“Enjoying your alone time then offers a whole new experience of being in the company of others. You can enjoy humans and other living beings for what they have to offer, and for the joy of connection, rather than the fear of loneliness”
Dear Integral Meditators,
This week’s article explores our relationship to being alone, and how to move from being lonely to enjoying being alone.
This Tuesday & Wednesday is the annual Spring Equinox balancing and renewing meditation , with the Monthly Qi Gong & Taoist Breathwork Clinic & Mini-retreat on the Saturday. You are welcome to join either or both, live or online.
Finally, heads up for the next major weekly meditation series starting mid-April: Starts Tues/Weds April 11th/12th , 7.30-8.30pm – Meditations for thriving and energy creation – An eight week course
In the spirit of alone not lonely,
Discovering the pleasure of alone
In this article I want to focus on a few points that lie between going from feeling lonely to the pleasure of being alone. It’s a huge advantage to feel comfortable being alone, and is entirely complementary to a real and deep enjoyment of being in the company of others.
Mammalian and existential loneliness
As humans we are naturally a fairly lonely lot. On the mammalian level we crave the security of the pack, and tend toward a primal nervousness and vulnerability when alone because of this. We also have a natural and understandable desire to be seen and appreciated by others as an affirmation of our fundamental value. On a deeper existential level there is also the challenge of knowing that we are all alone in our experience, no one can truly know us and what we are going through. This is something that we tend to resist, trying very hard instead to been seen, heard and recognised by others. All of this becomes particularly acute if our self-image, and therefore or basic sense of our value and capability is shaky.
Avoiding alone because of loneliness
For all the reasons above we can find ourselves avoiding being alone in order to avoid having to confront our loneliness. This then means that we miss out on all the opportunities to experience what you might think of as the joy of being alone. After all, people can be quite bothersome, and this can be compounded by our own neediness of them. These two together often results in us seeking people out, and then at the same time disliking being in their company, which is a bit of a lose-lose situation!
- Being alone is a way to re-connect to yourself, and make your own inner connection to yourself warm, healthy and stable
- It’s time to catch up with yourself, heal your wounds and return to wholeness
- Being alone is freedom to enjoy your own company and not be obligate to others for that time
- It’s time to enjoy your creativity and imagine new possibilities
- It’s time to recover your energy
- It’s time to connect to silence, or at least less inner noise
- It’s time for you to arrange your thoughts and thinking in a way that sets you up for success in life
- And of course, it’s time to meditate and pursue your other interests
What other reasons can you think of to help you start looking forward to the next time you are alone?
Meditation and the freedom of alone
Meditation of course is, at least in part the art of enjoying being alone. Before you start to really enjoy being alone, meditation is a great place to start learning how to enjoy being alone, to notice and make peace with your loneliness, and the other reasons that compel you to seek out company as a way of avoiding yourself. If you sat for five-ten minutes each day for the next week, oriented your mindful attention around the ‘reframe list’ above you might find yourself enjoying it faster than you think.
Happy alone, happy in company
Enjoying your alone time then offers a whole new experience of being in the company of others. Rather than being there because you need to be, you can be there because you want to be in their company. You can enjoy humans and other living beings for what they have to offer, and for the joy of connection, rather than the avoidance of loneliness.
Related article: Independent interdependence
© Toby Ouvry 2023, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website www.tobyouvry.com
All upcoming classes and workshops at IMA:
Ongoing – Weekly Tuesday, Wednesday Online class schedule
Ongoing on Wednesday’s, 7.30-8.30pm – Wednesday Meditation for stress transformation and positive energy with Toby (Bukit Timah)
Ongoing on Tuesday evenings, 7.30-8.30pm – Tuesday Meditation for stress transformation and positive energy with Toby (East Coast)
Tues 21st & Weds 22nd March, 7.30-8.30pm – Spring Equinox balancing and renewing meditation
Saturday March 25th, 9.30-11.30am – Monthly Qi Gong & Taoist Breathwork Clinic & Mini-retreat
Sat & Sunday 1st, 2nd April – Two day integral meditation retreat
Starts Tues/Weds April 11th/12th , 7.30-8.30pm – Meditations for thriving and energy creation – An eight week course
Saturday 15th April 9am-12.30pm – Meditations for Developing the Language of Your Shadow Self Workshop
Tues 30th/Weds 31st May – Wesak meditation
Integral Meditation Asia
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