It would be interesting to find out if people can distinguish between being alone or being lonely. Alone is being able to enjoy ones own company, being lonely is almost a health hazard as one can’t stand being by themselves, so their blood pressure must go up as a result. Plus any interpersonal relations suffer as the lonely person leeches on to anyone they can find. While a good social life is important, one needs to have some solitude that is essential to a balanced lifestyle. We all need to get away from urban life and its noise levels or get away from the demands of other people.
Solitude transforms a person. It gives a person a chance to pause between the events of their life. The quality of these pauses is far more important than the quality a person has. It’s no accident that great spiritual leaders spent a good deal of time alone. An example is Jesus who spent a good part of his evenings and nights alone with God.
Quality solitude involves being comfortable with your own company. Solitude may be associated closer to introverts than extroverts are but both groups need it to some degree. Everyone requires time to take stock of their life or deciding which habits to release.
If a person finds solitude intimidating at first, they can start being alone in small portions of time. One can be alone in a favourite room at home, at a beach listening to the waves lapping on the shore or spending a 24 hour segment at a retreat house. The idea is to develop ones inner peace and calmness.
Solitude isn’t about isolating oneself from the world but to become more present and responsive to people. While everyone has different tolerance levels for noise, I find turning the radio off necessary as it becomes a distraction. Ear plugs helps when I’m indoors. When outdoors I enjoy the feel of the sun and sounds of nature. Silence is golden.