Embracing Alone

Now Available on Amazon

Although we learn from others as social beings, we also learn about ourselves through solitary reflection and self-awareness. This book explains the importance of balancing our interpersonal relationships with time in solitude. Without this time, we might feel pressure from others to conform to the roles and expectations of others. Our time alone recharges our mental and emotional batteries so that we can engage with others more effectively and appropriately. 

In solitude, we identify the various labels and identities of the “false self,” which relies on the recognition or approval of others. Spiritual traditions tell us that the actions driven by the false self are a chief source of our suffering. Our false self doesn’t know how to be alone because it sees itself only in comparison with others. The false self weakens us because it’s based on illusion.

Psychological research shows if we believe that being alone is negative, we will have a negative experience and seek to avoid it. The cycling of negative thoughts can be difficult to break if we don’t know how to regulate our emotions. Because society often teaches us that “being alone,” is to be avoided, we are led to believe that we “should” avoid it. This can feed into our negative cycle of thoughts. 

Technology can help us avoid being alone. When we jump from one arousing media episode to another, we don’t give our minds the opportunity to rest. The research suggests that technology suppresses our inhibitions, causing us to be more impulsive. We make less deliberate decisions, focusing on immediate gratification, shortening the muscle of patience. Distraction also disrupts our ability to pay attention to small details that might be relevant later. 

 

Solitude offers the chance to pay more attention to these details by reflecting upon aspects of our lives that have been motivated by external desires and attachment. When we peel back the layers of the false self and sharpen our senses, we become more sovereign in how we conduct our lives.