Loneliness to Solitude

English language has a vast library of words that on the surface mean the same thing, but actually when you think about them, they are different.

For example: there are two words (not the only two, for “being alone” in English language. There is loneliness, and there is solitude.

Loneliness has deeply sad undertones. Its usage indicates that the person is somewhat not happy, that they long for companionship and most likely need a big, fat hug.

Solitude  carries a different emotional connotation. When a friend tells you they’ve spent a day in solitude, you assume they took pleasure in being alone.

The difference between these two words have nothing to do with the language though. They are different because of what they represent. One of them represents fear and emptiness, the other represents space and calmness.

They may refer to precisely the same situation, but given different people, their stories, fears and beliefs, the word you use to describe the situation will be different.

We treat loneliness as a bad and sad thing that happens to us, and solitude as a chosen situation.

Loneliness is passive. Solitude is active.

The same person my call them “being alone” as a loneliness when they don’t feel they are in control. They would call the same solitude if they made a conscious choice to be alone.

If we had a magic spell that could change the way we look at our life, and we started to see ourselves more in control, would our alone time move from something we call “loneliness” to “solitude”? If we felt in control, would we avoid the feeling of loneliness “happening to us”?

But… what is control?

What do we mean, when we say a person is in control of their life?

Do they control every aspect of it? Do they have a plan for every  situational possibility? Is that control?

That idea of control sounds more like trying to grasp air and not letting it flow.

Control of your life can only begin with true assessment of the inner world of a person, and can only affect the inner world. We can’t control what the rest of the universe and conscious creatures within it do. We can’t plan for every possibility, and if we try to do that we’ll spend our lives planning, and not living. We can never know everything, understand everything, control ANYTHING outside our inner world. The sooner we accept it, the better.

All this sounds like we’re not really in for a chance to “win” at this game called life. We can’t control anything. Stuff happens to us, which we haven’t (or sometimes have!) asked for. The world is filled with people like us, to whom things happen, over which they also have no control of. We’re all in this together, but separate. Each of us is suffering to some degree. How are we not supposed to be gloomy, depressed or lonely?

What is the answer? How do we transform the loneliness and suffering we feel into freedom and solitude? How do we move through life, which is a miracle (let’s not kid ourselves, spirituality aside, each and one of us is a miracle!), without wasting the precious time we have on pain and suffering?  Can we move from wanting control, to simply being?

What is the answer? How do we move on?