Becoming the Guardian of Your Own Solitude

“The point of marriage is not to create a quick commonality by tearing down all boundaries; on the contrary, a good marriage is one in which each partner appoints the other to be the guardian of his solitude, and thus they show each other the greatest possible trust. A merging of two people is an impossibility, and where it seems to exist, it is a hemming-in, a mutual consent that robs one party or both parties of their fullest freedom and development. But once the realization is accepted that even between the closest people infinite distances exist, a marvelous living side-by-side can grow up for them, if they succeed in loving the expanse between them, which gives them the possibility of always seeing each other as a whole and before an immense sky.”          Rainer Maria Rilke

From “Depression and loneliness“:

“Loneliness is subjective, there is no tool to measure it. So, when we feel lonely, we are. Now that I am aware of my loneliness, is it just me? Are other people more connected due to better developed social skills? Loneliness is a feeling as we stated before; it means that the connections you have are not (sufficient) enough for your needs. It’s not about social skills or beware – social media.

Loneliness is a feeling, not just ‘a thought’ to shake off. It really is, it’s not some romantic feeling from the 19th century. I learned that the feeling of loneliness is a signal from the brain and not your emo teenager who lives somewhere in you. It is a signal we can understand as the feeling of hunger that makes you look for food. When we feel lonely it’s a signal we should take action to protect our social body.  It signals a need that is not being met.”

From “Solitude“:

“Solitude awakens the talent and creation power of man. Many litterateurs and scientists gave great compositions and principles to the world by remaining in solitude. Solitude is also very beneficial in terms of spiritual practice. It is possible to assess and observe oneself in solitude. The five senses that push man into the swamp of materiality, the solitude ceases the craving of these senses, leading man’s introverted instinct to the path of cultivation.While living in the crowd of the world, man cannot reduce his mental anguish and stress. This attraction of the physical subjects of the world is very strong. This attraction of subjects is the biggest obstacle in the concentration of mental powers of man.

It is in solitude that one meets oneself. Solitude provides concentration by imparting new energy to man’s scattered inner powers. The solitude in the mind evokes waves of vindictive thoughts. The path of contemplation, talent and new creation opens only through seclusion. Our sages also had the same message that first of all keep yourself in solitude. Become physically and mentally competent by self-inspection.Only a mentally and spiritually capable person can successfully cross the ocean like this world.”

From “Solitude, aloneness, and landscape“:

“I don’t need to be on my own to be lonely. Like many people, some of my loneliest experiences have been in the company of people where I have not felt I belonged. I’m good at not belonging, and there aren’t that many people in whose company I find solace.

Solitude, on the other hand, has been something I’ve actively sought for much of my life. The peace to sit with my own thoughts, the freedom to be as I am with no reference to anyone else. Not being around people does not always cause me to feel lonely.

One of the things that lockdown clarified for me, is that I experience loneliness most intensely in relation to landscape. I don’t find wild, human-free landscapes lonely though. The kinds of wild landscapes other people might call bleak, barren or lonely, have never struck me that way. Expanses of land and sky give me a feeling of belonging, of being held and acceptable.

I am nothing to a hill. I find that immensely comforting. Skies do not judge. Trees do not want small talk. The landscape has little or no interest in me, but is also accepting of me. The loneliness of not being easy in human spaces is eased for me by being out under the sky. Finding the official guidelines when lockdown began were to only go outside for an hour each day was hell, and plunged me deep into depression. In the end I ignored what I was supposed to do, but walked at night and in the early dawn light so as to pose no risk to anyone else.”

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