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I have had many teachers in life who taught me valuable lessons – people, experiences, knowledge and so on. However I have a special teacher named solitude that helps me keep my balance in many tight rope acts. In today’s life that moves at an unprecedented maddening pace, there are times when we need to just sit back, be on our own and reflect up on our life and its course. Since our lives are overloaded with intellectual, social and emotional battles, it is imperative that we spend some time in solitude to get in touch with our inner selves.
The benefits of solitude are highly underrated because it is seen as an ally of the depressed and lonely if not the saints and hermits. Until a few years back I thought solitude and loneliness were synonymous. Prima facie they may seem to be the same as both involve being on one’s own. The similarity however, ends here. Loneliness is a forced negative feeling that can be experienced even if one is in a crowd. It implies the grief of isolation. But solitude is a choice made by the individual that involves being alone without feeling lonely. It is all about learning to enjoy one’s own company.
If cultivated as a habit, solitude is as refreshing as an oasis in the middle of a desert. It helps us to stay tuned with ourselves, our emotions and feelings. It keeps us balanced and helps us to maintain perspective apart from making us take charge of our own lives. Some of the benefits of solitude I continue to reap are:
1. Improved creativity: Being on my own in a silent place lets me delve deeper into my beliefs, thoughts and emotions and they find expression in the form of paintings, crafts, poems and articles.
2. Reflection upon actions: Solitude has a way of making me mull over my words and actions, analyse cause-effect relations there by giving me some kind of peace along with a sense of purpose.
3. Being touch with myself: My desires, fears, goals and so many other things about myself become clearer when the accompanying noises of day to day life become subdued. It helps me listen to my inner voice.
4. I enjoy my own company: I have realized that I enjoy the company of myself as much as I enjoy being with friends and family. This, in a way has boosted my self-esteem.
5. Ideal foundation for new ideas: Solitude sparks new ideas and I find myself beginning a new hobby or doing things I previously never considered doing. It gives me that blank slate where I can paint a new picture.
6. More sensitivity: Being on my own with just my thoughts for company actually saves a lot of energy and heightens other senses. I often sit in the local park by myself where I enjoy the call of birds, the rustling of leaves and many other sights and sounds that I often overlook when in the company of people.