Isolation Versus Solitude

Isolation is human despair.  When isolated, we are cut off from human exchange, separated from others, even separated from ourselves.  We experience intense loneliness, for without human contact life loses meaning.  We humans are social creatures.  We benefit greatly when others confirm our reality and corroborate our emotions and ideas.

If we are honest, we can feel isolated in the middle of a crowd.  Even in the midst of a sea of family and acquaintances, we can feel intensely alone.  We can even feel alone in a marriage or partnership—and sometimes most poignantly so.  Two people can live together with little meaningful, intimate contact, separated by walls of silence or denial of honest feelings.  Depression and addiction mute painful feelings that lurk beneath the surface.  Posturing in routines and roles replaces authentic living.  All too often, couples have children and use them to fill in the gaps of emptiness that are too hard to face.

Even sex in these relationships can remain isolating and anonymous.  Two people can go through the motions of sex, imbued with fantasy and hope, but never share real love or connection with each other, since no one real is actually there.

Yet the worst form of isolation and the deepest source of loneliness comes from being cut off from our true selves.  This occurs when we fail to make contact with our identity—because it is buried under traumas that require too much painful effort to excavate.  Instead of living with our authenticity shining through, we wear a mask as we interact in the world—even with our closest companions.  We are there—but not present.  We are dissociated due to trauma.

Yet in solitude, unlike isolation, we are never lonely, for we realize that we are not really alone:  we are with our true selves, with ourselves and the river of truth that runs through all things.  We are fully connected.  This comforts our fears and quiets our loneliness.

Even as we approach the mystery of death and the unknown, we need not fear that we will be alone or abandoned, for we know we will be there taking the next leap into this final chapter of life with our best companion—ourselves and our inner connection with truth.