The value of spending time alone

empty bench

All of humanity's problems stem from our inability to sit quietly in a room alone.
– Blaise Pascal

The basic idea behind a solitary retreat is that we are spending time with ourselves.

Intentional solitude is very different from simply being left alone or finding yourself alone. Both of those things can happen, but we are not necessarily choosing for them to happen. And depending on your personal circumstances, being left alone or finding yourself alone may be either enjoyable or difficult. But intentional solitude is when we choose to see what it is like to be by ourselves, without others.

We might spend time tuning into ourselves. Asking ourselves questions like: How do we feel about something? What do we think about it? What do we value in our life? What do we believe and why? And when we ask such questions, being alone allows us to give answers the time they need to surface without being rushed.

For many people, intentional solitude is an opportunity to catch up with ourselves. To relax, rejuvinate, and rediscover what is most meaningful in our lives.

We may get to know ourselves better while on solitary retreat? We may cultivating more confidence in who we are and what we are choosing to do with our lives. We may become aware of aspects of ourselves that are feeling unfulfilled and unnoticed? And, perhaps, the practise of intentional solitude may highlight our dependency on others for company. Being truly comfortable with yourself is the best way to become comfortable around others.