The ancient masters of all the great religions recommended time alone as a crucial means of discovering authentic self.
It was the 40 days that Jesus took for time alone in the desert to confront his own shadow and the demons of temptation. Moses removed himself alone to Mount Sinai to receive the ten commandments from God.
Before his enlightenment the Buddha retreated for an extended time in the forests, and often went into silent retreats during his lifetime. He however cautioned that “one who goes into solitude will either sink to the bottom or rise to the top,” meaning you have to do it for the right reasons.
It is in the time spent alone that we come closest to the divine and our life purpose, especially if it is time alone in nature.
The Chinese masters of the body arts such as Tai Chi and Qi Gong called the empty space between the spokes of the wheel more important than the spoke itself.
It is in that empty dark space between the stars where you can touch the divine.
We as a society are obsessed with what the wise ancients called the distractions of the 10,000 things. Countless things pull at our attention every day in this digital age:
The news media feed on negative news, the constant subliminal messages working our emotions instill a need for material things we mostly don’t need. There is confusion between necessity and want.
It is no coincidence that with the addiction to distraction there are very few people who can truly bear to spend time alone, and be without the constant chatter.
There is such a great quote from Robin Williams that really sums it up nicely:
“I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is ending up with people who make you feel all alone.”
We are thus constantly seeking the accolades through social media as a reassurance. But it will seldom lead you onto the path of deeper spiritual experience.
Discover self by being alone
It is during the walk alone, the time-out during a silent retreat and the alone time in nature where the gateway to the soul opens and you begin to realize who you truly are.
It is the time when we confront our own shadow, explore the world within, and find out where we need to take the next step.
It is during the alone time that we discover the heart, the love and the divine within. It is who we truly are and that which soul wants to illuminate.
Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor and Consultant