The Lost Art of Solitude

“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.”
– Henry David Thoreau-

Solitude You don’t need to be a monk to find solitude, nor do you need to be a hermit to enjoy it.

Solitude is a lost art in these days of ultra-connectedness, and while I don’t bemoan the beauty of this global community, I do think there’s a need to step back from it on a regular basis.

Some of my favorite activities include sitting in front of the ocean, still, contemplating … walking, alone with my thoughts … disconnecting and just writing … finding quiet with a good novel … taking a solitary bath.

Don’t get me wrong: I love being with loved ones, and walking with a friend or watching the sunset with my wife or reading a book with my child are also among my absolute favorite things in the world.

But solitude, in these days as much as ever, is an absolute necessity.

The Benefits of Solitude

The best art is created in solitude, for good reason: it’s only when we are alone that we can reach into ourselves and find truth, beauty, soul. Some of the most famous philosophers took daily walks, and it was on these walks that they found their deepest thoughts.

My best writing, and in fact the best of anything I’ve done, was created in solitude.

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Inner Peace Brings Inner Joy

Are you afraid of inner peace? This might seem a strange question, but since few really know what inner peace is, and people fear the unknown, this is not a strange question at all.

Do you think that if you attain inner peace your life would become boring, especially if you love thrill and action? No, your life won’t become boring!

Inner peace is not a passive condition, and does not require non-action and no activity. You can live a life full of activity, interact with people, have fun, travel, work, and do things, while at the same time experiencing inner peace. True inner peace is not dependent on external conditions or situations, and is a healthy and much desired condition. Actually, inner peace will fill your life with inner joy and happiness.

What is inner peace?

It is a state of mental and emotional calmness and equanimity, in which the incessant chatter of the mind stops or almost stops. When the mind gets quiet, a great sense of happiness arises, independent of external conditions. You don’t experience inner peace only while meditating or in condition of trance, but while you are fully awake and active. Actually, your five senses and mind become even sharper.

Some people don’t believe that this state can be attained. How do they know? Have they tried?

Why be afraid of inner peace? You don’t have to live in an ashram or in a cave. You can go on living your life, but with a new and different inner condition and attitude.

You can learn to live within inner peace here and now, even if there is much noise and activity in your life. Are you willing to make the necessary effort?

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The News Diet

– How many times a day, do you watch the news on TV?

– How many times a day, do you listen to the news on the radio?

– How much time do you spend reading the newspapers everyday?

– Are you a news addict?

– Do you really need to stuff your mind with so many details every day?

– Do you need all the strain, stress and fears caused by watching the news?

– Will you be able to change events and the world by listening to the news?

There are many people who feel the need to watch, listen, read and discuss the news, important matters and also trivial matters. This habit makes it difficult to control the mind and weakens the ability to concentrate. This habit also prevents you from experiencing inner peace, since your mind constantly buzzes with details of the news, and because the news makes you stressed strained, anxious and often unhappy.

I am not suggesting that you stop being interested in what is going in the world. I am not suggesting that you close your eyes and your mind. Living in the world, you need to know what is going on in the world, but you can limit the time you spend watching, listening or reading the news, by exercising a “news diet”.

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How to Find Peace of Mind

Everyone desires peace of mind, but the big question is how to find peace of mind, when there are problems and difficulties, when there are worries and anxiety, and when you are busy all the time with work, study and chores? When you are so busy all day long, how and when can you find peace of mind?

How to find peace of mind when your mind is constantly occupied with thoughts, taking you from one thought to another, from one worry to another?

You can find peace of mind, but this requires that you do something about it.

What is peace of mind? It is a state of inner peace, when your mind is calm, like the surface of a lake on a summer day. It is a state when you are not harassed by thoughts and worries, and you can avoid the thoughts you don’t want to think. It is a state of freedom from worry and anxiety, and from restless, negative and disturbing thoughts.

In this state there is calmness and happiness, better concentration, inner strength, and a heightened state of awareness. Your external life might not necessarily change, but your inner life, your mind, and your attitude would change.

How to find peace of mind?

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Living in a Noisy Environment

Inner PeaceSomeone has emailed me the following question:

“I understand it is important to own your mind, but what if you live next door to really noisy people who drive you crazy and make you lose you sleep?”

“I cannot help thinking that the people who write these books have big detached houses so they already have a peaceful environment at least.”

It is not always possible to be in control of your environment, and therefore, it is not always possible to live in a peaceful environment. However, you can teach yourself to ignore noise and distractions. This is possible, and I know this from personal experience.

On the plus side, learning to calm down your mind in an environment that is not quiet, and striving to ignore the noise and distractions, helps you develop your inner strength. In this process, you gain inner power, will power, self discipline and a sense of satisfaction.

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Do You Need All Your Thoughts?

By Remez Sasson

– Are you aware of the thoughts that pass through your mind?

– Do you remember what you thought a few minutes ago?

– Do you know how many thoughts pass through your mind in 24 hours?

– Do all your thoughts originate in your mind? Are they your own thoughts or other people’s thoughts that you think are your own thoughts?

Thinking is very useful in every area of life, but people go too far with it. It has turned into some sort of slavery. Instead of thinking about what you want, when you want, you think all the time, every hour of the day. Every word you hear, everything you see brings thoughts to your mind. The mind is always busy, most of the time thinking meaningless thoughts as a reaction to external stimulus.

People have lost the ability to stop thinking when they don’t need to. Thoughts come and go whenever they want, distracting the attention, spoiling concentration, and keeping the mind in a state of endless mental activity. It is like a machine that is never switched off.

Many of these thoughts are negative, causing anxiety and worries, wasting one’s time and energy.

Instead of using thoughts to help in your affairs, you are being used by thoughts. They take your time and they take your energy, without giving you anything in return. They constantly produce noise in your mind, preventing you from experiencing real inner peace.

Are you able to stop thinking negative thoughts? Are you able to stop all those thoughts that keep moving your attention from one thing to another? Do you keep worrying, and do you expect the worst? Does your mind keep busy with what someone said about you, and do you keep thinking how life is bad for you, because someone at work got promoted, and you were not?

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