The Zhongnan mountains – located within the Shaanxi province in China – are a dwelling place for Taoist hermits for a minimum of over two thousand years.
For centuries, they’ve been seeking refuge from society, and for various reasons.
Some pursued a spiritual path, others wanted to reflect on the planet from a distance and, again, others were mainly motivated by a disgust for the govt. Hermits, irrespective of why they’ve chosen their lifestyles, may have closed themselves aloof from one world. They’ve gained another: a world that’s potentially much deeper and more fulfilling. It’s no surprise that hermits have appeared in many cultures in human history.
Another example is that the Christian desert mothers like Syncletica of Alexandria who abandoned town and spent the remainder of her life in a very crypt. Or Hindu philosopher Ramana Maharshi who meditated for several years at a temple, and Rabbi Yosef Yozel Horowitz who spent years of his life in seclusion.
But while a stronger reference to God and therefore the prospect of enlightenment are the grounds on which these hermits secluded themselves; there’s also a more mundane reason why spending time alone may be beneficial: it’s a chance for self-transformation.
Being alone is a transformative experience if we utilize it correctly; which is secured by numerous accounts within the field of psychology in addition as philosophy and spiritual teachings like Buddhism.
Solitude could be a tool, which may be used permanently and bad, carefully and excess, and this text explores the advantages that solitude can have.
The information presented to you is principally supported the author’s reasoning and observations, supported by different sources.
1) an opportunity for self-knowledge
When most of the people consider self-knowledge, they probably consider certain characteristics or ego constructs that they see as themselves.
These may be things like: I’m a confident person, I’m a funny person, I’m not someone people can mess with.
The Buddhists have a special approach. although they don’t even acknowledge the existence of a set self, they are doing meditate to find out about the character of existence, including the tangle of thoughts and emotions that we sit down with because the self. The goal of meditation isn’t just relaxing the body and also the mind, but also gaining self-knowledge, and reworking the mind.
Meditators concentrate to their bodily processes, thoughts, and emotions, yet as what’s happening around them and the way they react to the current. The advantage of solitude, during this case, is that it facilitates them to watch and know things about themselves that they typically don’t see within the noisy outside world interacting with people.
What causes them to feel a particular way?
What is the basis of their worries? Again, it’s often hard to work out where certain thoughts and emotions originate from if we are always distracted by people. In solitude, however, by sitting with ourselves, we are going to be able to discover what causes the unpleasant mind states that we usually run from by embracing worldly distractions.
“All that we are is that the results of what we’ve thought; it’s founded on our thoughts; it’s made of our thoughts. A man’s life is that the direct results of his thoughts. We are what we expect. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the globe.”
So, following the view of Siddhartha, if we would like to regulate our experience, we’ve got to manage the mind.
2) an opportunity to relinquishing of fixed views
When we keep company with people it’s easy to urge fixed in certain ideologies. Like mental states, ideas are contagious; far more so once we expose ourselves to those that share the identical worldview.
History has countless samples of those who are so convinced of their collective belief system, that it seems almost impossible for them to open up to different points of view. The media, including online platforms, play an enormous role during this, as they supply us with a stream of knowledge. By exposing ourselves to certain media consistently, we allow them to inject our minds with the opinions, views, and ideologies created by others. Then, like parrots, we proudly repeat these second-hand opinions to the environment, as if they’re our own. we are able to also see a bent for people to be drawn to certain information sources that accept as true with the information that’s already stored on their internal hard drives.
By continual exposure to opinions kind of like those that we have already got, while ignoring people who aren’t in line with our own views, our existing views will only be strengthened. this can be how so-called echo chambers are created, which are ultimate manifestations of groupthink, during which exclusively like-minded people participate that mutually strengthen their shared ideology no matter how flawed it should be.
Solitude, on the opposite hand, allows us to detach ourselves from such echo chambers, still because the media outlets we’ve been exposing ourselves to. once we spend your time alone to reflect on the ideas we’ve been taking as a right we are able to learn if these ideas truly align with our personal experiences and with factual information.
We can reflect on the usefulness and destructiveness of ideas that constitute hatred; what damage this can do to ourselves and also the world around us (even when this hatred seems justified) and if there are other ways to handle our surroundings.
3) a chance to become more self-sufficient
We all rely upon the people around us to a point, whether or not it’s only for the straightforward undeniable fact that one person cannot exist without two others procreating. But some people seem to feel forsaken and helpless when there’s nobody by their side, whether or not it’s only for a brief period.
They need to be within the company of others all the time and can’t stand the concept of being alone with their thoughts; without anyone to speak to. Such people are overly hooked in to others, beyond the degree of what’s reasonable and truly necessary. so as to survive, especially within the present, we don’t must be within the presence of people all the time in most cases. In many individualistic and highly developed countries, it’s not even required to depart the house and speak to people anymore to urge our basic needs met.
Psychologist and author Daniel Marston state in an article: it’s useful to think about what proportion social interaction and social connection is really required to survive and even enjoy life. There actually is incredibly little required. you’ve got to be ready to interact with others to urge things done but really there’s not much else that you simply need.
Many people may prefer more which is okay. But many folks may additionally prefer less and that is fine additionally. once we think about it, what quantity social interaction can we actually need? in fact, this can be different for each person, but how often are we hanging out with people, not because we like them but just because we don’t want to be alone? And is that this feeling of deficiency we would experience in solitude caused by the solitude itself, or by the assumption that we want company? will we believe that we’re, somehow, insufficient when there’s nobody around? If that’s the case, we depend on the presence of others to feel sufficient, which is an unreliable thanks to operate.
When we long for company, it implies that we are dissatisfied with what’s, as we’ve added a problematic element to the actual fact that we’re, for instance, alone on a Saturday night. So, it’s not always the solitude that is the problem, but how we expect about it.
By embracing solitude, however, we will learn to understand it, so it’s not an issue but something neutral or maybe pleasurable.
We can use the time we spend alone as a practice to rework into more self-sufficient people, meaning that we learn to rely less on others and are ready to fulfill many of our needs on our own.
Also, rather than experiencing ourselves as empty vessels that require to be filled by others, we discover ways to fill them ourselves so we do not need others for experiencing a way of completeness and contentment.
The idea that everything we’d like to feel contentment is already within is supported by the numerous people who’ve experienced this first hand.
Poet Fernando Pessoa once wrote: “Freedom is that the possibility of isolation. you’re free if you’ll be able to withdraw from people, not having to hunt them out for the sake of cash, company, love, glory, or curiosity, none of which may thrive in silence and solitude. If you can’t live alone, you were born a slave. you will have all the splendors of the mind and therefore the soul, during which case you are a noble slave or an intelligent servant, but you are not free.”
Even though kith and kin are interdependent in many ways, and social isolation are often harmful, the worth of paying time alone are some things to ponder upon. If we would like to understand ourselves better, become more authentic and independent thinkers, and usually more skillful within the art of solitude, spending time alone are often an investment with high returns.