Friday, September 28, 2018

Here's to solitude

On Wednesday I referenced an inspiration book on which I occasionally draw, entitled Painted Prayers by Jody Uttal. The book contains her original art along with selected poems and prayers by other writers.

Today I want to leave you with a short one by the Bohemian-Austrian poet and novelist Rainer Maria Rilke:

"What is necessary, after all,
is only this: solitude,
vast inner solitude.
To walk inside yourself
and meet no one for hours—
that is what you must be able to attain."

What I've noticed, particularly in our society, is something approaching fear of solitude. Many people seem uncomfortable being alone or being in silence—alone with their thoughts. And yet, how else can we know ourselves? And knowing ourselves, don't we also begin to know and understand others?

I like the way he phrases it: "to walk inside yourself and meet no one for hours."

If you aren't used to solitude, try it just a little at a time until you develop a comfort level with yourself and your own thoughts. It's amazing what you can learn that way. For Rilke, solitude was a necessary prelude to creativity. See if you don't find it so.

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