Monday, October 20, 2014

The Gift of Spending Time Alone: The Difference Between Loneliness & Solitude


My darkest moments surface during the minutes, or hours, between the time when the rest of the world falls asleep and I impatiently wait to follow. I spend many of those moments beating myself up over this very fact, or over all the things I am doing wrong, and all the problems I need to solve -you know, the ones I somehow feel I can solve while lying in bed, or during the next day after losing a night’s sleep? Deep down I know doing so only pulls me further away from my consciousness, from the person I yearn to be and, deep down, already am;  but my ego rages on intent on matching, if not outdoing, the darkness outside my window.

Everyone needs time alone, though. Everyone needs solitude. We cannot grow at a soul level without solitude. The soul cannot surface if we fail to distance ourselves from the noise of the world -the people, television shows, social networks, and the like. It is then, and only then, that inner growth occurs.

When we come to view being alone as an opportunity, as a gift, we can transform moments of loneliness into moments of awareness. Suddenly, the dark emptiness of loneliness is transmuted into the vast spaciousness of universal light that teaches us that we are, in fact, connected as one at all times. We are never truly alone.


The Difference Between Loneliness and Solitude

Solitude is much different from loneliness, although the two appear inextricably interconnected to the untrained eye, considering both are characterized by solitariness. However, loneliness is a negative state of mind marked by feelings of isolation, emptiness, and an undeniable urge to receive attention from another person -any person, anyone who will offer you attention and, more precisely, a means of once again escaping your own thoughts which you are forced to confront whilst alone.  Solitude, on the other hand, is a state of being alone without being lonely. While  loneliness is self-destructive in nature, solitude is a positive and constructive state of engagement with oneself used for inner reflection and growth.

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