Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Line Between Solitude and Loneliness Is Often Difficult to See


the line between us is so thin I might as well be you...
Robyn Hitchcock

We live as we dream, alone.
Joseph Conrad

...the line between solitude and loneliness is often difficult to see, and nearly impossible to map...in fact, it’s all too easy to spend much of a life stumbling and lurching along that line like a drunk pulled over at three in the morning, falling clumsily to one side or the other...

...kinda like the tug o’ war between belonging and standing out from the mass...the desire to fit in and the fear of denying, or even losing, parts of oneself, becoming smaller, or less than one could or wants to be....crammed into a narrow, proscribed mold for the sake of acceptance...like a puzzle piece, others pushing in on all sides, each in their own very narrow, form-fitted space, proscribed yet snug...no wiggle room, nowhere to move to...except, perhaps, for those along the edges, but they face the outside with straight, rigid borders...

...hmmm...not sure what I think of how that last metaphor ended up...don’t know if I agree with myself at all...

Any definition is a limit.
Wendell Berry

...yoga, they say, is something that encourages opening to every aspect of oneself...along with a radical acceptance of those around you....but any identity, including that of yogi can easily slide into only more dogmas and narrow roles...exclusive cliques based on brand names, beliefs, or hard butts...or the idea of being open and accepting...but that doesn’t mean it has to....words can have many definitions, some far more or less limiting than others...and maybe some can slip outside their definitions completely...


*this post started as a comment on Brooks’ aptly renamed Yogic Muse blog...and the artwork up there is by Liu Bolin...google 'im*

15 comments:

Eco Yogini said...

so true. fantastic post! (thank you for your thoughts on my last post- it was nice to read that someone else had felt similarly) :)

WR said...

You've reminded me of a conversation I heard on NPR this past week end. Eckhart Tolle was discussing why he refrains from using the word "god". I am simply paraphrasing here but it was something about how that word instantly called to the mind fixed images and thoughts and therefore severely limited our ability to comprehend a universal divine. Our words...our path to understanding and our limitation.

Have you read May Sarton's "Solitutde"?

Brooks Hall said...

Yea, I think that yoga is about staying with active consciousness. But what we tend to think of as yoga is usually either technique which is intended to help yogis to be present, or marketing. So you're right. Things that are defined have the limits of their definitions. Yoga is about being in touch with creativity and seeing where things need to go. The good news in this revelation is knowing that there is so much more than what's been defined already. And seeing that limitation can inspire us to see what there might be beyond that.

Deborah Godin said...

Lots of little gems in this post. I especially like that part about not know if you agree with yourself, has a nice almost Lewis Carroll twist about it--first you chuckle, and then you think.

Lumen et Aperio said...

A thing appears to exist only because it has made peace with its yin and yang...

This Brazen Teacher said...

Have you ever thought about writing a book?

Bob Weisenberg said...

WR, I heard that same interview, and it gave me a new impression of Tolle, whom I recently referred to as a modern interpreter of the Upanishads, even though he doesn't call himself that.

Bob Weisenberg
Yoga Demystified.com

the walking man said...

It seems that I am extremely comfortable in solitude and extremely desirous of company when I feel excluded from groups I wish to be included into. I have never been able to find an answer to the dilemma other than to wait for the next moment when the desires change to something new.

earthtoholly said...

What the walking man said kinda goes for me, too. I like solitude and usually don't feel lonely, but a group of friends recently got together, and I wasn't included. I felt a little bad...left out. But to be fair, they had urged me a few years ago to attend a reunion and I was a no-show. My usual. I feel I've never been a really good friend, so I can't expect others to feel differently toward me. I yam what I yam, I guess.

Melinda said...

Hey Jay--what a great title and so appropriate. I think the line between solitude and loneliness can most definitely blur at times but I would say that for me, solitude is a peaceful place where I feel content with my own company and loneliness can be bitingly bitter, where my thoughts loom far too large in my head.

I learned not only to be at peace with solitude but to appreciate it and I also know that my loneliness is often of my own doing--I can tend to isolate and then my solitude can become loneliness--and then, that's where it can reach that 'blurry' place.

Take care,

Melinda

Bapsy said...

The great Yoga Guru of Bikram Yoga said " When you go through bad times - don't cry because good times are coming soon. Life is like waves in the ocean: one up, one down and two up and two down create two up."

Erik Donald France said...

This is good. I know one guy deiducated to yoga who "prides" himself on being morose and remote. Wouldn't one go mad without some kind of connection? Certainly solitude is swell, but complete isolation hell?

Sashindoubutsu said...

Beautiful post. I love the quotes and how they relate to thoughts of life. So true and real, and surpasses the experiences of all people.

Lana Gramlich said...

I think the loneliest time of my life was the 10.5 years I spent w/my ex, to be honest. At least I didn't let it get to 20 years before I said "enough."

koe said...

Jay - I came back to read your posting and puzzle pieces. Thanks for mentioning this. I like how it's something of a loose fit. . . that photograph and your posting. I looked at that photo for quite awhile before showing it because I was worried about how much I liked the fact that the puzzle piece was at such an oblique angle to the sky. It doesn't fit in at all.

My sensibilities, if I do indeed have any, are for things that don't quite fit. I only worry about being only mildly subversive in predictably boring ways.

I googled Liu Bolin - that was a incredible. Thanks.