This blog includes reflections, creative work and resources. It is a glimpse of one person's journey within the realm of inquiry, experience with the human body and spirit. Look for ideas rather than answers. No claims are made. Perfection is not implied. I write as inspired to do so. Take what works for you, leave the rest. If you share anything from this blog, either verbally or in writing, please do your best to give credit where credit is due. Thank you for visiting.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Loneliness, Aloneness, Solitude, Hermits - Part 1

Here are a few somewhat random reflections on solitude.  [I stress the word random!]

One cannot read about a spiritual master without noticing the value of time spent in solitude.  I suppose the value of time spent alone is determined by consciousness within that time.  Where is the mind, the heart, the soul, the breath?

If the mind is tide up in other people's problems and imagining how to solve those problems, won't the time be filled with loneliness?  If the mind is off within someone else who is within you?  No wonder it feels empty, there is no one present for you, not even YOU.  Come home to you.  Get grounded in yourself. I've had the good fortune this last year of "bottoming out" to a certain level with regards to care taking and helping others when not asked, which is in essence not minding my own business.  There is sense of aliveness and yet increased compassion in experiencing the truth that we are ultimately only responsible for ourselves.  [We cannot unburden others from their suffering and dissatisfaction.  The duality of the nature of things is beginning to show me how, with this understanding, I can actually be more helpful.  But that is all for another post.] 

In terms of activity it seems to matter less what activity is going on but the spirit with which the activity is carried out.  Can washing a window be as engaging and uplifting as anything else?  It's more about being a part of the nature and cycle of things:  love the smell of white vinegar, saying goodbye to the dirt, sending the dirt to its next destination and of course the satisfaction of more sparkling sunshine coming in! 

When alone with a scattered mind I turn to spiritually engaging audio recordings, videos and music.  Silence is preferred but some days a little help is needed.

Choosing consciously to be alone, as in the case of a hermit, is different from becoming a recluse due to emotional and mental problems.  Following periods of stress, pulling away to collect oneself is normal.  Clarity regarding what is behind intention is helpful.  Keep in mind personality type.  Don't expect extroverts to understand.  This is a generality but introverts fill their cup in periods of alone time while extroverts thrive in the company of others.  There are more extroverts in the world than introverts, so again, don't expect others to understand your need to be alone. 

I had a client who was a legal secretary when we met.  Toward the end of her career she began creating weekends of solitude, silence and meditation within her home in Norfolk.  She was a divorced mother of adult children and was able to arrange this by notifying the appropriate people, turning off the phone and unplugging devices.  When she retired she enjoyed a new chapter in life living in monasteries with nuns, dedicating herself to contemplative prayer.   To be clear, all was not perfect within the monastery situation.  As the nun told Maria in The Sound of Music, the monastic life is not meant to be an escape and indeed it is not.

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