In a society where the media abound and have a significant influence in life, in a world where many official dialogues are officially established, in a culture where the word “share” is used very frequently, where the terms “meetings,” “clubs,” “meals,” “work meetings,” it would seem that talking about loneliness, interiority, meeting oneself, would be anachronistic. However, we see how in this society the human being seeks peace, tranquility, solitude, one sometimes searches for weekends of isolation, one evades the city and look for an oasis of tranquility. Along with this double reality that occurs so often in the life of the human being, a paradox appears; a person barely stops on the path of his or her life. If any person gets bored asks himself or herself what one has to do, where one can go, who of my friends I need to call to go out, listen to the radio, watch Netflix …
In short, the human being suffers from being alone but has tremendous gaps in his existence. What a more ambiguous situation he lives! To live in a group of people, to talk about communication, but everything leads to isolation; a human being aspires to tranquility and peace and does not feel able to understand oneself interiorly. What a curious situation by being unable to live with others and unable to live alone! It is true: a person might not support others and might not sustain oneself.
Moreover, the success or failure of our life depends on the balance more or less achieved between these two poles: loneliness and otherness. Our existence is woven through an alternation of solitude and communion that purifies us or re-energize us. Hence, we notice how necessary it is to arrive in life to live this alternation! The expressions that we hear the most are such as: I wish I could be by myself for a few minutes!…How lonely I feel! So there are many kinds of loneliness: the endured and painful, which is imposed by events. Also, the one that is malicious and aggressive, like isolation. The fruitful, which is accepted, open and welcoming as is that of Christ, which is assumed as a privilege to live prayer or as a test to live the purification; and that is sublimated by the communion with Jesus Christ abandoned but united to the Father. Today, loneliness is widely supported and painful; it becomes malicious and aggressive due to the lifestyle imposed by our culture, which makes men and women be in an attitude of indifference and living in a state of abandonment.
There are two exits for solitude: diversion or overcoming. The first way to escape from loneliness is the one that occurs very often in our society, by distraction, by being confused, by having fun, in Pascal’s metaphor: getting away from oneself and one’s miserable condition by avoiding thinking about it. It is about forgetting, in such a way that one ends up forgetting oneself. As a result, one is agitated, travels, goes from here to there, until reaching some confusion and the moral or physical drunkenness.
Therefore, the only possible way out is true and fertile solitude, which is a conquest and is the result of learning. As human beings, we ought to live this fertile solitude. Here are some of the steps to know how to reach the fertile solitude and how to enter it. Age does not matter; one could be young or older. I assure you that entering the solitude is something beautiful to rebuild one’s life. There is an implication that one has to move away at certain moments from the tumult and the noise. We need to have the audacity to retire at some point in life. We need to find a monastery, convent or place where one can seek to find oneself through a profound experience of retreat, of recollection, of an encounter with others, which happens, necessarily, by meeting with God.
What elements would I propose to enter this fertile solitude? I have just indicated them, but there are three that – I think – are necessary:
1) Evidently: a withdrawal, a detachment. Get out of the noise. Try it one day, since while one is confused or lightheaded lives outside of oneself and is necessary to “be” to enter within oneself. While one is agitated, the deep self cannot make itself heard. Why are there so many unhappy people? Why are there so many young people who do not know what they want? One has to find oneself, and this requires detachment, access to true solitude, where one encounters the great treasure that is discovering oneself and being able to refer oneself to the one who gives us an answer to the great questions that exist in the depths of the human heart.
2) The second element is recollection. Remember this: Christ withdraws from others but to pray, to find himself as Son in the intimacy of the Father. Without recollection, the retreat becomes dryness, into an intolerable desert and not into an endearing devotion to others. Usually, we leave any whirlpool to look for calm water. We focus and concentrate on filling gaps that we have in our life. Indeed, the vast void of human existence is the lack of living experience of God; and when one does not see that, one will not be happy.
3) A third element is an openness to others that necessarily passes through the openness to God. Without openness, recollection becomes withdrawal over itself, in narcissism. In such a way that the recollection and the opening is the same operation. However, this openness to others goes along through openness to God.
Our radical solitude obeys two causes: the mystery of our life, which can only be lived from, in and with God, and the mystery of our finitude that only reaches an explanation in communion with who is infinite, God. However, here is our greatness, that only wrapped in the love of God we can discover how greatly God made the human being. We are called to communion with God, which is where loneliness reaches its maximum fecundity. Made in the image of God, for God, God can only fulfill us. “Our heart is restless until it rests in you,” St. Augustine told us from his personal experience. The human being, whether he knows it or ignores it, carries within himself an invincible nostalgia for God, a thirst for the infinite that can not be appeased except in Him: “I am life, the source of living water.” Open your life to Jesus Christ. Let Him enter into your solitude. Dare to let it run through your house, which is your life.