In our last post we were talking about what solitude is and what it means for a person to be in solitude.
But, what does science say about solitude? Are there any scientists who have used solitude to improve their skills?
Great minds have used solitude as a skill of transformation. For example,
I take time to go for long walk on the beach so I can listen to what is going on inside my head. If my work is not going well, I lie down in the middle of a workday and gaze at the ceiling while I listen and visualize what goes on in my imagination.
The mind is sharper and keener in seclusion and uninterrupted solitude. Originality thrives in seclusion free of outside influences beating upon us to cripple the creative mind. Be alone – that is the secret of invention: be alone, that is when ideas are born.
Science talks about the benefits of solitude
In the scientific journal, Nature, author Kerri Smith reviews the brain research regarding the importance of solitude. In a resting “do nothing” state, the brain is not doing nothing. It is completing the unconscious tasks of integrating and process conscious experiences.
According to Ester Buchholz, a psychologist and psychoanalyst and the author of The Call of Solitude, solitude is an important – and normal – part of human existence. And it is also essential for our best creative work.
Solitude has been associated with building our identity. Individuals that practice solitude become more self-sufficient, and less dependent on others. They learn to become intimate with themselves.
People avoid being burnout when they practice solitude because they rediscover their own natural rhythms and align their lives accordingly. Solitude helps in problem solving. It is widely recognized that it is often useful to get away from all the things in order to think them through.
However, there is a catch to all of this: For solitude to be beneficial, certain preconditions must be met. Kenneth Rubin, a developmental psychologist at the University of Maryland, calls them the “ifs.” Solitude can be productive only: if it is voluntary, if one can regulate one’s emotions “effectively,” if one can join a social group when desired, and if one can maintain positive relationships outside that group. When such conditions are not met, yes, solitude can be harmful.
The difference between solitude as rejuvenation and solitude as suffering, is the quality of self-reflection that one can generate while in it, and the ability to come back to social groups when one wants to.
Solitude without God is meaningless
I am not here to promote solitude as a psychological skill but as a spiritual discipline, because solitude without God is meaningless. Today’s psychologists avoid recognizing the role that solitude plays in developing the spiritual dimension of humanity.
Solitude was part of the Creator’s master plan to allow humanity to connect and worship Him. Solitude was the discipline introduced by God to allow human beings to know and to be known.
Solitude is not a psychological theory or exercise. It is the journey of men to know their Creator. In St. Augustine’s famous statement, “Thou has made us for Thyself and the heart is restless until it finds rest in Thee”, he was suggesting that at least part of the loneliness people experience in life is a result of the desire to be connected with God. For these reasons, we believe that solitude is not just a form of loneliness, but a spiritual discipline to connect with the Living God.
This is why we seek solitude by ourselves, even when we do not know that it could benefit our relationship with God. We tend to try to escape from all the day by day noise and rush, crowded places, places with a lot of pollution, so we can find “peace and refreshment”.
Now, imagine what could happen if you dedicate that especial time to reconnect with God, to build a solid foundation in your relationship with Him. It would make a big difference, not only regarding your own being, but the way you can feel God in your life. It could help you get closer to Him than you have ever been.
Solitude is a wonderful gift God has set aside for us, so we can reconnect with Him, ourselves, and others.
Do you save some time during your day to be in solitude? If you do, what would you say is the most important thing you have accomplished when being in solitude? Share your answers with us in the comment section. God bless you.