SOLITUDE | The Lack of Loneliness


End of November – moist, smelling of smoke. Somewhere, a woodpecker at work. The house is warm, an invitation to day-dreaming, memories rewinding and introspection. That certain autumnal melancholic solitude – bearing a slight existential sadness. So different from the hibernal phlegmatic solitude accompanied by an aloofness as cold as the ice that designed the models on the window.

I am about to sit down and write – I need solitude. Just me, the pencil and the sheet of paper in front of me. Any act of creation is born when you are in the sole company of your self. All the great writers, painters, scientists glorified their working spaces, studios or laboratories populated only by themselves and the act of creation. Solitude – private space – creativity.

The first days of February. In the morning. The air is perfumed with Spring, life and creation. My favourite moment – a new day is being born. Despite the cold, I leave the doors to the garden wide open. The coffee is hot – another heart-warming aroma. I plunge into my own thoughts. It is at this particular moment of the day that the best ideas come into my mind – answers to personal questions, alternatives to problems, forgotten memories about the future, projects about the past … And, most of all, the joy of living the moment itself. That solitude carrying the scent of damp soil, snowdrops and coffee.

I think back to my student years with immense pleasure. Especially the tramway rides when I was with my own thoughts … the rail car swaying, the other passengers’ chattering noise, a sudden brake … At times, I could read several pages of a book. Strange, isn’t it? Solitude in a crowd.

A bay in Greece – the beach, several boats anchored by the shore, the burning sun and a perfectly blue sky. The image of Paradise. The delicate sound of rippling water is soothing, barely perceptible, hypnotic. I sense the heat imbuing each cell of my body. Despite all the people present, I feel as though there is none around but the sea and I. For minutes at a time, I simply lie still, doing nothing. Solitude – Sun – relaxation.

I often pass by a homeless man – expressive as a painting, his blue eyes sparkling a light at the border of wisdom and lunacy. Next to him, a fluffy black doggie. It is probably all he has. Nonetheless, he radiates tranquility and resignation to fate. Solitude – serenity – love of a pet.

One cannot love humans unless one loves solitude. Certain sociological studies demonstrate that the experience of having guests over brings more joy to people that live in isolation. They benefit from their own time to breathe, ponder, reflect and analyze, rest and work. Any period of loneliness is followed by a “crave” for relations, the desire to get together and chat with one’s peers. Solitude – authenticity – hospitality.

Only in solitude did all the great spiritual personalities experience epiphanies. Be it while alone in the desert for 40 days – like Jesus -, or at a tree shade – like Buddha -, or in the mountains, during a period of meditation, fasting and praying – like Moses -, or on the road of Damascus – like Saint Paul -, the illumination, revelations and dialogue with the Divinity can only take place in isolation. In fact, one is never alone, but always with one’s own self. Which makes two … Actually, three. Solitude – faith – spirituality.

The contemporary Western society tends to value activity excessively. Many of the individuals involved in various activities at a frenetic pace adopt a defensive stance against their own overwhelming thoughts, emotions and feelings. Sometimes, it may also mask the fear of being viewed as unsociable or even depressive. It is precisely this type of people that need the most these moments of healing solitude. When one enjoys solitude, one is rid of neurosis. Solitude – healing.

The doorbell rings. I leave my armchair, I put on my slippers and open the door. Gone are the moments of solitude … I welcome my guests happily!

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