I was asked a very insightful question recently by a young Malaysian Shaman, who seemed to me to be the perfect embodiment of peaceful tranquility. Jo had just overseen my spiritual voyage to the past, through a wonderfully soothing- and mind-expanding- regression therapy session. After traversing backwards in time through my present incarnation, I was instructed to choose a card at random from a shuffled deck, and soon after, a question was put forward which forced me to look deeper and consider my journey.
‘Do you enjoy being alone?’
I sat focusing on the image of a withered old man, walking towards a bright light in the distance, and in clear white font on the bottom of the card, was the word ‘aloneness’.
I don’t know why I was drawn to that card, but when I turned it over I immediately related it to my own situation, that of a man on a journey. In saying that, the word troubled me a little. I think it’s something a lot of us fear, the thought of being alone.
I sat pondering her probing question. Although I am extremely close with my family and friends, I feel like I have flourished as a result of departing the shores of my beloved home three years ago, and spending some time in (relative) solitude as a result. I don’t just enjoy alone time nowadays, I celebrate it. I’m not a complete recluse, don’t get me wrong, I have a strong support network which I deeply value, but I do feel as though I thrive in isolation.
Here are 3 reasons why I believe we should all embrace solitude from time to time.
Solitude is healthy
The manic nature of the world we live in can be overwhelming; it is crucial for our health and well-being to be able to distance ourselves from the madness of modern society on a regular basis. By seeking out some alone time throughout the day, we allow ourselves the opportunity to press the reset button. Armed with a fresh new perspective, we re-enter feeling reinvigorated, and rejuvenated, almost like a re-birth.
Solitude is productive
You would be surprised what time alone can do for our productivity levels; in these moments of isolation we are afforded valuable time upon which to gather our thoughts, and prioritize our time. By delving even deeper we can figure out what it is we actually want to do. At times when we are in the thick of the rat race, our work is often influenced by those around us, and the hectic environment in which we exist. By acquiring some alone time in the day to look deep within, to ask questions of ourselves, and to create, we ensure that the work produced bears significance.
To immerse ourselves in meaningful work which lights the fire within, is to live purposefully. We thrive on the work that feeds our soul- that fire which burns from within- and resonates through to our core.
Seek out solitude, and find out what it is that you were born to create.
Solitude is empowering
As we allow ourselves to enjoy the comfort of those solitary moments, we gradually become more assured, and self-aware, as we get acquainted with our true selves. Don’t be surprised if you start to consider the journey you are on, the direction in which you are headed, and the destination at which you wish to find yourself.
We can take comfort and assurance from the fact that we were able to put ourselves first, which is not only crucial for real growth, but also takes great courage. People may call it selfish, but this could not be further from the truth. Seeking out the empowering energy that solitude provides, is the ultimate selfless act, because it benefits everyone whom we come into contact with thereafter.
So to answer Jo’s exploratory question, well, the word enjoy doesn’t cover it- I treasure the moments where I can be alone. I pursue solitude, and I think we should all do the same.
By investing in some form of alone time each day we are encouraging ourselves to look inward, regroup, and return to centre, in those deeply meditative and relaxing moments. Seek out solitary occasions throughout the day, revel in their power, and allow mind and body to peacefully reconnect with the soul.
Patrick Hyland documents his journey of self-discovery in The Irish Introvert, a self-development website which was created to help inspire, motivate and educate, through the sharing of significant experiences, and reflections upon life defining moments. He writes as a means of providing an outlet for his inner world.