I spent a lot of time at home this weekend (kept 'company' by my very fat, neurotic cat, though I don't think he counts) while my partner and most of my local close community & family spent time together skiing and partying at a friends home just out of town.
Despite the fact that this sounds a little odd--why would I choose to stay home when such good and fun things are happening with people I love?--my choice to stay home was not because I am sick or sad or stressed, nor because I was averse to being at the party at all. I just wanted a bit of solitude.
Just some quiet long moments, you know? Some hours to do a little more reflection than I normally get during the rest of the week. Time to check in with myself and take a walk to see how things are feeling, and to maybe do some writing and music and art in total silence.
Spending time alone allows me the space to see what is really happening in my world with clarity, as despite having daily practices that keep me aware of the need to check in (like journaling and meditation) it is so easy to lose track of what I'm really feeling, and what might be weighing on me rather unconsciously.
And it's also the experiential paradox of being alone that keeps me wanting this time for myself, for it is a bizarre but wonderful thing that in solitude I often feel far more connected to everything and everyone than I do when I'm surrounded by people.
I love people, and feel connected to this community and the people within it in a very deep way, but there's a limit to how connected that one can feel on the 'human level' without encountering obstructions of ego (mine and others'), relationship difficulties, to-be-expected challenges in communication and so forth.
Human beings are complicated, and the relationships we form with each other have always been and will always be complicated too. And this is a good thing: these interactions are how we learn, and how we come to understand our egos and woundings and places of potential healing. Feedback fuels our growth and awareness, if we utilize in such a way.
Sometimes, however, it's just so very nice to be in the place behind the ego and the self, where the connection to those things that are nondual in nature--the elements, the plants, the animals--is easy. Automatic. Heart centered. Doubtless.
It is in this space that we remember that we are a soul first, connected and nourished by the universal force with every breath, and part of this great mystery in ways we will never fully understand. Here, away from worrying about the standard homo sapiens fare (clothing, money, status, appearance, career...) we can get re-immersed in that which is persistent beyond the fluctuations of time and ego: water, dirt, wind, cycles. In this space I know I am held, and I belong, and the spaciousness in my heart allows me to then connect with people and non-people in an expansive way that is not always easy in the day-to-day, save for moments with babies and very young children.
Within our egos we are very much alone, and while this is a necessary and important part of our experience as human beings--to really come to know oneself and individuate from the masses as a single entity--we must also remind ourselves to come back to the spaces where our soul connects with everything, remembering, over and over again, that we are and never have been alone.