Embracing One’s Aloneness

August 1st, 2009

Buddha

 

Ordinary men hate solitude.
But the Master makes use of it,
embracing his aloneness, realizing
he is one with the whole universe.

 

(Tao Te Ching, 42nd verse)

 

 

Yes, I’m on a bit of a Tao roll, so bear with me.  I carry the pocket edition of the Tao Te Ching in my purse at all times. I don’t read it every day (although I think that was the original intent when I purchased it), but I like knowing it’s there. Whether I need a quick spiritual infusion or am sitting in some waiting room with nothing to read, it’s good company. For fun, I like to  just fish it out (as soon as I can locate it in that cavern I call a handbag) and randomly open it to whatever page and verse my finger lands upon.

 

Today I landed on the above quote and  now humbly admit to you that…that…I’m ordinary.  There, I admitted it. As much as I want to be extraordinary and the master of my universe, I’m mostly ordinarily human when it comes to being comfortable with my aloneness.

 

I’ve always thought of it as a gift that I’m a people person. Talking, sharing and being with others has always been quite easy for me and pretty joyous most of the time. The flip side of that, however, being that I’m sometimes more at ease in the company of other people than I am with my own solitude. In fact, I often feel a little sorry for myself if I have no one to spend time with or want to do an activity but can’t find a buddy to make it a twosome.

 

So how can we learn to embrace this aloneness, to make use of it as the Tao Te Ching suggests? A good start is by taking the time to sit quietly, meditate and feel your oneness with the universe. Sounds deep and a little airy-fairy? Well, here are some more concrete suggestions.

 

Rise and shine! In order to start your day in a more grounded way, get up a little extra early. Find a quiet place in your home or outside and sit and meditate for 20 minutes. You can either set an intention to meditate upon, or leave it open. Sometimes my morning meditation is as simple as me sitting in the patio, cup of hot coffee in my hands, iPod playing peaceful sounds. (I could tell you that the coffee is for the aroma therapy aspect of my meditation, but truth is I’m just a morning coffee person). Just taking that short time to center yourself in the morning will start your day off better.

 

Hate eating lunch alone?  Don’t skip it or have a working meal (you know, inhaling food while checking your email at your desk). Try a new, cool dining experience. Make a lunch date with yourself. Sit at a table, read a good book, eat slowly and deliberately and enjoy every bite and minute with your favorite lunch companion–yourself. Contrary to your biggest fear, no one is actually looking at you and wondering why you’re eating alone.

 skip on beach

No one to play with after work or during your free time? Take yourself on a playdate. Kindly escort yourself to the park, beach, gym, movies, wherever you enjoy spending time. See where your mind and spirit will go when you let them play and not have to keep company and make conversation at the same time.

 

I’m pretty sure that I wasn’t put on this earth to be ordinary or live an ordinary life. What about you? That’s what I thought. So let’s make a decision right here and right now to be extraordinary beings. Let’s each embrace that place within ourselves that we can only access and know in the solitary moments of our lives. Let’s not run away from our solitude, but rather run with it.

 

Life is good! Life is extraordinary! Namaste. –Lori


8 Responses to “Embracing One’s Aloneness”

  1. Can there truly be anything “ordinary”, including you, in the divinity of creation? I think not! If you are ordinary, then the Creator must be also, for you cannot be separate or less than It is…though indeed you can perceive yourself as such. Just a thought…love the site!

  2. Excellent food for thought, Cappy. Thanks for stopping by the site.

  3. This is the first post I’ve read since you returned and, of course, I LOVED IT! I love your honesty and the gift you have for expressing yourself so candidly, yet warmly. One of my fave parts about this post? You and the coffee. :) The smell alone of coffee is a treat, but I must admit to enjoying my first cuppa (or two) every morning, too … which I do do, by the way, about 2 hours before Boy arises = my quiet alone time every day.

  4. Lori, lovely post. I have Pocketbook editions of both the Tao Te Ching and The Dhammapada in my purse – a leftover habit from my days living in NYC, when I was frequently stuck in lines or on mass transit, and needed a way to lift my attention. I think they are both such beautiful classics, that are inspiring and thought-provoking no matter how many times you turn to them.
    As for solitude, I think you nailed it here. Finding those moments, and sometimes even fighting the urge to be with others if it is just out of habit, is such an important way to center ourselves. I have always been a big solitude person (maybe from growing up as an Air Force brat, and moving a lot, not sure?), and now with kids, I have to make that extra effort to get the alone time I need. Namaste- Lisa

  5. Hi Lisa, Thanks for your lovely comment. It’s nice to know that my meanderings are actually read once in a while :-)

  6. [...] has some great ideas for embracing rather than running from alone time as does Nick who created long term solitude.  The beautiful Value of Solitude explores whether or [...]

  7. Lori!
    Are you still adding to the site? I finally decided to finish creating mine and publish it almost a month ago. Submitted it to all the search engines and we shall see what comes of it! Stop by and pay a visit when you can – I miss the conversations at It’s A Grind!

    Cappy

  8. Hi Cappy,
    I hadn’t posted anything in a good long while and just got inspired today. I’ll check out your site and we can give link juice to each other. I miss IAG too. Don’t really go there anymore. Life moves on. Hope you are doing well.

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