By Leo Babauta
“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-
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.