The importance of being alone

One of the things that many of us try to avoid is being alone. I don’t mean being lonely (which no-one wants to feel), which is a feeling of a lack of connection, whilst at the same time wishing for that sense of connection. Loneliness is a state which does not depend on your physical circumstance. You can be in a crowd, even with friends, with your partner and still feel lonely. Loneliness is a state of mind rather than a physical state. 

Being alone is quite different; it is to choose to be by yourself for a while.

Our lives are full of activity, tasks, objectives, socialising. This frenetic pace of life prevents us from simply being with ourselves, which in turn prevents us from knowing and accepting ourselves.  Sometimes this is done on purpose, as the idea of being just with oneself can feel uncomfortable or even frightening. Even our spare time is devoted to compulsive activity simply to avoid being with ourselves. In this state we can easily fall into the trap of addiction.

Until the age of thirty I would hop from one relationship to another, from one activity to another, always in movement, always striving to get somewhere (anywhere except where I was), never giving myself time to be alone and really work out who I was and what I wanted. Relationships and falling in love provided me with one delicious distraction after another. I had no clear idea about what I wanted in life but realised that the life I then lived was not the life that I wanted. I felt empty and dissatisfied − a sense of “dukkha”.

 I decided to simplify my life. I eliminated all unnecessary distractions; I chose to be celibate; I lived alone taking time to simply be with myself, or simply know myself.

 Being alone was uncomfortable at first but I have since come to love silence, my own company and to simply be with whatever is happening right now.

The benefits of being alone are marvellous. Once we take away the constant noise of activity and distraction, we experience greater clarity, we discover things within ourselves that need our kindness and attention, things that were always there crying out for our attention but lost in all the noise. Simply noticing and contemplating gives deeper insights leading to wisdom and acceptance.

The result is a greater sense of peace, equanimity which then accompanies you into your everyday life.

Make time to be alone, learn to be alone. There is a whole world waiting to be discovered right here and now. Alone!

You are currently viewing The importance of being alone