A great writer once said;
“The only way out is in”.
This is certainly true today as everyone takes his or her own individual path towards escapism. We are all trying very hard to escape our daily lives, or even worse, ourselves. We do this through staring down at our mobile phones every chance we get, by filling our minds with endless non-stimulations such as television and by spending countless hours in the companies of others. Nobody wants to be alone, and even worse; nobody wants to be alone with their abyss of thoughts and doubts. When you are amongst a group of people and most of them are busy doing something on their phone; you must know that these people aren’t exceptionally busy. But, it is just easier to engage with a device that does not require any human interaction. Truth is, most of us aren’t aware of how to interact with others in person and if we do, we just choice not to do it. We avoid each other and more importantly; we avoid ourselves.
Why do we do this? Why can’t we go to restaurants and eat by ourselves? Why don’t we attend events on our own? Why do we always grab for our phones the second we are in the presence of strangers or even groups of our own friends? The answers to all these questions centre around our lack of appreciation for aloneness. In an age where we can digitally interact with people all over the world in a matter of seconds, we’ve been led to believe that being with others is a substitute for being with ourselves. We are not taught to love our own company or ourselves. Instead, we are taught to appreciate others and the company that they can provide us. Why is it that the value of aloneness is so underreported or neglected? Solitude is one of the most underappreciated acts of our century.
“Sometimes you get so alone that it just makes sense” – Charles Bukowski
Try out this experiment. Sit in your room for an hour and turn your phone/laptop off. Dispel any distractions, don’t do anything, at all. Just sit there. What do you feel at the end of the hour? Aloneness? Sadness? Or do you feel at peace, content and fulfilled by an hour of your own company? Most people are likely to feel the former feelings. Indeed, our happiness is very much rooted in how much we are needed and called upon by other people. However, if there is anyone that needs you most; it is your inner self. Aloneness is not a synonym for loneliness; in fact it is a sign of great strength to be at peace with your own thoughts. You have to spend time with yourself and enjoy it. No matter where you go in the world, you will take yourself with you and there’s no escaping the contents of your mind.
When we use people as distractions, we exhaust them. People are not engines for our own fulfilment. Only you can fulfil yourself. Some people go even more extreme and attempt to possess another individual. This is the worst and perhaps most fatal way to eviscerate the human soul. Ask yourself, do you spend enough time with yourself? How many hours a day do you do this? And how often? If you cannot recall the last time that you sat with yourself and pondered the complexities of life, or even just had a debate with yourself (this is very possible), then you are among the many people in this world who do not appreciate aloneness. You have been led to believe that you will find solace in other people, in love, in sex, in family, in work, everything but the connection you have with yourself.
“Because you depend on others, you are afraid to go into aloneness- because the moment you start going into your aloneness, you start becoming afraid of losing yourself. You don’t have yourself in the first place, but whatever self you have created out of others opinions will have to be left behind. Hence, it is very scary to go in. The deeper you go, the less you know who you are” – Osho
But, what of those who find themselves unexciting and do not in fact enjoy their own company? There is simply no such thing. Every single one of us is exciting and the more you immerse yourself in yourself, the greater you value your own unique creativity and energy. I, for example, cannot spend huge amounts of time with anyone that isn’t myself. This has nothing to do with egoism or “antisocialness” as we’ve been led to believe. It simply means that I have formed a robust bond with my mind and self that being away from myself for long periods of time, leads me to miss my self excessively. It is not that I need to be completely alone, locked away in a dark room. In fact, most of the time I prefer to be alone in places filled with people, for example coffee shops. But, I enjoy my company enough to be able to miss it.
Aloneness is a gift. A beautiful gift to the human soul. We ought to treasure the time we have to ourselves. We ought to regularly consult with ourselves, take our own advice and rely less on other people for satisfaction. True and consistent satisfaction comes from the bond you form with yourself. Nobody else is a constant. Don’t isolate yourself, but instead train yourself to be happy with your own presence. When something goes wrong or in the case of you feeling imbalanced; go within. You are your own cure. Nobody can save you. Nobody can live so deep inside of you that it fills up all your wounds. You are everything you need, and everything you will ever need. You are your own remedy, solace and joy. The inward determines the outward. When you start to feel content with your own presence, you will teach yourself the greatest lesson of all: nothing is better than your own aloneness.