For the past few years, it has been a great love of mine to be alone for longer and longer periods of time. I truly get lost in it. I love the silence, the space, the possibilities, the absolute lack of restriction on my choices. I love the open-ended quality of my days, the grand potential for the unexpected and the pleasant (and sometimes unpleasant) surprises I encounter, all on my own. I love the freedom.
Today, for example, I have been sitting alone in my house all day listening to music, dancing, not speaking, drawing, cleaning and journaling, and it has felt like one of the most meaningful days I’ve had in a long while.
Having spent much of my teenage years and early adult life doing anything and everything possible to make sure I was never left to face my own existence, the fact that I revel in my aloneness now is something I wear as a badge of accomplishment and maturity. I do get the selfish quality of it, and that some people may see it as a bit sad, but it’s beautiful for me. There is no longer some part of my being that I’m trying desperately to avoid; no mental or emotional experience so overwhelming that I must occupy myself madly in order to not face it directly, and that feels amazing.
It is a confusing paradox, this whole ‘getting to know yourself’ thing. On one hand we have all these accumulated habits and egoic tendencies that, if inspected clearly, cause us to back away in disgust at our own silliness, and so we keep ourselves busy (as I did) so that we don’t have to contact our own stuff directly, and yet it is those same set of habits that hold the wisdom and insights necessary to evolve. We must turn towards them if we desire true freedom. We must sit alone and look at our dark stuff and learn to love it if we want a full sense of our individual existence. This turning backwards and inwards is the hardest thing we can often do, but the rewards of this kind of bravery are never-ending.
Now this is not to say I don’t love being around people, which I very much do. And by no means am I suggesting that we should all become hermits and just go deeper and deeper within our respective soulful caves—not in the least. We learn so much from being in relationship to others and the greater world that engaging with it is essential. But it’s just that a level of disengagement at times; the ability to sit with your thoughts and feelings without distraction and find the beauty in them—is a wonderful thing. To love your own company, as you would a partner or a friend. This is bliss.