by Gary 'Z' McGee
Solitude by Matt Linzel
stem from man's
to sit quietly
in a room alone."
We live in a hyper-connected world. The benefits of which are
the cellphone to
the Internet, information
technologies have brought us closer together as a world.
But despite all the
the problem with
being overly-connected is that we tend to become connected
to everything except ourselves.
The peril of a
hyper-connected world is often a lack of personal connection. We're
so hardwired to be connected to others that we often lose sight of
connecting with ourselves.
And why not? It's scary to look within...
Why be alone when we
never have to?
Why think our own
boring and depressing thoughts when we can entertain ourselves
on the exciting thoughts of others?
This kind of reasoning
can be a slippery slope into addiction.
Because we can easily get
hooked on using the world of others to block out the discomfort of
The more we seek out
distractions that help us avoid ourselves, the scarier the
unknown aspects of ourselves will become, and the more likely we
are to become addicted to "other-than-selfness."
But no matter where we
go, there we are. So eventually we'll have to deal with ourselves.
The question is:
will it be on our own
healthy terms or on our repressed shadow's terms?
That's what makes the
art of solitude the most important
skill nobody ever taught you.
Becoming adept at the art
of solitude is putting our uncomfortable confrontation of self in
the art of solitude
is the vital ability to be alone and to allow for a deep
connection with the Self.
More complexly put,
the ability to integrate with reality (both inner and outer) the way
it actually is, despite cultural conditioning and societal
brainwashing, and to practice overcoming the Self to the extent that
both interdependent integration and self-overcoming become an
The irony is that
connecting with ourselves makes us better at connecting with others.
As Steve Monahan said,
importantly, mastering the art of solitude doesn't make us more
antisocial but, to the contrary, better able to connect."
It's the same with the
concept of love.
The healthier our
self-love is, the healthier our love for others will be.
As the great
"If you like a
flower, you pick it. If you love a flower, you water it.
Appreciation over possession."
When we merely like
ourselves, we, divisively and co-dependently, "pick" (dissociate)
the qualities that best suit us and then repress the rest, which
But when we love ourselves, we learn to "water" (honor) the whole of
ourselves, holistically and interdependently.
the boring and
the ugly and
the regrets and
griefs and guilts and fears,
...all of it, so that it
doesn't become an unhealthy, possessed demon inside us.
Learning the art of solitude is learning how to appreciate the Self
rather than possess it.
Here are the four main benefits of learning the art of solitude…
are stronger than things are terrible."
Solitude leads to a deeper appreciation of the self because
there is nothing to distract you from engaging your inner self.
Away from the
addictive quality of others, you are finally able to account for
the turmoil within.
All the anxieties, doubts and fears come to the surface. This is
scary stuff, sure, but this is the raw stuff that makes you the
learning how to engage with yourself in a holistic way.
This means facing down and reconciling your inner demons.
It means coming to terms with your griefs, guilts and fears and
authentically honoring them so that they don't dishonor you
Deep solitude puts
these in perspective.
This leads to a deeper self-consciousness because it teaches you
how to respect and appreciate what makes you unique and
authentic, however eccentric, ugly or disturbing that uniqueness
has lost and
destroyed his instinct
and can no
longer trust the 'divine animal'
and let go
and his way
leads through deserts."
Deep solitude leads to a healthier relationship with both
Nature and our "divine animal."
interdependence over independence over codependence. It reveals
the interconnectedness of all things and how our instinctual
self is an aspect of the whole.
Eco-consciousness leads to an
eco-centric, rather than an
From this perspective
arises a deep eco-morality that is sensitive to the balance
between nature and the human soul, and which pinpoints the vital
difference between Healthy and Unhealthy and the
importance of moderation in all things.
Deep solitude helps us to finally hear, and begin to
understand, Mother Nature's
"language older than words -
In this sense, deep solitude is transcendent.
with the numinous, the divine, and the spiritual manifests
itself in this interconnectedness.
integrated whole) becomes something we can finally have a
is a kind of innate drive
a human being
him its instrument.
is not a person endowed with free will
his own ends, but one who allows art
its purpose through him.
As a human
being he may have moods
and a will
and personal aims,
but as an
artist he is 'man' in a higher sense
- he is
'collective man' -
carries and shapes
unconscious, psychic forms
Constantly outflanked by the juggernaut of the status quo, we
get caught up in the daily grind of maintaining our tiny comfort
At the expense of
adventure and creativity, we cling to safety and security. At
the expense of unique expression, we give into the hype of being
a well-adjusted cog in the cultural clockwork.
Practicing the art of solitude is a way to break the
It's a way to
flip the script and rewrite it, to turn the tables on a
system that constantly seeks to corral us.
By getting out of our
own way, the art of solitude helps us to update our dull habits
and boring routines with creative Beginner's Mind.
Deep solitude teaches us deep vulnerability.
vulnerability helps us dissolve the vain walls of
invulnerability that we've erected around our comfort zone. In
this sense, we become better able to surrender to
The wild and vulnerable heart of a person who dares to lose
control and experience the extraordinary within the ordinary,
begets the fountainhead overflow of creativity (art).
The seed of the
extraordinary is planted in the settled loam of the ordinary,
and the formally dearth and banal texture of the human condition
becomes ripe with flourishing and
4.) A deeper sense
much of the animal
The art of solitude teaches us how to be balanced and
present. It teaches us how to be healthy.
When we can get away
from the "rat race," we're better able to see why all the rats
are racing and then compare their reason for "racing" to what's
Because solitude teaches interdependence over independence,
we're better able to see the big picture despite our small
When we are able to integrate the whole into our perspective, we
become free in a way that no prison (real or imagined) can
We go from being
merely a Self-perceiving-a-world to a
This is the ultimate
beauty of the art of solitude.
It teaches us that no
matter how alone we feel, we are all connected in a sense that
goes far deeper than any amount of Internet connection can
teaches us this profound tautology:
It's only when I'm
alone that I realize I'm never truly alone.
The lone wolf, the "divine animal"
inside us all, understands this.
"We are never alone.
We are wolves howling at the same moon."