It’s difficult to speak of solitude without speaking of loneliness. Yet the two are diametrically different. However for most of us solitude is something we can’t stumble upon without the help of loneliness. Loneliness is laden with something that suggests incompleteness, and solitude is a space where there is no need for another. There is a sense of completion. Yet the latter is something most people neither stumble upon nor understand or perhaps don’t even seek.
For most of us we hover in the web of loneliness. Yes loneliness is our common thread. We are all tied with it. And we get lost within it. So we try to fill it up with friends and partners and alcohol and every other thing that actually keeps getting sucked in this huge hole of loneliness, leaving us even more empty. I am not here to talk about that though, because we all know what it feels like. I would like to however share with you about solitude. My experiments with solitude. I stumbled upon it through loneliness. I guess I was lucky.(Or what I call luck is my Guru’s grace)
Because my loneliness had the potential to catapult me into the deep realms of no return. My desire to escape this loneliness was however stronger and deeper than loneliness itself and it took on a strange power. I started of by trying to escape loneliness. Then I realized you cannot escape anything. The first step was to accept loneliness. And by that I don’t mean I accepted it fatalistically. No you don’t give into drugs, you don’t kill yourself. No, that’s not it. My first step was to accept it. I stopped drowning it with friends, alcohol and relationships. Loneliness is not about severing it from you, it’s just another energy pattern that can be transformed. And I started doing that through my art.
Strangely my imagination functions way better when I am by myself. This is a literal boon for a person like my whose profession is the arts. There would be evenings I would try to fill up with works of art or music that would draw me into an alternate universe. I didn’t enjoy going out for parties because the loneliness amidst the people would tear me even more. Initially it wasn’t easy. There wasn’t a day I didn’t crave to talk to someone, you understand don’t you ,like ‘talk’. Not exchange pleasantries over tea. Yet there was no one. Even God seemed to have forsaken me.
But amidst this darkness, something would keep edging me. Every time I would fall an invisible hand would drag me out.I speak about years not days. The restlessness the pain would give impetus to depth in my work and my spiritual journey. It was like a fuel. Yes, loneliness can be that a fuel. And suddenly like a flash I realized I had stumbled into the garden of solitude. I can’t really chart the time or journey when I realized loneliness didn’t eat me up anymore. Instead I felt a deep sense of calmness alone. It was like one fine day I just woke up. There is no longer a restlessness or the need to be with people compulsively. There is a fullness within. Something that doesn’t shy from it’s own company rather looks forward to it, almost addictively.
‘Solitude is not chosen, any more than destiny is chosen. Solitude comes to us if we have within us the magic stone that attracts destiny.’ -May Sarton
What is that magic stone? I call it loneliness. But you must beware of this stone because this stone has the power to engulf you. So you need to be stronger than it. You need to remember you are never alone. There is something behind helping you and you are larger than loneliness. If you suffer from loneliness don’t give up hope my friends. There is a place beyond it.
Blessed be he who has found his solitude, not the solitude pictured in painting or poetry, but his own, unique, predestined solitude. Blessed be he who knows how to suffer! Blessed be he who bears the magic stone in his heart. To him comes destiny, from him comes authentic action. -Herman Hesse