Serenity In Solitude – Why You Should Spend More Time With Your Self

solitude companion

From my last post you might be forgiven for thinking that life on Lanta is a never-ending party. Well I guess you wouldn’t be entirely wrong; there is always a party to go to with fantastic people if and when you’re in the mood. However, my most profound and rewarding moments on this beautiful island have come when I have withdrawn from the crowd to sit with my Self and embrace the serenity of solitude.

Soaking myself in the ocean at the start of the day, greeting the universe and enveloping myself into a big watery morning hug…

Sitting on a beach with my toes in the sand, marvelling at the majesty of the sky burning with fire in yet another breathtaking sunset…

Being alone at night and listening to the crashing rhythm of the waves, the enchanting melody of the Muslim calls to prayer, or the cacophony of calls by the various creatures sharing my habitat (outside the bungalow walls at least)…

These are the moments I came here for, to be still and quiet in the natural realm of All-That-Is and watch out for wherever my mind wanders. To be content and comfortable in my own company. To be alone.

You might be quick to associate the word alone with loneliness, that sadness and isolation that roots itself in a genuine craving for real-life company. I had a conversation recently with a (single) friend, who said that he can’t appreciate walks on the beach or the sound of the surf any more, until he has a partner to share the experience with. He pointed out that our relationships with each other are the most important thing in life, and to him, certain experiences are hollow, or even boring, if he doesn’t have that special someone beside him. I think he is right that human relationships should be cherished, whether it’s a lover, a friend or a family member. We are all sharing this glorious experience of life, and more than that, we are all intimately connected as parts of a whole, little bits of this big ball of energy we live in. Connecting with other people is indeed a hugely important part of human life.

quieter more hearHowever I couldn’t wholly agree with him. These solitary moments I have experienced here, and everywhere else I have lived, are profound and special, and I have never felt the need to have another person there beside me to add any more value to the experience. It also occurs to me that, in fact, those solitary moments are not solitary at all. It is in those quiet moments that we enter into a conversation or at least a shared experience with that which is all around us. By basking in the view of the ocean, or sitting under a tree in a park, or lying in bed listening to a storm rage outside, when you surround yourself with the natural beauty of the world and quiet your mind from any distractions, including the distraction of somebody sitting next to you, you open yourself up to a whole new kind of connection. Solitude is important in its own right, for cultivating a relationship with your inner self, for maintaining the kind of dialogue with the universe that we all have the potential for, for finding peace and tranquillity in every aspect of life, for recharging your batteries so that you can better serve yourself and those around you.

While this kind of contemplative alone time could be thought of as a spiritual practice itself, it also offers the perfect conditions for whatever other practice you might be drawn to. My own connection with the universe is strengthened every day by chanting nam myoho renge kyo, especially in those secluded moments. While many practices can be carried out within a group, and the kind of energy that is generated in such gatherings can be exhilarating, ultimately your spiritual journey is a solo one. I generally prefer to chant nam myoho renge kyo alone, as I find that the energy of people around me, and even the chit-chat after the practice is finished, can drown out the voice of my own inner self and the insights that my practice gives rise to.

There are of course many different spiritual practices, and different methods work for different people. Chanting is the practice that resonates with me the most, because this gives me the most tangible feeling of taking action towards connecting with my Self and All-That-Is. But there are no absolutes in the realm of spiritual exploration, no right or wrong way to form and cultivate that connection. Some may prefer the silent observation of thoughts in meditation; others gravitate towards the direct communication style of prayer; others like to use their bodies through yoga or spiritual dance. If you’re open to exploring options, go ahead and try out all the possibilities and find what works for you. Just be sure to make chanting nam myoho renge kyo one of those things you try…

Whether you choose to incorporate a regular spiritual practice or not, time spent in solitude can be a wonderful gift to yourself, giving you the opportunity to relax and reflect on whatever is going on in your life, and leaving you feeling more peaceful and energised.

Have you found serenity in solitude? What is your favourite way to spend time alone? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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3 thoughts on “Serenity In Solitude – Why You Should Spend More Time With Your Self

  1. Bernadette

    Having re-read this post it still totally resonates with me. It is inspiring. I find alone time invaluable. For me walking alone is wonderful. Solitude is a gift we can all benefit by. It does not necessarily have to be a time to reflect on our lives or sort out problems. As a very elderly friend of mine once said: “Sometimes I sit and think and sometimes I just sit”

  2. Aga

    Great post, Jess! I can say a lot about solitude and I understand your lonely single friend perfectly! When your soul is lonely and aching, nothing brings solace and being physically alone makes the pain even worse. You can enjoy being alone only when you’ve sorted the problem out – problem being the soul aching which from my experience is not caused by having no romantic relationship, but by self-esteem issues. It is important to become aware of the issues and seach for ways to remediate, and there’s multitude of them.
    Sending you love and being slightly jealous as it’s snowing in Warsaw 😀

    • Jessica

      Thanks Aga! You’re totally right that there are underlying issues like that for a lot of people, and I really do think that spiritual (or self-development) practice is the best way to address such struggles. You know well by now that chanting nam-myoho-renge-kyo is my preferred method, but indeed, different things work for different people! The main thing is to take that time for yourself to try different things and find what works for you 🙂 Hope you’re not too cold over there in snowy Warsaw, at least you can get out and have fun building a snowman eh?! There’s always a silver lining 😉

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