This poem from the great Persian mystic and mathematician seemed appropriate with the approach of the New Year. Beyond the simple beauty, it reminds me once again there is a difference between solitude and being alone. Solitude is a condition of the heart not our external environment. A condition that knows while we may be alone, we never have to be lonely. There is always One who remains with us.
This is what the habit of solitude cultivates, a stable on-going connection to the One. And just like the condition of loneliness, the state of solitude is available whether we are in a crowd or in a closet. That’s because these things reside within us, not out there somewhere. So pick one, and be done with it. If you don’t like your choice, good news, another moment is coming and you can choose again.
As an extrovert this practice has always been the most intimidating and even confusing. But when I feel thirsty, this is where I find the water. When I turn within to find that place, the One is always there.