May 29, 2004

Solitude vs. communal life

Solitude is the state or quality of being alone or remote from others resorting to a lonely or secluded place. It is an act or process of withdrawing, especially from something hazardous. In ancient Indian myths, people used to go to solitude in the woods. Buddha went to solitude leaving all personal belongings including family. But as a communal being, why do we need solitude? As poet Jibanananda Das said;

"Not money, not tiredness, not recognition, not love,
another depressed sensation plays in our blood,
Making us weak, weaker and weakest.
I cannot avoid it."

Solitude sometimes gives the benefit of freedom from irritations we experience when living in what was intended to be a community. If you contemplate about the secrets you share with others, you will find that you cannot share some secrets with your parents, siblings or children. Some secrets you cannot share with your wife or closed friends. There are even one or two you do not dare to share with yourself too! You wish that the secret would have never existed.

Being in solitude, free from distractions of other people, we can explore our own minds with clarity and in depth. Being alone can exaggerate our anxieties, but solitude and silence enhances creativity and solve problems.

In this frantically companionable society, the solitary man or women is branded as anti-social. However people should know that loneliness and solitude are not synonyms. You cannot feel lonely among other people. But Solitude, however, is a state of mind and one can be in solitude wherever one wants to be.

Solitude is very easy to care for. Be sure to give it daily attention and it will grow big and strong. It is like being alone in company, and alone having the company of the world. The spirit is in motion. With me I am more than one. In solitude we deal with our depressed sensation.


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