You need to see the difference between isolation and solitude to understand how you can be isolated but not feel alone, and learn a lot about yourself in the process.
Feeling Isolated Is Terrible
Isolation is a negative concept because people have no choice in the matter.
There are various reasons why someone might be isolated, all of which make up the fabric of life: mourning, divorce, death of a loved one, job loss, burnout, etc.
People sometimes find themselves isolated without realizing it. They don’t talk to anyone except the sales-people at the stores where they shop. We live in an individualistic society, and most of us are concerned only about ourselves and our own problems, and forget about what’s happening around us.
Think about it. If you know anyone in this kind of situation, you should reach out to them. In a way you need to tame them. How? By talking to them and offering to do things that, for them, could be a lifesaver. They’ll be extremely thankful and, who knows? Maybe they’ll be able to repay you in kind one day.
If you feel isolated, take small steps to change your situation. I know it’s hard, especially if you’ve been alone for a long time. What you need to do is regain your self-confidence. The best way to do that is to set challenges for yourself. You need to get out and talk to people. Talk about a TV program you liked to your baker, what the weekend weather’s supposed to be like to your butcher, about all the tomatoes you planted to the flower vendor, or even about the dog next door. It doesn't really matter what the subject is, as long as you communicate with your neighbors, your acquaintances, your family and friends, and the people you deal with every day. Call someone you haven’t spoken to for a long time, a family member like a cousin or an aunt. Or call an old friend just to say hello and aks how things are going.
You’ll see, taking the first step is the hardest and most important part. After that, it’ll be easy as more and more people start thinking about you.
My concept of the “path of solitude” is radically different from the way being alone is usually seen. A person who chooses the “path of solitude” makes a personal commitment, and doesn’t feel forced in any way.
The “path of solitude” is possible no matter where you live. You don’t need to escape like a hermit to some distant cave or desert. You can practice this ultimate spiritual path under any circumstances, no matter where you are.
The “path of solitude” will endow you with great control over your emotions, especially in extreme situations (death, separation, loss, etc.). It will also help you determine who you really are, and what you should really be doing with your abilities.
Clear Out What’s Around You
You can practice the “path of solitude” in the middle of a city if you choose, but the best thing is to be in a quiet place, where you can empty your mind without being distracted by outside sources.
Emptying your mind means being as relaxed as possible, and focusing your attention on a single point, without letting yourself become distracted by anything whatsoever, whether it’s something you see or smell, a noise you hear, something you remember, etc.
If you practice at home, the ideal thing would be to find a room that’s empty of objects. If that’s not possible, sit facing the wall, or stare at an image you’ve pinned up at eye level, like a mandala, a symbol, a drawing of a deity, etc.
If you live in the city or share your life with someone, you’ll need to find a way to be absolutely alone, both physically and mentally, for at least half an hour a day, and longer if possible. Practice when no one else is around, or at least when things are at their calmest. If you live in town, your main enemy will be noise.
The best thing is to practice late at night, when the noise has calmed down, and everyone else is asleep.
Empty Yourself Inside and Out
The essential principle of the “path of solitude” is not having any distractions and coming face-to-face with yourself. You need to put yourself in a situation where you can’t escape, either physically or mentally, and are forced to contemplate only yourself.
Unfortunately, the society we live in has no lack of distractions, including modern communication devices, opportunities to get out and enjoy a show, music or food. In fact, with everything that’s going on, we hardly have time left over to dig deep inside ourselves for answers.
Finding reasons to blame someone else for our mistakes is human nature. What doesn’t come naturally is assuming our responsibilities, and questioning our existence.
Look Into The Mirror of Your Self
If you practice the “path of solitude” by emptying your mind, not only will you avoid sources of distraction, you’ll stop putting off for later what you can accomplish right now.
When you’re face to face with yourself (sometimes after a difficult period of disorientation, since you’ll have nothing and no one else to focus on and blame) you can’t help but look into the mirror of your own being.
Only then will you really see yourself as you are, and start work on developing your qualities, and, if you’re courageous enough, transforming your faults.
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same kind of thinking you used to create them!”