How to be alone - Catholic Courier

How to be alone

This video

came to my attention through a weekly newsletter I receive and it led me to some thoughts about how we think about being alone. The presumption of the video is that most people in our society think there is something wrong with being alone, and the artist tries to bring people to a place where they can accept that it can be OK to be alone. I must commend her on her attempt to raise up time alone, as I think people struggle with being alone as much as they struggle with silence. Reading through some of the comments on the site, though, points to what she misses in the piece: The struggle to be alone for most people is about the struggle of loneliness.

More and more I hear from ministers on campuses and young people themselves that there is a hunger for community, but that it can seem like a fruitless search. Virtual communities and texting can keep us in touch with people but cannot serve to create a living community if those are the only types of communication. Ironically the constant process of keeping in touch at a superficial level can leave people feeling more lonely and isolated. By blurring the line between being alone with being truly connected with another person we can reach a milquetoast version of human interaction that is wholly unsatisfying. There is something good about being fully immersed in moments alone and fully immersed in an interaction with another person. It is the antithesis of multitasking, to give ourselves fully to a moment, whether it is alone or with another.

When we find ways to engage in this type of immersion experience it can serve as a reprieve from loneliness. It can open us up to the experience of the moment instead of the anxiety of the imagined. And it can allow room for the Spirit to whisper to us about who God is calling us to become.

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