“I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude. We are for the most part more lonely when we go abroad among men than when we stay in our chambers.” ~Henry David Thoreau, “Solitude,” Walden, 1854
Let’s think about being alone. Another word related to this idea is solitude. Are you comfortable “being alone” or “in solitude?”
When was the last time you spent some quality time with yourself? I know this may sound a little wierd, but there is really only one person you ever have to live with and that person is YOU! In fact, you are the only person that is with you 24/7. Now, there is nothing profound about these statements, but I must admit that the thought of living with myself is relatively new to me. I, before now, just never thought much about it.
I have always wondered about hermits and how they were able to live a fulfilling life by themselves. It has been said that man is a social animal. How does a hermit live and still remain human? I suppose the hermit must be comfortable with the only person he has to live with — himself. Well, he is not alone — he has himself! :-)
Speaking of solitude, if you put prisoners in solitary confinement, then you are giving them extra punishment. Most of the prisoners that are placed in solitary confinement go a “little crazy,” but a few will use the time as a positive way to grow. Perhaps, the ones that go a “little crazy,” do so because they’re not used to being alone.
Too much solitude feels like a punishment, but some is absolutely essential, if we are to grow in a positive way. It is solitude that allows us to do the deep thinking needed for “sorting life out.” I have read that one reason therapy works is that it provides built-in time and structure to focus inward. Perhaps, this is the lesson in the often quoted statement from A Raisin In The Sun by Lorraine Hansberry: “Never be afraid to sit awhile and think.”
I have been sitting around and thinking about who I have to live with. What do you think?