Very often, people have confided in me, saying: “I feel alone”, “I feel left out”, “I don’t fit in”, “I’ve been abandoned” and the like.
Irrespective of whether we are extroverted or introverted, we do not experience solitude in the same manner. Some say it does not exist, others that you get used to it.
For my own part, I experienced a form of solitude as an only-child, and am rather introverted.
But things have been different for a long time, and I am delighted to have a large family nowadays, or rather two large families, for I am a child of the Rose-Croix and consequently have thousands of brothers and sisters, friends and fellow travellers.
I am never alone.
You can have this same feeling by being aware that you belong to the great family of humanity.
The Latin origin of the word solitude is “solitudo” which is defined as: “…situation of a person who is alone, momentarily or lastingly. Solitude is a state of abandonment, of separation, that a person feels in contrast to human consciousness or society.”
In daily life, solitude can be very distressing, indeed more distressing than anything, resulting as it sometimes does from a tragedy, a handicap, a final or temporary separation from someone dear, or from being abandoned.
The famous 19th Century French poet Alphonse de Lamartine wrote: “You are missing one single person and the whole world is empty!”
There are people who are genuinely isolated, and others who, despite meeting lots of people on a daily basis and having lots of contact at all times, feel terribly alone.
This emotional isolation is therefore all in the mind, and it is vital not to get some sort of pleasure out of it, and not to build invisible walls that have no door or window, between us and others.
People of course imagine that these walls protect, but this is not so, it is quite the contrary.
With no exit to the outside, they suffocate us inwardly, prevent us from releasing our emotions, and confine us in an unhealthy atmosphere, noxious and harmful to our emotional and physical health.
We can see that those who wallow in deep solitude are seldom cheerful, communicative and responsive to others. You will tell me that they may of course simply be thoughtful and deeply meditative people.
In their own way they may also be very happy, have great inner wealth, be content with their own company and so on. I have no doubt that this is possible, and I know people like this.
However, this solitude may in some cases be masking a discontent, even a tendency to what we term depression, a permanent obscure night. If this solitude includes silence as well, it may be confirming what I said previously.
This is by no means always the case though, and it is also true that an excess of chattering and expressiveness can be symptomatic of a huge feeling of solitude or of an inner emptiness.
It is well known that we have to be good company to ourselves, but this does not exclude being good company for others as well. Your response may be that generally people are far from pleasant and one cannot have too much to do with them, and that their all too obvious faults cause you more annoyance and distress than they do interest or pleasure.
What is the source of this feeling of solitude that we feel, that often leads us to say we are always alone?
Is it because as we incarnate, we are leaving a family, the great Universal Soul, with regret?
Is it because our biological mother, in ejecting us from her body, forces us to become an independent being within a few moments, alone from that point on, launched out to discover another universe?
Or is it the weight of responsibilities and duties required of us as a single individual manifesting?
The answer is not always clear.
On the other hand, when we have overcome an obstacle and triumphed over an ordeal, we are proud to have done it on our own, with no-one else’s help. A personal feat is often a better experience and feeling than a group success.
From birth to death, there constantly recurs this basic principle: individuality, to which is added responsibility and often, guilt. The latter may of course be collective, and connected to a nation or a group, but most often it is our own.
Coming back to this feeling of solitude that we all experience to varying degrees, we can say that it arises most often at difficult times when we are sad or in pain.
It is accompanied by a feeling that others do not understand us, by the notion of not being appreciated for the actions and work we have carried out, of struggling all alone, of being neither supported nor helped… in short, of being alone, utterly alone, in carrying a heavy weight and bearing the woes of the world on our shoulders.
Feeling we are not understood by another person or by other people, or as the popular expressions go, ‘preaching in the wilderness,’ ‘not getting heard even by shouting,’ and so on, leaves a profound feeling of solitude in the human heart.
It will most probably be this way for a long time to come, for this is part of our human nature is linked to our ego.
However we must always remember that we are never truly alone.
I end with a quote by Ruth Fishel:
I will take time to be alone today. I will take time to be quiet. In this silence I will listen…, and I will hear my answers.