead, or someone of
your "class" and accomplishments.
You are lonely because you are a discriminating person.  There are lots of
people available to be with if you are willing to seek them out.  Loneliness
doesn't choose you, you choose loneliness in preference to the alternatives.
There is nothing wrong with your preference--just recognize it and adapt to
the circumstances that result.  Solitude is quite different.  It is wonderful
because you want to be with the person you're with:  yourself.
You cherish solitude.
The difference between loneliness and solitude is your perception of who
you are alone with and who made the choice.

Jennifer James


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At times, our loneliness is related to our natural desire for connection with
someone who, for whatever reason, is unavailable.  The issue for people alone
is not that we will never feel lonely.  The issue is how aloneness makes us
feel about ourselves  What the dictionary definition of aloneness does not
make clear is the essential distinction between loneliness and aloneness:
that to be "apart from others" is to be in the presence of oneself.

Florence Falk


When I begin to sit with the dawn in solitude, I begin to
really live.  It makes me treasure every single moment of life.

Gloria Vanderbilt


I suppose the moments one most enjoys are moments alone--when
one unexpectedly stretches something inside that needs stretching.

Georgia O'Keeffe

solitude - solitude 3

From the spiritual side:

Solitude is a discipline, essential for those
who would acquaint themselves with God
and be at peace.

E. Herman

Solitude is not to be found in forests only.
It can be had even in towns
and the thick of worldly population.

Ramana Maharshi

Settle yourself in solitude, and you will
come upon God in yourself.

Teresa de Avila


Solitude is not out to deceive anyone; it does not pretend or embellish;
it has nothing to hide and invents nothing.  It is completely naked and
without adornment; it knows nothing of shows or the applause which
poisons the mind.  It has God as sole witness of its life and actions.



When you have closed your doors, and darkened your room,
remember never to say that you are alone, for you are not
alone; God is within, and your genius is within--and what
need have they of light to see what you are doing?




Yes, life can be mysterious and confusing--but there's much of life that's actually rather dependable and reliable.  Some principles apply to life in so many different contexts that they can truly be called universal--and learning what they are and how to approach them and use them can teach us some of the most important lessons that we've ever learned.
My doctorate is in Teaching and Learning.  I use it a lot when I teach at school, but I also do my best to apply what I've learned to the life I'm living, and to observe how others live their lives.  What makes them happy or unhappy, stressed or peaceful, selfish or generous, compassionate or arrogant?  In this book, I've done my best to pass on to you what I've learned from people in my life, writers whose works I've read, and stories that I've heard.  Perhaps these principles can be a positive part of your life, too!
Universal Principles of Living Life Fully.  Awareness of these principles can explain a lot and take much of the frustration out of the lives we lead.