The Virtues of Solitude – 4. Introspection

There are two kinds of people in this world: the introspective person, and the extrospective person.

The extrospective person directs their mental focus outwards, understanding the processes of the external world.  This is the opposite function of the introspective person, who directs their mental focus inwards, making sense of the inner world and all its workings in relation to the external world, focusing on thoughts and feelings.  Now ask yourself, which one are you?  It may be hard for you to answer definitely at first, so here’s a question: do you prefer to see yourself as a scientist or a lawyer?  The answer you give to this question says a lot about how you perceive yourself and the world. Introspective people can be seen as the scientists.  A scientist begins with an observation, then moves on to research, and finally experimentation.  The scientist begins with the inner, and moves to the outer.  If you chose a lawyer on the other hand, you are most likely an extrospective person, beginning with an external conclusion, then working backwards developing all kinds of theories and explanations to validate that  conclusion.  The lawyer begins with the outer, and moves towards the surface of the inner.

Many of us don’t like dealing with our inner worlds.  We don’t like being introspective and questioning of ourselves, our motives, our decisions and our actions.  Unfortunately, this creates a false, illusory sense of self worth, as we’re unable to truly understand ourselves.  In order to develop introspection, we must first be aware of ourselves and the world around us (yet this too is rarely the case).

Introspection, a powerful virtue of Solitude, awakens our minds, heart and spirits.

Introspection of Thoughts and Feelings

The Virtues of Solitude   #4 Introspection

A major source of unhappiness in our lives is our inability to practice introspection, and to identify the nature and causes of our emotions through self-reflection.  Experiencing an emotion without practicing any introspection reveals nothing about reality – you only know that an external factor makes you sense an internal feeling, which is pretty much the same insight an animal has.  Not very insightful, is it?  Unless we’re capable of being honest with ourselves in the identification of our inner states, we’ll never be able to discover what we’re feeling.  We’ll also never be able to discover the origins of those feelings and whether those feelings are an objectively wise response to the reality of the situation, or a dangerous false perception of the situation.  In order to behave as wise as we possibly can, we must examine the emotions and beliefs that govern our behavior. Without introspection, it is possible to live a life of self-deception.

Introspection considers the context of a situation to base our decision in reality.  It examines the causes and motives of our feelings and the consequences an emotion will produce if we act on it.  We must use our emotions and passions as the sails to our existential boat, but our examination and reason as the rudder to guide them.

The Only Way Out, Is In

As you slowly become introspective of your internal reactions to the external world, you begin to feel your life is somewhat unreal, as if you had been acting out a drama. This drama is formed over an entire lifetime of education, training, culture and tradition that is taught through your socialization – of which is not your natural state.

The Virtues of Solitude   #4 Introspection

You can’t cut off your chains unless you can see them first, you cant desire escape from your external reactive prison unless you’re aware you’re inside one in the first place.  Only after finding the freedom of knowing your true self through introspection, can you decide where you want to go.  Unfortunately, the majority of people in our world function in an extrospective way, always asking “how” and turning to the external world for answers, rather than asking “why” and searching the internal world.

The Virtues of Solitude – 3. Awareness

If you have ever found your life feeling plastic and hollow, you are most a victim of lifeless living, a plague so widespread it would be called a worldwide disease… if only we were aware of it.  The problem is, we aren’t.  In fact, we’re not aware of many things these days.  Before we know it our hours, days, weeks and years pass by. We feel, but our lives are unfeeling.  We see, but we walk around blindly, and we hear, but we are deaf to the amazing vibrancy and intensity of life.  In most cases, we walk around like the living dead, dressed up as spiritless mannequins living life in a vacuum of emptiness. Why do we fall so easily in to the trap of empty living? The answer is that we aren’t aware.  In other words, we have no focused  attention of what is going on inside and outside of ourselves.
Awareness is a rich reward of practicing solitude.  Below we’ll explore why.

A Crime Against Humanity?

Why?  Why do we carry such little awareness through our days?  Why do we struggle so much to practice awareness in our daily lives?  Some people say that there is far too much stimulation and busyness in our daily lives.  Some say that  we fear the awareness that comes with solitude.  In it we see ourselves for who we truly are, and what our lives have become.  Who would want that?  Who would prefer reality over a cut off and comfortable dream?  Perhaps we like to run from truth, perhaps we prefer safety and comfort?  Or perhaps we have never known that we are awake, yet constantly dreaming?  We were never taught awareness and mindfulness by our parents, education or society. They were never even aware that it needed to be talked about, or practiced in the first place!  Instead we were fed information about maths, science, art and a whole bunch of intellectual rubbish which would never help us grow mentally, emotionally and spiritually.  We were never taught what awareness was, or how it could be practiced, or how it could transform our lives into constant states of joy, appreciation and acceptance. We were deprived of the very thing we needed to live life alive. I rather think this is the reason why we lack awareness to this present day.

Hearing But Not Listening.

From Eckhart Tolle, Osho to Alan Watts and Buddha, awareness has been shown to be the key to living wholly and fully.  If you were to stop and think you would realize that most of us have forgotten how to simply be.  We don’t know how to do the simplest, yet most difficult thing in existence: to watch and listen right now, in complete awareness of this moment.  In solitude, awareness provides us the space to be still, to listen instead of superficially hear.  It even allows us to overcome pain.

3 Gifts of Awareness.

Awareness allows us to:

1) Awareness allows us to notice and cherish the small miracles in nature.  A gnat in a spiders web, the color of Autumn leaves, the smell of a storm approaching, the glow of the moon on a Winter’s night.  There are an infinite number of small, seemingly irrelevant things we appreciate when we become aware of our surroundings. Usually we miss them in our daily routines, and therefore miss the gift of perceiving life as it happens around us.  Awareness allows us to develop a high level of sensitivity to our surroundings and thus experience more wonder, fascination and joy.

The Virtues of Solitude   #3 Awareness

2)   Awareness allows us to overcome pain.  This is possibly the greatest aspect of the virtue of awareness.  When we adopt a state of awareness  we are able to develop the ability to “observe” and detach ourselves from our emotions and thoughts.  When we realize that we are not our thoughts or emotions, they are simply things that come and go, we are able to transcend them, and cease suffering from our unhealthy involvement.  Awareness in this case, is essential for first acknowledging what thoughts and emotions we have, and then later, letting them pass.

3)   Awareness allows us to be more objective.  Awareness allows us to be objective by helping us to watch without reacting.  When we react, we impose our own beliefs and ideas on to the situation.  Often times, we forget to see the reality of the situation, causing ourselves to suffer from irrational fears and anxieties.  The objectivity that comes through awareness allows us to develop an inner calm which is impossible to find with mindless reactions.

Awareness is essential for experiencing childlike wonder and inner serenity.  It is an important and extremely beneficial element of solitude, that leads to the next virtue of appreciation.

The Virtues of Solitude – 2. Aloneness

There are three irreversible facts of life. We are born alone, we live alone, and we die alone.

Aloneness is in our basic nature, it is at our very roots. In reality, the world is a subjective experience through the eyes of one person alone, You.
So it is with this understanding, that I must begin this article by saying that physical aloneness is essential to solitude. Although aloneness is greatly feared and avoided, almost every spiritual teacher in history has spoken about its importance, and the need for it to be embraced and cultivated. If you’re seeking to answer the questions of life, discover who you are, and wanting to gain more internal courage and strength, seeking aloneness is an essential part of your journey.

Freedom From Illusion In Aloneness

There is a certain mirage that most of us have been seduced by, that of thinking we aren’t alone because there are people around us. These people could be anything from a close friend who shares our fun, a lover we’re emotionally bonded with, or a group we share a belief system or genetic relationship with.
The Virtues of Solitude – #2 Aloneness
Although their company may touch our depths, making us feel a part of a whole entity, when that lover is lost, or that friend is gone, those roots of aloneness are still left. We are still alone. We all know that there are things we do when we’re by ourselves, that we won’t do around other people. Only in the solitude that comes with aloneness can we be entirely free to be ourselves, providing us with the freedom to not only release all tension that comes with worrying about other people’s judgments of us, but the ability to explore ourselves freely as well. Unsurprisingly, many of the people who explore who they are in aloneness, discover they are homosexual, heavily prejudiced, mentally ill or other taboo self discoveries they never chose to be acquainted with. Aloneness allows us to escape the illusions we create about ourselves and feed to ourselves, and replace them with reality, clarity and understanding. Unfortunately however, many people, (and possibly even you), have learnt to equate aloneness with one of the most painful experiences in life: loneliness. Perhaps this is why we avoid aloneness like the plague?

Aloneness Is Not Loneliness

It’s true that externally aloneness and loneliness look exactly the same – they are both characterized by physical solitude.
Unfortunately, this is why aloneness is often falsely mistaken for loneliness. Internally, aloneness and loneliness are both completely different.
The Virtues of Solitude – #2 Aloneness
Why? Loneliness is not chosen by us, but is something imposed on us, manifesting itself as a feeling of isolation and emptiness. Loneliness occurs when we haven’t accepted our natural aloneness in life. Instead, we’re still desperately trying to fill that fear of being existentially alone with external distractions and comforts.
Aloneness, unlike loneliness, is chosen. It can be described as the beautiful feeling of being alone without being lonely. Aloneness brings the marvelous state of engagement with yourself, wherein you provide yourself wonderful and sufficient company. Unlike loneliness, aloneness helps us to practice introspection and reflecting inside ourselves to discover our true natures. Not only this, but aloneness provides even deeper virtue in that it allows us to appreciate and interact better with our surroundings – the very world we so frequently ignore and take for granted.

Together Alone

The Virtues of Solitude – #2 Aloneness
On one hand, aloneness benefits us by allowing us to practice inner searching, reflection, self-growth and the exploration of our passions. In fact, thinking and creativity usually requires alone time, as does reading or artistic tendencies of any kind. Not only that but only in aloneness can we appreciate and absorb the nuances of nature and the world we live in. Being “together alone” is to relate with oneself and with all.
On the other hand, aloneness benefits our interactions with others. A lonely person is a dependent person – they search for others company to satisfy their own deficiency. Lonely people are beggars of attention. Alone people, whereas, are independent by nature. They’re centered in themselves, meaning that they don’t need others company, which provides them with a self worthy of sharing. If the alone person happens to meet someone they like, they welcome them with an open heart – they don’t exploit or take anything from the other, they simply offer their own company.
Without aloneness, an important virtue of solitude, it would be virtually impossible to find internal peace, direction, insight and interpersonal harmony.
The origin of the word Alone encapsulates this thought perfectly: ‘all’ + ‘one’ = All in Oneness.

What about you?

What opinions did you have about this article? I would love to hear your stories and experiences with aloneness below.

The Virtues of Solitude – 1 Quietness

One of the most important discoveries I’ve made in my life is that only in solitude can we discover who we truly are.

Only in solitude can we discover what our lives are about, what our personal purposes are and most essentially, develop the inner peace we need to live life fully, deeply and meaningfully.

Every person is a solitaire.  Every person is a stone set by themselves.  The truth is that not only do we experience everything in our lives in the solitary, but we can never find our purpose, peace or answers engulfed in the tides of people or society either.

My hope is that this series will inspire you to seek, at the very least, some quiet time to reflect and learn.

The Noise Trap

Have you ever felt the need for some “quiet time”?  And more importantly, have you ever asked yourself why?  It’s no secret that our society and the lives we live are the causes of such momentary spurs of exhaustion inside of us.  But why?  Not only do we feel constantly drained by the fast paced, consumer driven lives we live, but the time we have to relax and reflect is harshly limited as well.  Many of us unconsciously realize that the noisy schedules we carry, allow no time for us to live life.  Before we know it, our days, months and years pass in a blur.  It is when we emerge from our routinary, mindless days that we realize we haven’t achieved anything of meaningful importance.  We feel empty inside and outside, not knowing who we are or what true fulfillment is.  This sickly feeling is the result of one sole thing: noise.

Quietness is the Secret Ingredient

Quietness is the most essential element to solitude.  If the opposite of a virtue is a sin – have you ever thought of noise, the antithesis of quietness, as a sin?  Personally I don’t like using the word, but noise really does hinder self discovery and self fulfillment.  If a virtue is the quality of doing what is right and avoiding what is wrong, then quietness is possibly the most underrated virtue there is, and noise is the most forgotten “sin”.  Only in quiet, the absence of noisy distraction, can we focus on developing inner and outer awareness, understanding and appreciation.  But is external quietness essential to inner peace?

Quietness Internally & Externally

The Virtues of Solitude   #1 Quietness

Is outer quietness always essential for establishing inner quietness?  No.  But it helps. What does this tranquility and quietness consist of?  Inner quietness is an acceptance of yourself and the world, without any noisy conflicting expectations or desires.  It is becoming mindful of the emotions and thoughts that are not you and letting them pass in peace.  It is becoming aware of, and cherishing the beauty, fragility and transience of all life around you.  And lastly, inner quietness is making peace with yourself, your flaws and your failures, realizing that none of these are you.  They simply belonged to you. Inner quietness is the state of ultimate love and joy.

What about you?

What did you think about this article?  I would love to hear your stories and experiences with quietness below.

Things that happen as you start loving yourself

“I love myself…I love you. I love you…I love myself.” ~ Rumi

There is no greater love than self love.

As you begin to embrace and accept yourself fully, you will be able to embrace and accept the world around you fully.
We give what we have and the more love we have for ourselves, the more love we will be able to give to those around us.
True love starts with you. If it flows through you abundantly, it will flow back to you abundantly.
Give more of it to yourself and you will have more to give to others.

What I will share with you today is a list of 10 magical things that start to happen as you begin to love yourself.

1. Authenticity
“As I began to love myself I found that anguish and emotional suffering are only warning signs that I was living against my own truth. Today, I know, this is “AUTHENTICITY”.

2. Respect
As I began to love myself I understood how much it can offend somebody if I try to force my desires on this person, even though I knew the time was not right and the person was not ready for it, and even though this person was me. Today I call it “RESPECT”.

3. Maturity
As I began to love myself I stopped craving for a different life, and I could see that everything that surrounded me was inviting me to grow. Today I call it “MATURITY”.

4. Self-confidence
As I began to love myself I understood that at any circumstance, I am in the right place at the right time, and everything happens at the exactly right moment. So I could be calm. Today I call it “SELF-CONFIDENCE”.

5. Simplicity
As I began to love myself I quit stealing my own time, and I stopped designing huge projects for the future. Today, I only do what brings me joy and happiness, things I love to do and that make my heart cheer, and I do them in my own way and in my own rhythm. Today I call it “SIMPLICITY”.

6. Love of oneself
As I began to love myself I freed myself of anything that is no good for my health – food, people, things, situations, and everything that drew me down and away from myself. At first I called this attitude a healthy egoism. Today I know it is “LOVE OF ONESELF”.

7. Modesty
As I began to love myself I quit trying to always be right, and ever since I was wrong less of the time. Today I discovered that is “MODESTY”.

8. Fulfillment
As I began to love myself I refused to go on living in the past and worrying about the future. Now, I only live for the moment, where everything is happening. Today I live each day, day by day, and I call it “FULFILLMENT”.

9. Wisdom of the heart
As I began to love myself I recognized that my mind can disturb me and it can make me sick. But as I connected it to my heart, my mind became a valuable ally. Today I call this connection “WISDOM OF THE HEART”.

10. Knowing
We no longer need to fear arguments, confrontations or any kind of problems with ourselves or others. Even stars collide, and out of their crashing new worlds are born. Today I know “THAT IS LIFE”!” ~ (attributed to) Charlie Chaplin on his 70th birthday: As I Began to Love Myself.

Are you ready and willing to start loving yourself more and more each day? What is one thing you will do today to move yourself in that direction? You can share your comment by joining the conversation in the comment section below 🙂

Do bad people exist?

People often tell me that I’m a good person. I have to wonder why are they saying that. It’s not like I don’t believe that I am a good person. I genuinely believe that I am. But the way other people usually say that is that I am a good person and the others aren’t. I disagree with such a statement. In my eyes all humans are the same.

In my life I have never met a human being that would be essentially “bad”. Yes, we have many criminals, many people, that cause harm to other people… But what people usually fail to see is that only suffering creates suffering. To me our justice system is completely ridiculous. So we have a person that is suffering, that is depressed, feels unloved and unhappy. This person then does something that is considered to be a criminal act. And what do we do with that person? We close this person in a room with people similar to him, deny him freedom and tell him what an awful human being he is and that he should be ashamed. Do we really think this is going to solve the problem? It will never work because our system of reward and punishment is not in alignment with universal truth.

People seem to enjoy revenge.  They call revenge justice so they can feel better about wanting it.  But the truth is, pain begets pain. There is no justice in this system.  Even if you locked away every abuser you could find on earth in a jail cell, you could not save people from their own creations. Victims are not exempt from this creation process. They too create their reality.  We live in a society that does not yet recognize the vibrational reality that directs and dictates and trumps everything that is physical in nature, so no one wants to hear this…  But locking up the perpetrators does nothing to improve the powerless state of those who sit in a vibration of victimhood.  It changes nothing about them at all.  And so they remain a match to what comes as a result of that vibration.  They will be victimized by something no matter how hard you try on a physical level to prevent it for them. You could not physically do enough to save them from their own point of attraction. The only answer is to empower the victim so their point of attraction changes, and empower the perpetrator, so their desire to hurt others wanes.  All pain on both sides (victim and perpetrator) is a result of the perception that they are powerless.

So In my opinions all humans are essentially good. We are beings of light and powerful creators. We have so much freedom and power over our reality that we can actually believe that we are powerless!

I often wonder what makes other people think that I’m a good person. So I’ve made a list of reasons that are usually considered as traits that a good person would have:

  • kindness
  • compassion
  • selflessness
  • honesty
  • love
  • personal warmth
  • openness, authenticity
  • wisdom

When I look in the eyes of a little baby, I see god in expression. Every child has all these good qualities I just listed above. Children are not born with fear, anger or hatred. They only learn these things while living in this society. So what it is that turns people into “bad” people? And what makes a human being “bad”?

  • cruelty
  • hate
  • criminality
  • rudeness
  • killing other beings

People with these threads are usually considered bad in our society. But what our society fails to see it that the only motivation why human being on the face of this earth ever does is because they believe it will make them feel better. This is the motivation behind every single action we take. When a person kills another person, it’s because they believe that it will make them feel better. Criminals are people who feel so powerless that they need to take a life of another being in order to feel like they have some power.

We fail to see this in our society. We somehow think that people are naturally devided into good and bad. Even when we are little kids, fairytales thought us that bad people need to be killed or punished. Somehow they were born flawed and we need to get rid of them in order to live in a peaceful society.

If the belief that I am not good enough is something that makes a human being bad, then I used to be a bad person as well. For many years I believed I was completely worthless.

Every person contains the “good” and the “bad”. We can choose to express our true side and shine our light, or we can choose to resist our true selfes and become dark. All of us have the potential to be criminals and to kill. Even I have it. I could be cruel, I could choose to be cold and rude. The reason why I’m not like this is because I don’t choose to. I know I can, but I don’t want to. My passion and excitement is to be kind, to help people and to reflect to them how beautiful they are. But this doesn’t make me any better than anyone else.

At the very core every human being is wonderful. What we all have in common is that we want to be loved. Sometimes we don’t know how to get this love so we hurt others. But that doesn’t make us bad from the perspective of the source. 

Happiest songs of all time

Here’s an epic selection of songs that make me feel good  — let me know if you have any to add!

1. Feel Good – James Brown  – The title says it all. It’s hard not to feel good after hearing James Brown telling you how it is.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DuDeBcpLITQ

2. I can see clearly now – Jimmy Cliff – One of the happiest songs I’ve ever heard. It describes the feeling when you realize that all the bad things happened for a reason and you can see clearly now that life is amazing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0jsw_r0hILQ

3. Pharrell Williams – Happy – This song always makes me happy.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6Sxv-sUYtM

4. Colbie Caillat – Brighter Than The Sun – Very optimistic song.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KU5o6M7S5nQ&list=PLcIeVnTzPJCGZdhQOd45gl9lcx6vUpo1Q

5. It’s a Beautiful Day – No matter how bad your day may be, there is always something beautiful happening. This song reminds us that every day is a beautiful day by itself :D .

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=it’s%20a%20beautiful%20day%20&sm=1

6. Walking On Sunshine – Quite possibly the happiest song ever! :mrgreen: The upbeat tunes of the song brings a smile to anyone just by listening to it. :D Make sure to dance along as you listen to the song!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iPUmE-tne5U

7. What a Wonderful World – This beautiful song reminds us to appreciate the beauty of everyday life. There’s just something about pausing for a moment to reflect on the beauty of nature and the universal goodness of the human spirit to have a more positive, refreshed attitude. Everything in life is a miracle. Let’s appreciate and give gratitude to all these things we have with us today :D .

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m5TwT69i1lU&list=PLcIeVnTzPJCGZdhQOd45gl9lcx6vUpo1Q

8. Always Look on the Bright Side of Life – Monty Python – No matter in which circumstance you find yourself in, focus on the positives.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jHPOzQzk9Qo

9. Good Life – One Republic 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZhQOvvV45w&index=17&list=PLcIeVnTzPJCGZdhQOd45gl9lcx6vUpo1Q

10. Feeling Good – Muse – Need to feel good? Listen to this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzGzGvlKZn4&list=PLcIeVnTzPJCGZdhQOd45gl9lcx6vUpo1Q

11. Bobby McFerrin – Don’t worry Be happy – This song makes me smile every time I listen it. Great voice, great song, great melody.. It’s just perfect!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yv-Fk1PwVeU&list=PLcIeVnTzPJCGZdhQOd45gl9lcx6vUpo1Q

 12. Think good thoughts – Colbie Caillat 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vbG4vmibLo8