Andre Salikov. 'Morning Prayer .Tibet.' Flickr
In avoiding Solitude, staying busy, and engaging the persistent need of attention from others, we can collude together that such avoidance of the intimacy arising from Silence is the normal, and those who cherish the intimacy deeper than emotional closeness are the ones not in sync with whatever normal is; but possibly that solitary one is even more solitary for he or she feels into and through the lack of depth in what many call closeness, community, fellowship, fidelity, and other words. If so, then some may be called to live more in solitude partly in protest against such a relating, based personality-with-personality, or object-to-object, and, also, witness to a deeper offering available to us all, arising from the intimacy of Silence Itself, a closeness so close in-spirit we can rightly refer to this as Pure Subjectivity.
I recall, almost 25 years ago, being at a retreat. I was a Professor of Religion and went to the retreat with some staff and a large group of students from the college. One day, I walked off alone, wanting to be alone. A kind young lady, a student, ended up at the same place. Upon seeing me apart, alone, she asked, "What's wrong, that you are here by yourself?" As most who begin a serious spiritual path, I was taking it very seriously, too much so, possibly. Also, I was ending my career, and that was not helping my being less serious about seeking time apart. To be apart seemed almost a strategy to protect myself during the uncertainty of that time, and possibly it was partly. Regardless, I thought it strange, and still do, that there would be some automatic association of someone wanting time to himself or herself, not with the crowd, as a sign of something wrong. Yet, that would mean, to be with others, would mean, apparently, all is apparently okay. Can you imagine a world where needing to be with others would be more likely a sign that something is wrong than needing time apart from others?
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We have been made to believe that feelings, emotions, and even the inner stirrings of our soul have to be shared with others. ... In fact, people who prefer to keep to themselves and do not expose their interior life tend to create uneasiness and are often considered inhibited, asocial, or simply odd. But let us at least raise the question of whether our lavish ways of sharing are not more compulsive than virtuous, that instead of creating community they tend to flatten out our life together.
*Henri J. M. Nouwen. The Way of the Heart.
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Persons of Solitude may remind us all that our sharing may not be often so much a sharing of Love but of our own fear of who we are, what Grace is, and of the Silence without which words lose power and meaning and become little more than a defense against Life, rather than an expression of fellowship. Could it be a person who enjoys aloneness and quiet is actually showing forth a sign that all is, indeed, okay, and Life is right, and one is at peace with Life, not avoiding others but loving them from the Silence, from the deep place of the Heart? Is that possible?
Hartwig HKD. "Full Moon Meditation' Flickr
(C)Brian K. Wilcox, 2019