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Word Gems 

exploring self-realization, sacred personhood, and full humanity


 

Aloneness

 


 

“We all are individual and lonely, like stars which appear so close but millions of miles apart.” Santosh Kalwar, That's My Love Story

 

 

Editor's 1-Minute Essay: Aloneness


Jiddu Krishnamurti: Aloneness Beyond Loneliness  

 

 

 

Kilroy J. Oldster: “Embracing human frailty, fallibility, and heartbreaking aloneness is crucial for any person seeking to attain self-actualization and self-realization.”

Albert Schweitzer: “We are all so much together, but we are all dying of loneliness.”

Norman Cousins: “The eternal quest of the individual human being is to shatter his loneliness.”

Bertrand Russell: “Love is something far more than desire for sexual intercourse; it is the principal means of escape from the loneliness which afflicts most men and women throughout the greater part of their lives.”

Osho, Bliss: Living Beyond Happiness And Misery: “The first meaning is: in this world, only consciousness is yours. The word atman means: that which is your own. Regardless of how much the rest may appear to you as your own, it is alien. All of that which you otherwise claim as yours – friends, loved ones, family, wealth, fame, high position, a great empire – it is all a deception. Because one day death will snatch it all away from you. So death is the criterion for determining who is your own and who is the stranger. That which death can separate you from, know that it didn’t belong to you, and that which it can’t, was indeed your own.”

Joseph Conrad: “Who knows what true loneliness is—not the conventional word but the naked terror? To the lonely themselves it wears a mask. The most miserable outcast hugs some memory or some illusion.”

Charlotte Brontë: “The trouble is not that I am single and likely to stay single, but that I am lonely and likely to stay lonely.”

 

 

Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet: “The only sadnesses that are dangerous and unhealthy are the ones that we carry around in public in order to drown them out with the noise; like diseases that are treated superficially and foolishly, they just withdraw and after a short interval break out again all the more terribly; and gather inside us and are life, are life that is unlived, rejected, lost, life that we can die of.”

Bell Hooks, All About Love: New Visions: “But many of us seek community solely to escape the fear of being alone. Knowing how to be solitary is central to the art of loving. When we can be alone, we can be with others without using them as a means of escape.”

Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet: “And you should not let yourself be confused in your solitude by the fact that there is something in you that wants to move out of it.”

Mandy Hale, The Single Woman: “There are some places in life where you can only go alone. Embrace the beauty of your solo journey.”

Michael Finkel, The Stranger in the Woods: “Modern life seems set up so that we can avoid loneliness at all costs, but maybe it's worthwhile to face it occasionally. The further we push aloneness away, the less are we able to cope with it, and the more terrifying it gets. Some philosophers believe that loneliness is the only true feeling there is. We live orphaned on a tiny rock in the immense vastness of space, with no hint of even the simplest form of life anywhere around us for billions upon billions of miles, alone beyond all imagining. We live locked in our own heads and can never entirely know the experience of another person. Even if we're surrounded by family and friends, we journey into death completely alone.”

Jonathan Safran Foer, Here I Am: “Between any two beings there is a unique, uncrossable distance, an unenterable sanctuary. Sometimes it takes the shape of aloneness. Sometimes it takes the shape of love.”

Vironika Tugaleva: “A butterfly does not wonder how it can stop being a caterpillar. It simply feels some feeling from within that tells it: isolate yourself in this cocoon and grow within it. It trusts that feeling. When it comes out, it is radiant and beautiful. All the little bug did was follow its nature. You are no different.”

Joseph Roth, Hotel Savoy: “I am alone. My heart beats only for myself. The strikers mean nothing to me. I have nothing in common with the mob, nor with individuals. I am a cold person. In the war I did not feel I was part of my company. We all lay in the same mud and waited for the same death. But I could think only about my own life and death. I would step over corpses and it oftened saddened me that I could feel no pain.”

George Steiner: “Men and women sleep not with each other but with the memories, the regrets, the hopes of unions yet to come. Our adulteries are internal; they deepen our aloneness.”

Michael Harris: “If solitude feels painful, it's only because we don't know how to be alone.”

Santosh Kalwar, That's My Love Story: “We all are individual and lonely, like stars which appear so close but millions of miles apart.”

Wataru Watari: “A friendship where you're always trying to be considerate of the other person, always worrying about what they think, always responding to every single text, always seeking their approval, and then finally connecting with them, isn't friendship at all.”

William P. Barker: “Only a few have learned to savor the significance of solitude. Those who can glory in being alone on occasion are the saint or poet or explorer.”

 

 

Henry David Thoreau: “I think that I cannot preserve my health and spirits, unless I spend four hours a day at least – and it is commonly more than that – sauntering through the woods and over the hills and fields, absolutely free from all worldly engagements.”

Colette: “There are days when solitude is a heady wine that intoxicates you with freedom, others when it is a bitter tonic, and still others when it is a poison that makes you beat your head against the wall.”

Roger Rosenblatt: “Children love to be alone because alone is where they know themselves, and where they dream.”

Phyllis Hobe: “Living alone, though it may not be the state you ultimately desire for yourself, affords an unparalleled opportunity to know yourself, to be yourself, and to develop yourself as a unique and interesting individual.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson: “It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.”

Edward Gibbon: “I was never less alone than when by myself.”

Marya Mannes: “The great omission in American life is solitude; not loneliness, for this is an alienation that thrives most in the midst of crowds, but that zone of time and space, free from the outside pressures, which is the incubator of the spirit.”

William Penn: “True silence is the rest of the mind, and is to the spirit what sleep is to the body, nourishment and refreshment.”

Mohadesa Najumi: “Aloneness is a gift. A beautiful gift to the human soul. True and consistent satisfaction comes from the bond you form with yourself. Nobody else is a constant.”

Bangambiki Habyarimana, Pearls Of Eternity: “People would rather live in a community with unreasonable claims, than face loneliness with their truth.”

Han Suyin, The Mountain Is Young: “... all humans are frightened of their own solitude. Yet only in solitude can man learn to know himself, learn to handle his own eternity of aloneness. And love from one being to another can only be that two solitudes come nearer, recognize and protect and comfort each other."

Nikki Gemmell, The Bride Stripped Bare: “Alone you're refinding a glittering, a clarity, you're finding your distilled self. ...You think of the two types of aloneness you've known recently: this wonderful, sparkly, soul-refreshing type, and the despairing loneliness that sucks the breath from your life.”

Curtis Tyrone Jones: “Sometimes you must embrace the feeling of being abandoned, until your deepest self warms to the thought of you being its closest companion.”

Jack Kerouac: “No man should go through life without once experiencing healthy, even bored solitude in the wilderness, finding himself depending solely on himself and thereby learning his true and hidden strength.”

Jeanne Marie Laskas: “Isolation is aloneness that feels forced upon you, like a punishment. Solitude is aloneness you choose and embrace. I think great things can come out of solitude, out of going to a place where all is quiet except the beating of your heart.”

Franz Kafka: “It is not necessary that you leave the house. Remain at your table and listen. Do not even listen, only wait. Do not even wait, be wholly still and alone. The world will present itself to you for its unmasking… in ecstasy it will writhe at your feet.”

H. Clay Tate: “The person who has not learned to be happy and content while completely alone for an hour a day, or a week has missed life’s greatest serenity.”

Melvyn Kinder: “Solitude can be frightening because it invites us to meet a stranger we think we may not want to know – ourselves.”

Aldous Huxley: “The more powerful and original a mind, the more it will incline towards the religion of solitude.”

Pearl S. Buck: “I love people. I love my family, my children… but inside myself is a place where I live all alone and that’s where you renew your springs that never dry up.”

John Daniel Barry: “One trouble with most of us is that we don't use the resources within ourselves. We are all neglectful of powers that we share as our human birthright, capacities for distraction from ourselves, for intelligent enjoyment, for receiving and giving. Through lack of mental and moral and spiritual exercises our souls shrink and shrivel and break out into maladies that almost inevitably include the feeling of misery and isolation usually described as loneliness. If we were properly related to ourselves and to the world and to the universe we should never lack for company and we should never be lonely.”

Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet: “Therefore, dear Sir, love your solitude and try to sing out with the pain it causes you. For those who are near you are far away... and this shows that the space around you is beginning to grow vast.... be happy about your growth, in which of course you can't take anyone with you, and be gentle with those who stay behind; be confident and calm in front of them and don't torment them with your doubts and don't frighten them with your faith or joy, which they wouldn't be able to comprehend. Seek out some simple and true feeling of what you have in common with them, which doesn't necessarily have to alter when you yourself change again and again; when you see them, love life in a form that is not your own and be indulgent toward those who are growing old, who are afraid of the aloneness that you trust.... and don't expect any understanding; but believe in a love that is being stored up for you like an inheritance, and have faith that in this love there is a strength and a blessing so large that you can travel as far as you wish without having to step outside it.”

 

 

Alexander Theroux: “There is no loneliness like that of a failed marriage.”

Edna St. Vincent Millay: “Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world, which I find myself constantly walking around in the daytime, and falling in at night. I miss you like hell.”

Anne Hathaway: “Loneliness is my least favorite thing about life. The thing that I’m most worried about is just being alone without anybody to care for or someone who will care for me.”

Robert Kull, Solitude: “In many cultures, solitude is recognized as an opportunity to journey inward; in our culture, spending time alone is often considered unhealthy because we tend to believe that meaning in life is found only through relationship with other people.  But to be fully human, we need relationship not only with other people but with the nonhuman world, with our own inner depths – and with Something Greater.  For me, that nonmaterial Presence is mysterious and sacred.  It can be experienced, but not defined.  And I’ve learned that in coming into a deeper relationship with my self, I develop the capacity to connect more deeply with others.”

Franz Kafka: “My peers, lately, have found companionship through means of intoxication—it makes them sociable. I, however, cannot force myself to use drugs to cheat on my loneliness—it is all that I have—and when the drugs and alcohol dissipate, will be all that my peers have as well.”

Jodi Picoult: “Let me tell you this: if you meet a loner, no matter what they tell you, it’s not because they enjoy solitude. It’s because they have tried to blend into the world before, and people continue to disappoint them.”

Anaïs Nin: “I am lonely, yet not everybody will do. I don’t know why, some people fill the gaps and others emphasize my loneliness.”

Joanne Harris: “Online communities are an expression of loneliness.”

Thomas Wolfe: “Loneliness is and always has been the central and inevitable experience of every man.”

Liv Ullmann: “Hollywood is loneliness beside the swimming pool.”

Audrey Hepburn: “When you have nobody you can make a cup of tea for, when nobody needs you, that’s when I think life is over.”

Paul Brunton: “Solitude is strength; to depend on the presence of the crowd is weakness. The man who needs a mob to nerve him is much more alone than he imagines.”

Henry David Thoreau: “I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude. We are for the most part more lonely when we go abroad among men than when we stay in our chambers.”

Thomas Browne: “Be able to be alone. Lose not the advantage of solitude, and the society of thyself.”

Albert Guino: “People who cannot bear to be alone are generally the worst company.”

Anneli Rufus: “Loners, if you catch them, are well worth the trouble. Not dulled by excess human contact, nor blasé or focused on your crotch while jabbering about themselves, loners are curious, vigilant, full of surprises. They do not cling. Separate wherever they go, awake or asleep, they shimmer with the iridescence of hidden things seldom seen.”

Rumi: “A little while alone in your room will prove more valuable than anything else that could ever be given you.”

Alice Koller: “Being solitary is being alone well: being alone luxuriously immersed in doings of your own choice, aware of the fullness of your own presence rather than of the absence of others. Because solitude is an achievement.”

K.T. Jong: “It is only when we silent the blaring sounds of our daily existence that we can finally hear the whispers of truth that life reveals to us, as it stands knocking on the doorsteps of our hearts.”

Marcus Aurelius: “Nowhere can man find a quieter or more untroubled retreat than in his own soul.”

Jeanette Winterson: “Loneliness isn't about being by yourself. That's fine, right and good, desirable in many ways. Loneliness is about finding a landing-place, or not, and knowing that, whatever you do, you can go back there. The opposite of loneliness isn't company, it's return. A place to return.”

Paul Tournier: “Nothing makes us so lonely as our secrets.”

Arthur Schopenhauer: “A man can be himself alone so long as he is alone… if he does not love solitude, he will not love freedom; for it is only when he is alone that he is really free.”

Pablo Picasso: “Without great solitude no serious work is possible.”

Jean Culligan: “When I’m by myself, I can be myself, which is what I want to be. Not just a part of someone else.”

 

 

  • Henrik Ibsen, Peer Gynt, 1867: "What's a man's first duty? The answer is brief: to be himself."

 

  • Henrik Ibsen, Brand, 1884: "The man whom God wills to stay in the struggle of life, He first individualizes."

 

  • Henrik Ibsen, An Enemy of the People, 1882: "The strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone."

 

 

 

 

 

Editor's last word: