Three posts in a row….. Man I am really something!!!

The rains and the peace that I am deriving from it are getting me into a state of lonely bliss. Every time I get into the rat race of life and as life swirls around and within me, I am again and again confronted with the fact that I have so little time for myself and the fact that there is always a list to be completed. Some work somewhere which I have stowed away for the time being which eventually has to be brought out and done with.

I read this something about Solitude and it got me thinking!!!

What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think. This rule, equally arduous in actual and intellectual life, may serve for the whole distinction between greatness and meanness. It is the harder, because you will always find those who think they know what is your duty better than you know it. It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great person is one who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Solitude is a state of seclusion or isolation, i.e. lack of contact with people. It may stem from deliberate choice, contagious disease, disfiguring features, repulsive personal habits, or circumstances of employment or situation. Short-term solitude is often valued as a time when one may work, think or rest without being disturbed. It may be desired for the sake of privacy. A distinction can be made between physical and mental seclusion. People may seek physical seclusion to remove distractions and make it easier to concentrate, reflect, or meditate. However, this is not necessarily an end in and of itself. Once a certain capacity to resist distractions is achieved, people become less sensitive to distractions and more capable of maintaining mindfulness and staying inwardly absorbed and concentrated. Such people, unless on a mission of helping others, don’t seek any interaction with the external physical world. Their mindfulness is their world, at least ostensibly.

Remember Solitary reaper by William Wordsworth??? I did that in school – A poem, with a spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings, which was recollected in tranquility by the poet. I don’t know why but all through this poem has hit me big time!!! Something like getting back the calmness in the soul and I love it most when it is whispered – One of my all time favorites after marriage of true minds by Shakespeare.

The solitary reaper

Behold her, single in the field,
Yon solitary Highland Lass!
Reaping and singing by herself;
Stop here, or gently pass!
Alone she cuts and binds the grain,
And sings a melancholy strain;
O listen! for the Vale profound
Is overflowing with the sound.

No Nightingale did ever chaunt
More welcome notes to weary bands
Of travelers in some shady haunt,
Among Arabian sands:
A voice so thrilling ne’er was heard
In spring-time from the Cuckoo-bird,
Breaking the silence of the seas
Among the farthest Hebrides.

Will no one tell me what she sings?–
Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow
For old, unhappy, far-off things,
And battles long ago:
Or is it some more humble lay,
Familiar matter of to-day?
Some natural sorrow, loss, or pain,
That has been, and may be again?

Whate’er the theme, the Maiden sang
As if her song could have no ending;
I saw her singing at her work,
And o’er the sickle bending;–
I listened, motionless and still;
And, as I mounted up the hill
The music in my heart I bore,
Long after it was heard no more.

“The Solitary Reaper” begins with the speaker instructing us to look upon “Yon solitary Highland Lass” who is “Reaping and singing by herself”. Thrilled by her song, the speaker compares the girl to a nightingale whose “melancholy strain” welcomes “weary bands / Of travelers” to “some shady haunt, / Among Arabian sands”. Yet he does not understand the words of her song and impatiently cries, “Will no one tell me what she sings?” He wonders if the subject is of “battles long ago” or of commonplace and universal things “familiar matters of to-day”, perhaps “some natural sorrow, loss, or pain.” Then he dismisses his own musings — “Whate’ver the theme,” he says, “the Maiden sang / As if her song could have no ending” -and refocuses his attention on the song. He listens, “motionless and still”, before finally mounting the hill and leaving the solitary reaper, still singing, behind. Though his ears cannot hear the song anymore, the sound of the Highland Lass’s music will forever be a fresh and evocative memory in his heart.

The last line “long after it was heard no more” keeps echoing in my heart long after it has ended. It may be a poem to some but to me it is a beautiful piece which brings back the peace back into my soul. I was told that there is a lot of peace and happiness in the world and that I must find my own. I guess in such a quest for peace and happiness I long for the solitude. Sometimes when I am in my thoughts and suddenly hear somebody humming a familiar song or a song which I cant really understand but the song is haunting I often stop never really bothering the singer but just stop and listen. The poem has the same effect on me. It brings me out of my reverie and forces me to step out of the realms of my thoughts and just stop and wait…. That for me is my idea of solitude….. a time for me and myself!!! Main aur mera saya!!!

In today’s demanding generation we need to maintain some semblance of balance and some sense of the direction in which we are steering the ship of our life. Otherwise we feel overloaded, overreact to minor annoyances and feel like we can never catch up. I am very often faced with this situation and in my quest for the balance I often end up doing things that I regret later. I am never lonely with myself. I long for the time when “Main aur mera saya” can spend time with each other. It can be on a rainy day like this when I do not venture outdoors or it could be on a day when I and my hubby spend time either studying or reading or just driving by oblivious to the world. I don’t need to be talked to nor do I need to listen to music just the chirping of the birds or the humming of the wind will do for me. The other day when I was talking to a friend of mine I heard the voice of a cuckoo….. a cuckoo!!! It has been ages since I heard the voice of that bird. I asked my friend to stop talking and just let me hear. Sometime the voice of jagjit or pankaj udhas really haunts me so much that I stop doing what I was doing and spend a moment with the song.

Sometimes the very idea of silence can make us cringe because it can force an encounter with truths about our life and ourselves that we might not feel ready for. It amazes me how the things we need most often seem elusive or even undesirable.But we do need a safe space to unwrap our wounds — and to let the healing begin. Solitude suggests peacefulness stemming from a state of inner richness. It is a means of enjoying the quiet and whatever it brings that is satisfying and from which we draw sustenance. It is something we cultivate. Solitude is refreshing; an opportunity to renew ourselves. In other words, it replenishes us. My idea of solitude in the broadest sense would be to sit beside the sea or sit beside the calmness of a lake or a water body and let the placid water or the sound of water seep into my being and gently but surely take away all the hurt and confusion and in its place keep only peace and quiet. Solitude gives us a chance to regain perspective. It renews us for the challenges of life. It allows us to get (back) into the position of driving our own lives, rather than having them run by schedules and demands. There is a very fine line dividing the concepts of loneliness and solitude in fact the line is so thin that one can easily thought of as the other. Where loneliness is a negative feeling, Solitude is a way of replenishing the heart, soul and the body for the challenges that life brings to us. Solitude is necessary for anyone who wishes to find peace….. And when I mean peace I mean the peace that emanates from within us. For I refuse to believe that anybody can get any peace elsewhere and even if they do the peace in question is absolutely short-lived. So when I say find the peace and happiness…. I mean find it from within yourself and it is such a blissful feeling that seeps into your body and soul and makes you happy and keeps the happiness there all the time and believe me you can put the whole cosmetic industry out of business. Revel in solitude and cherish the quiet within you….. For that is the only way to happiness and peace.

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  1. Reply
    rajdeep August 15, 2008

    1st para seems to be a spontaneous outbuurst and then the rest a thinker’s mind putting pen to paper.Could skip out the 1 st para because both seems to be wriiten in diff frame of minds.

  2. Reply
    rajdeep August 14, 2008

    very well written piece!!!

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