Tag Archives: Solitude

AWAKENING TO DEEPEN OURSELVES

“Solitude is not something you must hope for in the future.  Rather, it is a deepening of the present, and unless you look for it in the present you will never find it.”  Thomas Merton

Do you feel a difference between loneliness and solitude? Are you comfortable with either one?  What makes the difference for you?

During this time when we are limited as to where we can go, there is one place we can always go: inside ourselves.  This inward journey may be frightening.  It may be exciting or uplifting.  It may be boring or it may totally change our lives.

Solitude Can Help Identify Our True Feelings

We don’t always need solitude in order to travel inward, but the lack of distractions often helps us focus on what we are thinking and feeling.  Imagine you’ve just had a conversation with a friend and shared how unhappy you are living alone.  Instead of receiving the sympathy you expected from her, she basically tells you in a clearly irritated voice to stop complaining and just be glad you aren’t sick.

What was that about?  Perhaps at first you feel angry because she has a husband and a child, so  she’s never alone and you think she’s lucky.  So what are you really feeling?  Hurt? Anger? Sadness? Abandoned by someone you trusted to always be with you?

May Sarton says, “Loneliness is the poverty of self; solitude is the richness of self.”  When we are lonely, we often feel we are less than we want to be.  We are lacking a roommate, a job, a mate, a hobby, an activity to keep us busy because we don’t want to be disturbed by our loneliness.

The Richness of Being in the Moment

Solitude, on the other hand, is like that rich almond chocolate brownie I always buy at Green Sage.  When I eat it, the pleasure spreads through my whole body and my mind lets go of any other concerns.  I am completely in the moment.

Solitude is like that.  It broadens and deepens the present.  It fills one inside so that the lack of a companion or a good movie to watch is irrelevant.  It allows one to sit in silence so that what we would consciously observe about our lives and the world deepens and fills us with understanding or awareness that we didn’t have before.

The Challenges of Staying Centered

I thought that during this pandemic I would have more time to just take it easy, read more books, and take walks.  Well, it hasn’t worked out that way.  Every day seems to fill with unexpected problems.  The technical challenges keep coming.  Today I was unable, again, to log onto the online issue of the local newspaper. I started chatting then accidentally disconnected the chat.  Then I called customer service who tried to help but was unsuccessful so that person sent the problem to the technical people who will call tomorrow.

At other times, I spend hours trying to determine if a medical bill is correct.  It doesn’t have the doctor’s name on it and it doesn’t show what the insurance has paid.  When I go online to the insurance portal, the information is unclear to me and often not current with the date on the bill.

Deepening To Find Our True Selves

I keep saying I’m going to meditate or just sit on the deck and stare at the sky.  When I finally allow myself to be still and forget about the list I made of the things I must do that day, I feel separate for a moment, alone.  But when I close my eyes for a few minutes and take a deep breath, I get a glimpse of solitude.  As I let myself just be, I slip into a richer place.

The warmth of the sun, the cool of the breeze caresses my body.  My breath deepens easily and quietly fills me.  The bird song becomes a beautiful aria and part of me flies from tree to tree with the squirrels.  I become one with all that is and my present is rich and beautiful.  Whatever problems have been dragging me down have disappeared.

In solitude I am not really alone.  I am deeply connected to Spirit whose energy is around me.  It feeds me with deep feelings of contentment.  Even when I am sitting inside without the beauty of nature, what is deep inside shifts to a fuller sense of self.  As I sit in this solitude, not forcing my mind to find solutions to problems, but letting myself just be, the healing I need often appears.

When I return to daily activity, I am calmer, more able to solve the problems that arise.  I have accepted myself at the deepest level.  A richness of spirit fills that part of me that felt lacking and incompetent.  I know I will learn what I need to learn with time.  In that moment, this solitude of deepening is all that matters.

© 2020 Georganne Spruce

Further readings on the topic:

AWAKENING TO THE REAL YOU

AWAKENING TO BEFRIEND OURSELVES

AWAKENING TO THE GIFTS OF SOLITUDE

AWAKENING TO ACCEPTANCE

“Acceptance looks like a passive state, but in reality it brings something entirely new into this world.  That peace, a subtle energy vibration, is consciousness.”  Eckhart Tolle

Photo:  Charles Davidson

Photo: Charles Davidson

Are you able to accept circumstances that displease you and move on, or do you stay stuck wishing the thing had never happened?  Do you resist accepting and letting go because you believe that validates what happened?  Are you able to accept what you can’t change?

Forgiveness Releases Negative Emotions

One of the most profound shifts in my thinking came years ago when I was taking a class in the fundamentals of Religious Science philosophy.  We were discussing forgiveness, and the minister pointed out that forgiveness releases you from your attachment to a hurtful situation and frees you to move on.  It doesn’t mean that you think what was done to you was acceptable; it means you aren’t going to hang on to your anger or hurt anymore.

Explore the Themes in Each Conflict

Often, we feel hurt in situations because we don’t understand why the other person has done the thing that hurts us.  At the time I heard these wise words, a friend of mine had dropped out of my life and just wasn’t available after she started living with a man.  I understood her life had changed, but I felt she had handled some things related to me in a very insensitive way. In our interactions with others, there are themes that run throughout our lives, often based on childhood experiences.  An abandoned child or one whose parent was not emotionally there much of the time may feel abandoned when a friend moves away.  Because this is a major theme, this event may be experienced in an intense way.  What is merely a sad event to one may be devastating to another.

Understanding Emotional Themes Helps Us Release the Drama

The intensity of what we feel may also motivate us to create drama around the situation or we may simply shut down emotionally, refusing to deal with it at all.  But unless we are willing to look closely at the underlying theme in these situations, we will repeat them again.  When we look at them closely and are able to understand what the situation is about at a deeper level, we release some of our attachment to the drama.  Then, we can more easily detach from it and accept the situation for what it is. According to Oneness, “Acceptance, unconditionally, of whatever has been presented, without the need to try to change, and without the need to fit it into the context of one’s own system of values, constitutes the recipe for release from whatever contractual arrangement may have been in place with certain beings.” (pp. 166-167) As Oneness points out, the intensity of our feelings may also be related to karmic connections with other people or karmic themes.  When we are able to release ourselves from these and even lesser drama, we are able to accept what is and release the other person with love.  As long as we hang on to the anger or hurt, the drama thickens within us even if we have no physical contact with the other person.

Frederick Leighton - Solitude

Frederick Leighton – Solitude

Release Fears and Allow Solitude to Heal

But how can we let go of those negative feelings?  Choosing solitude offers us the opportunity to go within.  Meditation may be very helpful in detaching from emotional turmoil, and along with that, I use the releasing fear practice that I teach because at the root of all negative emotions is fear.  I explore the fear beneath the anger and hurt.  What am I afraid of?  In the case of my friend, was I afraid I wouldn’t find another friend?  Was I afraid I’d never find a man who would love me? Then I direct my mind to release the fear, naming it specifically if I can identify it.  I breathe deeply and as I exhale, I feel the fear leave my body.   If negative emotions keep coming up, I continue the practice for each one, allowing quiet space to settle over me between each release. Another helpful technique based on acupressure points is the Emotional Freedom Technique of tapping.  I find it particularly helpful for the deeper issues that are more difficult to release with the release the fear technique.  After all, our emotions are energy, and this healing requires that we learn to release what is not healthy for us.

EFT

Tapping Points for Emotional Freedom Technique

Acceptance Includes Loving Detachment

When we have released our fears, we will be able to accept what is and move on even when acceptance may mean leaving those we love.  Oneness says, “Walking away with loving detachment is the lesson here to be mastered.”  Eventually, I was able to see my friend with more objectivity, understanding that the man with whom she lived gave her so much she had never had.  I could also see that I had always invested more in our relationship than she had—an indication that it had never meant as much to her as it did to me. Being able to see the themes in our relationship eventually allowed me to accept its end.  I was also moving into a new phase of my life that eventually would have separated us when I moved to North Carolina.  The end had just come sooner than I expected.  Accepting that as Divine Order was the key and I was grateful for the peace that followed. © 2014 Georganne Spruce                                                       ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5 Related Articles:  Basic Steps to Your Emotional Freedom, Acceptance is Vital – Eckhart Tolle (video), Acceptance and Surrender – Eckhart Tolle (video)