Grateful for Solitude

The parting words on NPR All Things Considered some years ago were, 

“The mind is sharper and keener in seclusion and uninterrupted solitude. No big laboratory is needed in which to think. Originality thrives in seclusion free of outside influences beating upon us to cripple the creative mind. Be alone, that is the secret of invention; be alone, that is when ideas are born.”

(Nikola Tesla)

Solitude is difficult to find and seems contrary to the norms of society today.   With today’s technology we are almost always connected to someone or something.  Being connected isn’t ‘bad’ … especially when that connectivity is also creating a sense of belonging and community.  But a constant barrage of noise isn’t good either.

Finding a way to carve out some alone time, solitude, is important.  To be alone with our own thoughts allows us time to get to know ourselves.  

Being alone deepens our concentration, our focus, our ability to problem solve.

Being alone can boost creativity, allowing thoughts to incubate, and can provide clarity.

Scientists say that being alone can strengthen empathy, helping you to develop compassion for those around you.

More importantly, being alone also allows us to hear God-thoughts  – to experience the divine.  We gain perspective, restoration, and peace from quiet solitude.

For God alone my soul waits in silence;  from him comes my salvation.  He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.  Psalm 62:1-2

Hail, mildly pleasing solitude,
Companion of the wise and good;
But, from whose holy, piercing eye,
The herd of fools, and villains fly.
Oh! how I love with thee to walk,
And listen to thy whisper’d talk,
Which innocence, and truth imparts,
And melts the most obdurate hearts.

James Thomson, 1700 – 1725
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