Why You Need Solitude For Spiritual Growth

develop emotional & spiritual freedom with spiritual counseling & coachingYou spend your life invested in other people. Whether it’s through work, family, partnerships, friendships, or the external world you let in with news, TV or radio shows, and other forms of engagement, your attention and energy are mostly focused outside of you. Furthermore, you carry the world you’ve internalized as the aspect of ego I call your ‘sense of otherness,’ so even when you’re alone the ongoing mental chatter, pressure, and judgment disconnects you from yourself.

You need this ego consciousness to learn things, participate in the world, and contribute something to your community, which are important aspects of your human experience. But if the ego-mind is unrestrained or continuously ‘on,’ as it usually is, then it creates attachments and identifications that block your access to deeper aspects of your soul, where you can find the peace, clarity, and love you yearn.

Your mind field is like a two-stream river. One stream flows toward sensory objects as a continuous current of desires. The other flows away from the outer world toward the Inner Self; it grows with the seeds of previous virtuous actions, self-discipline, and dispassion (love without attachment). It’s easy to get pulled in an outward direction, because the external reality holds great amounts of energy, but widening the inward stream requires an ongoing effort, as well as solitude to disengage and find your center.

Desires move you in the direction of new experiences, fueling your actions toward them, but the nature of desire is dissatisfaction, not happiness. As soon as you achieve a desire, the ego-mind pushes another desire, which leads to another, and another. This is how it keeps your mental current flowing outward while also preventing you from being still long enough to enjoy things or shift directions to look within.

When you invest energy in sensory objects, whether it’s worldly goals or relationships, you also create expectations and get attached to certain outcomes. But if your expectations aren’t met, then your negative tendencies come to the surface and create pain. This is the ego-mind at work, because it’s the aspect that gives you self-centered experiences. And as long as you remain there, you won’t be happy, since you’re not at peace with yourself or others.

Here, ego becomes the wounded child archetype that takes over your perception, making you feel victimized in some way: “Why is this happening to me?” “Why aren’t all my needs and desires fulfilled?” “Why can’t life be easy (and revolve around me)?” It can be as obvious as a personal relationship or work project not going the way you want, making you feel alone and discouraged. Or it can be as mundane as smaller interactions triggering frustration and anger when you find unexpected obstacles. Or it can also be the subtle way you sabotage your goals and disconnect from the flow of your life with self-defeating thoughts (see Is Your Wounded Inner Child Running The Show?).

You Discover Yourself In Silence and Stillness

The thing is, if you only focus on the external aspects of life, you give all your power to the ego-mind whose aim is to keep your attention on others—that is, outside of you, away from your true Self—and emotionally in the past. In other words, you allow it to control your perception to disconnect you from Divine Consciousness and the flow of life, love, and joy.

I’m not saying you have to stop doing things in the world; it’s all part of your human experience. But you can use the unfolding of your own life-movie, which is the result of previous choices, to be honest with yourself and discover the negative tendencies causing you pain. Then you can make more conscious choices to shift the movie in the direction of greater peace and fulfillment. Life is not what ‘happens’ to you, but what you make of it through your perception and responses.

It’s essential to find ways to balance your inner and outer world, your feminine and masculine qualities, and your sense of self and otherness. Solitude is vital to discern between the drives of your soul and the desires of the ego-mind. As you develop emotional and spiritual freedom, you act in the world with less attachments and expectations and a greater sense of service and love.

This requires great humility on your part, surrendering the ego-mind to the spiritual forces within and around you at every opportunity. It demands spiritual responsibility to embrace life as it is. You need solitude to reflect on it rather than complaining about it; to accept it rather than fighting it; and to recognize your illusions and the negative tendencies that disconnect you from yourself—expecting others to make things easier so you don’t have to make the effort to grow out of your wounded child archetype.

But solitude is not just being alone; it’s being alone and mentally still or quiet. It’s not being away from people but hooked to your phone or TV, or busy, busy, busy doing a million things to avoid the inner silence that yields clarity and peace. Remember, you carry the external world within you, through your sense of otherness, so you must find ways to concentrate on the inner world to exclude the constant chatter and push and pull of the ego-mind.

Nurture solitude to balance the usual, excess otherness, with creative projects. With your spiritual practices. Spending time in nature. Simply being, not doing. With contemplation. With meditation. With conscious silence (turn that phone off!). I know it takes discipline, clarity, and healing tools to get there. So contact me today to discover the patterns that keep you stuck in otherness and develop greater emotional and spiritual freedom to be truly happy!

© 2019 Yol Swan. All rights reserved.

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