Some people claim that being quiet and solitary is the ultimate state of independence, but to me being quiet and solitary is more of a state of interdependence.
When I watch a sunset with a loved one, I know that I could also enjoy it equally as much alone – I don’t depend on the person’s company for my satisfaction. A lonely person, however, is more concerned with sharing the experience with the person next to them who is filling their inner void, rather than enjoying the sunset from a grounded place of quiet inner space. Two people who share an experience from a place of inner neediness taint the experience with hidden fears and agendas, however, two people who share an experience from a place of inner wholeness embellish the experience with joy and a purity of intention.
You’d be surprised how much this feeling of loneliness affects us. We mold our entire lives around avoiding isolation and trying to find a way of “removing” it. We study subjects and get jobs that others expect from us. We worry about how to dress, what to pretend to like and what others will think about it. We enter relationships as needy conditional individuals asking the other, “How should I behave and act to make you like me so you don’t leave me with this horrible feeling of loneliness?”
Perhaps the best way to illustrate this lifelong escape is by comparing lonely people to beggars who seek anyone’s company to mask their inner voids. Solitude, on the other hand, means feeling like a King or Queen. Redefining quiet means being happy with ourselves and being capable of choosing someone’s company not because we need them due to an inner feeling of emptiness, but because we want to be with them, from an inner place of wealth.
Cultivating that inner place of wealth requires two things, Quietness, and Courage.
Becoming a Quiet Warrior
To be quiet and solitary requires the courage of a lone wolf, a Quiet Warrior.
Only sheep, full of fear and afraid to be alone, live in a crowd and move in a crowd. You’ve never heard of a lone sheep, have you? If you’ve ever seen a herd of sheep move you’ll notice that their bodies are in a continuous friction with one another and there is barely any space at all between them. This feels warm and comforting, and it provides a certain protection to think “I am not alone. There are hundreds of others with me.” Very soon you learn to lose yourself in a crowd.
But the amazing thing about this Quiet Warrior journey is the paradoxical solution to our deepest problem: only by becoming comfortable in our solitude can we finally realize that we are never truly alone.
This realization of never being truly alone can be compared to feeling yourself as part of a large, cosmic puzzle; you begin to feel composed of a myriad of forms and colors, with trees and animals of all types, rivers, clouds, oceans, deserts, jungles, stars, lakes and mountains. You are alone but you are never lonely; you are part of something infinitely faster than yourself that can only be encountered in those moments of stillness in between thoughts, those moments of quietness in between emotions.