The Importance of Solitude and Being Alone

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Ultimately relationships and money cannot protect you from the pain that is part of simply being alive and existing. These things at best can provide you with a temporary solace, and often not even that, sometimes even bringing more problems and distress. For someone who is trying to be more fully conscious, relationships and finance are at best compliments to their awareness.

Previously I sought my salvation, my protection from suffering in relationships and women, fine material things, travel, and intoxicants. The unhealthy part of my consciousness drifts towards these false refuges again and again through my adult years. Each time I come back to center, increasingly wiser for every experience. With each return to sensibility I receive the validation of a greater joy and peace that comes from within, and smile at myself for foolishly thinking that it could have ever been another way.

This weekend I will be sitting meditatively still with a hall full of quiet practitioners patiently and peacefully observing their breath, body, and changing mental and emotional states. Each will have made the determination and intention to pause in the busyness of their lives for reflection, each coming back to center, to the present from sophisticated lives filled to the brim with activity, thoughts and emotions.

As I prepare to lead this retreat I reflect back to the loving Thai, Burmese, and Tibetan teachers who instructed me out of the darkness which I had unconsciously created. Another silent retreat this weekend, back to a wholeness that had been painstakingly regained, from a wholeness lost.

I long to return to my mountain retreat in the Tibetan Himalayas. I long to return to the overarching warmth and heartfelt friendship of my Thai teachers. I know this is also destination and companion addiction, the belief that I would be happier elsewhere, or romantically involved, but wise enough to know that I must be content and settled within or no place or person will ever be right for me.

There is a balance to be found here: at peace within, allows me to be at peace in my relationships. It is possible to be in lasting, loving passionate relationship without compulsion, obsessing, and neediness. Without this return to mindful center each day through daily practice and the quietude of retreat I have often temporarily found myself unconsciously slipping into compulsion and reactive to old behaviors from destructive seeds planted long ago. Solitude makes it possible to be in passionate balance with others and my environment.

So thankful to return to the present, alone, and quiet once more, surrounded by my true friends, my wife, and other companions on the path of solitude.

Mindfulness Based. Wise and Inspired Counseling: 941.416.1890 or michael@mbsgroup.org

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Michael Gregory

Former investment banker turned monk-counselor. Writer, Speaker and Teacher. Encourages others to realize their highest potential.

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