“There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.” ~ Nelson Mandela
Once you get the hang of your solitude practice, you may find there’s a dangerous side effect: You want to remain alone for longer and longer periods of time. Moreover, you might actually resent returning to the “real world” of others.
No doubt finding our true selves is much like discovering a soul mate.
The impetus is to hole up and enjoy each other for a while. There is a delicious pull toward solitude. I know; that pull has been instrumental in the demise of a few of my relationships. Paradoxically, solitude can make a relationship healthier while potentially threatening it. Whenever possible, we must share the gifts we receive during our practice—the boon of our revitalized souls—so that solitude might be released from its threatening nature.
It is our responsibility to find out exactly what we need to refuel, but not to retain.
Energy is created in order to be spent. Solitude is not hermitage. Being part of community is essential to our health as balanced human beings. What matters is that when we resurface, we honor the presence of our highest self, our Holy Self. That Self becomes a shield from societal pressure to assimilate blindly, from over-extending our energies in the name of love.
Our Holy Selves should be an oasis of joy that we—as well as beloved others—drink from and belly-flop into.
As far as I know, no one has ever died from too much love. Instead, what happens goes something like this: We recognize ourselves as sparks of Creation and love ourselves as we love that Great Mystery. We become so full of the joy love gives that it pours out of us—radiates—to others. Most of us have been in the presence of a blissfully centered person who seems to exude positivity.
Most often, being around someone like that raises our own levels of happiness, even hope for mankind. It’s the same as when we stand in front of a fine work of art; we are moved. Its beauty brings out the beauty in us. This is what we do when we practice solitude. We create the work of art that touches and inspires others to be their best selves as well.
So return, re-emerge, resurface. Bring your gifts back with you to share.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Renée Picard
Image: Antonin de Bertimbrie at Pixoto