by Aletheia Luna and Mateo Sol

from LonerWolf website
















#1 Quietness
by Aletheia Luna

January 2013




One of the most important discoveries I've made in my life is that only in solitude can we discover who we truly are.

Only in solitude can we discover what our lives are about, what our personal purposes are and most essentially, develop the inner peace we need to live life fully, deeply and meaningfully.

If you have never traversed the turbulent waters of solitude, my hope is that you'll find these series of articles encouraging and enlightening. I like to refer to the courageous souls who have helped contribute to the insights in this series as the solitaires of our modern day.


These people, the solitaires, have ventured into the intimidating void of solitude to face themselves, discover who they are and embrace themselves and the lives they've been given with peace and acceptance.

Every person is a solitaire. Every person is a stone set by themselves.


The truth is that not only do we experience everything in our lives in the solitary, but we can never find our purpose, peace or answers engulfed in the tides of people or society either.

My hope is that this series will inspire you to seek, at the very least, some quiet time to reflect and learn.




The Noise Trap

Have you ever felt the need for some "quiet time"?


And more importantly, have you ever asked yourself why? It's no secret that our society and the lives we live are the causes of such momentary spurs of exhaustion inside of us.


But why...?

Not only do we feel constantly drained and frazzled by the fast paced, consumer and commodity driven lives we live, but the time we have to relax and reflect is harshly limited as well.


Many of us unconsciously realize that the noisy, jam packed schedules we carry, allow no time for us to live life. Before we know it, our days, months and years pass in a blur.

It is only when we emerge from our routinely, mindless days that we realize we haven't achieved anything of meaningful importance. We feel empty inside and outside, not knowing who we are or what true fulfillment is.


This sickly feeling is the result of one sole thing: noise.




Quietness is the Secret Ingredient

Quietness is the most essential element to solitude.


If the opposite of a virtue is a sin - have you ever thought of noise, the antithesis of quietness, as a sin? Personally I don't like using the word, but noise really does hinder self discovery and self fulfillment.


If a virtue is the quality of doing what is right and avoiding what is wrong, then quietness is possibly the most underrated virtue there is, and noise is the most forgotten "sin".


Only in quiet, the absence of noisy distraction, can we focus on developing inner and outer awareness, understanding and appreciation.


But is external quietness essential to inner peace?




Quietness Internally & Externally

Equilibrium. Tranquility. Inner peace.


All these words refer to the state of inner solitude and inner quietness. Is outer quietness always essential for establishing inner quietness? No. But it helps.


But as Lionel Fisher reveals in his book Celebrating Time Alone, retreating into the quietness of solitude provides the first stepping stone to long lasting tranquility.

But what does this tranquility and quietness consist of?


Inner quietness is an acceptance of yourself and the world, without any noisy conflicting expectations or desires. It is becoming mindful of the emotions and thoughts that are not you and letting them pass in peace. It is becoming aware of, and cherishing the beauty, fragility and transience of all life around you.


And lastly, inner quietness is making peace with yourself, your flaws and your failures, realizing that none of these are you. They simply belonged to you.


Inner quietness is the state of ultimate love and joy.



#2 - Aloneness
by Mateo Sol
October 2013


There are three irreversible facts of life:

  • we are born alone

  • we live alone

  • we die alone...

Aloneness is in our basic nature, it is at our very roots.


In reality, the world is a subjective experience through the eyes of one person alone, You.

So it is with this understanding, that I must begin this article by saying that physical aloneness is essential to solitude. Not only that, but to reap the rich and unique rewards that solitude brings, it is virtually impossible at first to immerse ourselves in the flurry and frenzy of society.

Although aloneness is greatly feared and avoided, almost every spiritual teacher in history has attested to its importance, and the need for it to be embraced and cultivated.


If you're seeking to answer the questions of life, discover who you are, and wanting to gain more internal courage and strength, seeking aloneness is an essential pit stop on your journey.



Freedom from Illusion

There is a certain mirage that most of us have been seduced by, that of thinking we aren't alone because there are people around us.


These people could be anything from a close friend who shares our fun, a lover we're emotionally bonded with, or a group we share a belief system or genetic relationship with.

Although their company may touch our depths, making us feel a part of a whole entity, when that lover is lost, or that friend is gone, those roots of aloneness are still left. We are still alone.


We all know that there are things we do when we're by ourselves, that we won't do around other people.

Only in the solitude that comes with aloneness can we be entirely free to be ourselves, providing us with the freedom to not only release all tension that comes with worrying about other people's judgments of us, but the ability to explore ourselves freely as well.

Unsurprisingly, many of the people who explore who they are in aloneness, discover they are homosexual, heavily prejudiced, mentally ill or other taboo self discoveries they never chose to be acquainted with.


Aloneness allows us to escape the illusions we create about ourselves and feed to ourselves, and replace them with reality, clarity and understanding.

Unfortunately however, many people, (and possibly even you), have learnt to equate aloneness with one of the most harrowing experiences in life:


Perhaps this is why we avoid aloneness like the plague?




Aloneness is Not Loneliness

It's true that externally aloneness and loneliness look exactly the same - they are both characterized by physical solitude.

Unfortunately, this is why aloneness is often falsely mistaken for loneliness. Internally, aloneness and loneliness are both completely different.

Why? Loneliness is not chosen by us, but is something imposed on us, manifesting itself as a feeling of isolation and emptiness.


Loneliness occurs when we haven't accepted our natural aloneness in life. Instead, we're still desperately trying to fill that fear of being existentially alone with external distractions and comforts.

Aloneness, unlike loneliness, is chosen. It can be described as the beautiful feeling of being alone without being lonely.


Aloneness brings the marvelous constructive state of engagement with yourself, wherein you provide yourself wonderful and sufficient company.


Unlike loneliness, aloneness helps us to practice introspection and reflecting inside ourselves to discover our true natures.


Not only this, but aloneness provides even deeper virtue in that it allows us to appreciate and interact better with our surroundings - the very world we so frequently ignore and take for granted.




Together Alone

On one hand, aloneness benefits us by allowing us to practice inner searching, reflection, self-growth and the exploration of our passions.


In fact, thinking and creativity usually requires alone time, as does reading or artistic tendencies of any kind. Not only that but only in aloneness can we appreciate and absorb the nuances of nature and the world we live in.


Being "together alone" is to relate with oneself and with all.

On the other hand, aloneness benefits our interactions with others.


A lonely person is a dependent person - they exploit others company to satisfy their own deficiency. Lonely people are beggars of attention. Alone people, whereas, are independent by nature. They're centered in themselves, meaning that they don't need others company, which provides them with a self worthy of sharing.


If the alone person happens to meet someone they like, they welcome them with an open heart - they don't exploit or take anything from the other, they simply offer their own company.

Aloneness is manifested by peacefulness that feeds from a well of inner wealth. It is the only way to enjoy the quiet and all the sustenance that quiet brings.


Depending on what side of the introvert/extrovert and Highly Sensitive Person spectrum you fall into, each person requires different amounts of aloneness. But the important thing is that everyone needs to be alone and experience solitude at some point or another.


Without aloneness, an important virtue of solitude, it would be virtually impossible to find internal peace, direction, insight and interpersonal harmony.

The origin of the word Alone encapsulates this thought perfectly:

'all' + 'one' = All in Oneness.



#3 - Awareness
by Aletheia Luna
January 2013

Let us not look back in anger

or forward in fear,

but around in awareness.

James Thurber

Frenzied blurs, animalistic reactions, repetitious routines.


If you have ever found your life feeling plastic and hollow, you are most likely a puppet of the dream many of us live while we're awake. You're a victim of lifeless living, a plague so widespread it would be called a worldwide pandemic… if only we were aware of it.


The problem is, we aren't. In fact, we're not aware of many things these days. Before we know it our hours, days, weeks and years slug by like forgotten remnants down the drain.

We feel, but our lives are unfeeling. We see, but we walk around blindly, and we hear, but we are deaf to the amazing vibrancy and miraculous intensity of life.


In most cases, we walk around like the living dead, dressed up as stale and spiritless mannequins living life in a vacuous vacuum of emptiness.

Why do we fall so easily into the trap of lackluster living? And more importantly, why do we feel the pangs of hollowness that make our lives feel meaningless, purposeless and expendable?


The answer is that we aren't aware. In other words, we have no focused and mindful attention of what is going on inside and outside of ourselves.

Awareness is a rich reward of practicing solitude.


Below we'll explore why...



A Crime Against Humanity?



Why do we carry such little awareness through our days?


Why do we struggle so much to practice awareness in our daily lives?

Some people say that there is far too much stimulation and busyness in our daily lives to be capable of such a feat. Some say that we fear the awareness that comes with solitude.


In it we see ourselves for who we truly are, and what our lives have become.


Who would want that? Who would prefer reality over a cut off and comfortable dream?

Perhaps we like to run from truth, perhaps we prefer safety and comfort? Or perhaps we have never known that we are awake, yet constantly dreaming?


We were never taught awareness and mindfulness by our parents, education or society. They were never even aware that it needed to be talked about, or practiced in the first place!


Instead we were fed information about maths, science, art and a whole bunch of intellectual rubbish which would never help us grow mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

We were never taught what awareness was, or how it could be practiced, or how it could transform our lives into constant states of joy, appreciation and acceptance. We were deprived of the very thing we needed to live life alive.


I rather think this is the reason why we lack awareness to this present day.




Hearing But Not Listening

From Eckhart Tolle, Osho and Lao Tzu, to Alan Watts, Buddha and Henry Thoreau, awareness has been shown to be the key to living wholly and fully.


As Thoreau said,

"you must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment."

If you were to stop and think you would realize that most of us have forgotten how to simply be.

We don't know how to do the simplest, yet most difficult thing in existence: to watch and listen right now, in complete awareness of this moment. In solitude, awareness provides us the space to be still, to listen instead of superficially hear.


It even allows us to overcome pain.




3 Gifts of Awareness

Awareness allows us to:


  1. Appreciate the subtleties of nature.


    Awareness allows us to notice and cherish the small miracles in nature. A gnat in a spiders web, the color of Autumn leaves, the smell of a storm approaching, the glow of the moon on a Winter's night.


    There are an infinite number of small, seemingly irrelevant things we appreciate when we become aware of our surroundings.


    Usually we miss them in our daily routines, and therefore miss the gift of perceiving life as it happens around us.


    Awareness allows us to develop a high level of sensitivity to our surroundings and thus experience more wonder, fascination and joy.


  2. Awareness allows us to overcome pain.


    This is possibly the greatest aspect of the virtue of awareness. When we adopt a state of awareness we are able to develop the ability to "observe" and detach ourselves from our emotions and thoughts.


    When we realize that we are not our thoughts or emotions, they are simply things that come and go, we are able to transcend them, and cease suffering from our unhealthy involvement.


    Awareness in this case, is essential for first acknowledging what thoughts and emotions we have, and then later, letting them pass.


  3. Awareness allows us to be more objective.


    This can be demonstrated in a situation I recently, and embarrassingly, found myself in. I had caught a public bus, and a man had come on and sat behind me.


    I had observed him walk in and judged him instantly to be a basket-case psychopath (something about his face and clothing… I dunno).


    I started to feel more and more anxious as the minutes ticked by, wondering if he had a knife. Then I stopped, re-evaluated the situation objectively, and soon forgot my unfounded fear.


    Awareness allows us to be objective by helping us to watch without reacting. When we react, we impose our own preconceived beliefs and ideas on to the situation, elevating it into a horrific ordeal.


    Often times, we forget to see the reality of the situation, causing ourselves to suffer from irrational fears and anxieties.


    The objectivity that comes through awareness allows us to develop an inner equilibrium and calm which is impossible to find with mindless reactions.

Awareness is essential for experiencing childlike wonder and inner serenity.


It is an important and extremely beneficial element of solitude, that leads to the next virtue of appreciation.




#4 - Introspection
by Mateo Sol
November 2013

Your visions will become clear

only when you can look

into your own heart.

Who looks outside, dreams;

who looks inside, awakes.

C.G. Jung

There are two kinds of people in this world:

  • the Introspective person

  • the Extrospective person

The Extrospective person directs their mental focus outwards, understanding the processes of the external world.


This is the opposite function of the Introspective person, who directs their mental focus inwards, making sense of the inner world and all its workings in relation to the external world, focusing on thoughts and feelings.


Now ask yourself, which one are you? It may be hard for you to answer definitely at first, so here's a question: do you prefer to see yourself as a Scientist or a Lawyer?


The answer you give to this question says a lot about how you perceive yourself and the world.

Introspective people can be seen as the Scientists.


A Scientist begins with an observation, then moves on to research, and finally experimentation. The Scientist begins with the inner, and moves to the outer.


If you chose a Lawyer on the other hand, you are most likely an Extrospective person, beginning with an external conclusion, then working backward developing all kinds of theories and explanation to validate that pre-decided conclusion. The Lawyer begins with the outer, and moves towards the surface of the inner.

Many of us don't like dealing with our inner worlds. We don't like being introspective and questioning of ourselves, our motives, our decisions and our actions.


Unfortunately, this creates a false, illusory sense of self-worth, as we're unable to truly understand ourselves, warts and all. In order to develop introspection, we must first be aware of ourselves and the world around us (yet this too is rarely the case).

Introspection, a powerful virtue of Solitude, awakens our minds, heart and spirits.



Introspection of Thoughts and Feelings

A major source of unhappiness in our lives is our inability to practice introspection, and to identify the nature and causes of our emotions through self-reflection.


Experiencing an emotion without practicing any introspection reveals nothing about reality - you only know that an external factor makes you sense an internal feeling, which is pretty much the same insight an animal has.


Not very insightful, is it?

Unless we're capable of being honest with ourselves and relentless in the identification of our inner states, we'll never be able to discover what we're feeling.


We'll also never be able to discover the origins of those feelings and whether those feelings are an objectively wise response to the reality of the situation (or an erroneous response of dealing with the situation), or a dangerous false perception of the situation.


In order to behave as wise as we possibly can, we must examine the emotions and beliefs that govern our behavior. Without introspection, it is possible to live a life of self-deception.

To determine our actions and reactions solely on emotions is the most harmful and negligent response a human being can produce. Introspection considers the context of a situation to base our decision in reality.


It examines the causes and motives of our feelings and the consequences an emotion will produce if we act on it. We must use our emotions and passions as the sails to our existential boat, but our examination and reason as the rudder to guide them.

This is a good chance to ask yourself again whether you are an Introspective or Extrospective person.


If you found yourself in a situation that required you to act, would you think,

"What is it I know? And how do I know this?", or would you inquire "What is it I feel? And why do I feel this?".

If you thought you would ask the first questions, you function in an Extrospective way, if you believed that you would ask the second set of questions, you are most likely an Introspective person.


What a relief!




The Only Way Out, Is In


"But if these years

have taught me anything

it is this: you can never run away.

Not ever.

The only way out is in."

Junot Díaz

(The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao)


As you slowly become introspective of your internal reactions to the external world, you begin to feel your life is somewhat unreal, as if you had been acting out a drama.


This drama is formed over an entire lifetime of education, training, culture and tradition that is taught through your socialization - of which is not your natural state.

You can't cut off your chains unless you can see them first, you cant desire escape from your external reactive prison unless you're aware you're inside one in the first place.


Only after finding the freedom of knowing your true self through introspection, can you decide where you want to go.


Unfortunately, the majority of people in our world function in an Extrospective way, always asking "how" and turning to the external world for answers, rather than asking "why" and searching the internal world.

Perhaps an anecdote of Sufi sage Mullah Nasreddin will help illustrate this difficulty well:

One day, the villagers saw Mullah Nasruddin out in the street searching frantically for something.

"What are you searching for, Mullah?" they inquired.

"I've lost the key to my house." replied Mullah.

"We'll help you look," they said.

After some time searching for the key, they asked Mullah:

"Where exactly did you drop it?"

Mullah pointed towards his dark unlit house:

"Over there, in my house."

All the villagers laughed, they remarked:

"We knew you were a bit crazy but this is simply ridiculous. Why are you searching for your keys out here if you lost them in your house!"

Mullah responded:

"Because there is more light out here than inside my house. Isn't that what you're all are doing? Trying to solve your internal problems with external solutions…"



#5 - Appreciation
by Aletheia Luna
September  2014


Did you know that only 10% of our mind functions consciously on a daily basis?

That leaves the other 90% functioning on an unconscious auto-pilot mode. In essence, all the stimulation of our daily lives is filtered out and sifted for what is the most immediately relevant to us.


So what's the big deal you ask?


The big deal is the little things we miss on the way. We miss the opportunities for admiration, the doorways to experiencing gratitude, and the chances to appreciate life as a whole.


We miss the feelings of happiness, the childlike sensations of awe, and the innocent curiosity of wonder. All these marvelous things we miss out on in this modern age of noisy capital and labor… sometimes without even realizing it.

If you look around, it's easy to see that the need for personal Solitude is great in this world. Not only does Solitude help us develop inner peace, acceptance and understanding, but also outer insight, awareness and most essentially, appreciation.


After all, how are we supposed to enjoy the journey rather than the destination without appreciating what we see on the way?




Gratitude and Appreciation

If you want to find happiness,

find gratitude.

 S. Maraboli

Gratitude stems from appreciation and is essentially an attitude of thankfulness towards the big and little things of life.


When was the last time you sat down and thought about all the things you're thankful for? Or stopped at the traffic lights and felt gratitude for your ability to work for money, drive, gather food, function normally…

Experiencing gratitude can increase your happiness levels by 25% according to an experiment conducted by two psychologists Michael McCullough and Robert Emmons.


According to the study, not only can gratitude increase levels of optimism but also boost alertness, energy and determination, substantially reducing depression and stress.

So, why do we complain more than feel appreciation in our lives?


The answer is an easy one:

lack of awareness, and lack of alone time and personal Solitude.

As I mentioned earlier, we live most of our days in an automatic and unconscious state.


This is largely due to the fact that we constantly live in the past or off in the future, forgetting about this present moment now. To experience gratitude is to experience an appreciation of the present moment, of what we possess right now.

Experiencing gratitude also requires a certain level of introspective alone time, you could even say that gratitude is a natural byproduct of Solitude.


Without Solitude, it's extremely difficult to develop appreciation when we're engulfed in tides of people, noise and drama.




Admiration and Appreciation

When the suicide arrived at the sky,

the people asked:


He replied:

"Because no one admired me."

 Stephen Crane


Admiration is the second element of appreciation and is basically a feeling of wonder and pleasure towards something highly esteemed.


We hear of poets admiring their beloveds, admiring their mothers, admiring the skies and seas and mountains. Sounds a bit soppy and overly sentimental, doesn't it? Not really.

Admiration is essential to our lives because it instills in us a sense of love, respect and awe for what we see.


When you pass a mountain in your car, do you feel a sense of awe and wonder? When you see a mother nursing her young in the streets, do you feel a sense of love and respect?

Too often we take the things we see for granted, missing out on their hidden opportunities to experience admiration and appreciation, the very things that help us enjoy life.


This is due to the fact that we don't make time and space for ourselves to absorb the world around us. Once again, experiencing admiration in its purest form is closely linked to the need to establish personal Solitude.


How can we live life fully without first admiring, appreciating and enjoying it first?

Appreciation, the fifth virtue of Solitude, is split up into the two elements of gratitude and admiration. These allow us to see each moment as a beautiful gift, with eyes of wonder and respect.


#6 - Courage
by Mateo Sol
May 2014


"Without courage

all virtues lose their meaning."

Winston Churchill

Some people live life in the fast lane. I spent most of mine on the side of the road, hood ajar, staring at a smoking engine… scratching my head.

I admired entrepreneurs and innovators like Steve Jobs and Walt Disney.


I admired courageous speakers against injustice (at their own personal detriment) like Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela from afar… but as soon as I saw a man wearing a pink shirt walking towards me on the same footpath, I'd across the street to avoid him because brave people scared me.

One day, like the cowardly Lion of Oz in search for courage, I realized that courage was something I had all along.


This reminds me of something the mystic poet Kabir once wrote:

"Lions and saints never move in a group. They feel they are enough unto themselves."

A lone wolf travels in courage and solitude, he feels no need for a pack, only sheep full of fear move in a warm and cozy crowd - it gives them protection.

How can we face ourselves, what we have done, and what has befallen us if we don't spend quality time alone, in self-analysis? Courage is perhaps the most noticeable result of taking some time out from the world in Solitude.


But courage isn't fearlessness.



Courage isn't Fearlessness

A hero

is no braver than an ordinary man,

but he is braver five minutes longer.

 Ralph Waldo Emerson

(Essential Emerson)

The first question we must ask ourselves is:

What is courage?

Courage is being comfortable with uncertainty. That's it...!

Courageous and cowardly people aren't that different, they both share the same human anxieties and fears that come with the unknown.


The only difference is courageous people hear their fear, put their fears aside and do things anyway, while cowards listen to the fears and follow them.

We aren't born with courage but born with the potential for it. I've heard many people declare that being "normal" is some kind of virtue, but if you think about it, being normal denotes a lack of courage, as the majority of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.

Paradoxically, many heroes are men who weren't courageous enough to be cowards.


They feared more the opinions of others than their own fears. The biggest hindrance of courage is to pursue dreams that are different, uncertain, or audacious, especially in regard to how other people will see them, and whether they will criticize them or not.

I've learnt that to be brave you must trust the uncertainty that comes with change.




Trusting Uncertainty


Courage is like love;

it must have hope for nourishment.

Napoleon Bonaparte

Alexander The Great, Monet, and Einstein all shared one common element:

they had great trust in themselves...

They were all courageous enough to be different, and to conquer their fears of criticism or death.

It is commonly thought that hate is the polar opposite of love when in fact the opposite is not hate, but fear:

love expands, fear shrinks

love opens, fear closes

love trusts, fear doubts...

The deeper you go into love through trust, the less fear there is.

Only in loving your dreams and wanting something badly enough will you decide that trusting uncertainty is a much more fruitful path than fearing uncertainty.


Looking for safety isn't safe, it's taking the fun out of everything, which also includes removing risks.

With enough experience facing fears you develop a confidence that allows you to trust in your own abilities in any situation. Don't get me wrong, confident people still feel fear, but they know they've coped well with situations before by trusting themselves.


Most of all, they trust their intelligence enough to go into the unknown, they know that even if the whole known world disappears… they will still be able to settle and make a home in the unknown.

To inquire within and discover more about ourselves, we need trust. Only a man capable of great trust is capable of great inquiry. Mediocre fears can be appeased with mediocre explanations.


Great fears can only be appeased with substantial explanations that remove every doubt.


From what I have discovered, trust is,

the capacity to go into open waters without a map or knowledge of whether the other side exists or not...




Courage Brings Self Discovery

Life shrinks or expands

in proportion to one's courage.

Anais Nin

There are five major structures in our life:

our careers, friends, culture, beliefs and hobbies.

All of these require courage to transcend when the time is right.


Bear with me while I explain a little bit.

Your current career was most likely chosen based on what you saw as an option, or was available to you when you were joining the workforce. In youth, we barely know ourselves (yep, believe me) and are only aware of a limited number of options that made sense at the time.


What you decided to study or work in is largely due to luck.

Our friends are also the result of luck, as often the few incredible and inspiring people we met came through the fortune of education, or work.


But once we have stable friendships that share our ideas and tastes, we become complacent and stop actively looking for friends that might challenge our current values and interests.


Pretty soon we become stagnant.

Even more so than the careers and friends, the cultures that we've been raised in is purely happenstance, yet they dictate the friends and careers we have entirely. In other words, the career opportunities and the people you'll come across are largely dominated by your country of birth.


Few people migrate to other countries and those that do, do so because of work, war or love. Very few change countries or even cities because they think another place will make them happier.

Finally, what you do in your free time as a hobby is right at the bottom of the pyramid, being the happenstance hybrid bastard offspring of the other three.


The same applies to your belief systems, which are dependent on the family or people you were by chance surrounded with. But these don't make us happy. They make us bored without realizing it, because as we age boredom starts turning to fear.

If you've reached the end of this, I thank you for bearing with me.


What I'm trying to say is that most of our lives consist of conditions that we've fallen into by chance.


What are the odds that all the structures that form your current life which were decided by fate, are actually the best possible fit for who you are? Not very much at all.


For instance, you could be a brilliant pianist born into an orthodox Muslim family. Or you could find that snowboarding fulfills you like nothing else in this world, but you were born in the Sahara desert. We need courage to discover who we are, what we like and what we're about.

Courage creates the difference between surviving and living.

As our friend Winston Churchill said,

to practice any other virtue requires at the foremost courage...

Any resistance to change out of fear eventually causes suffering and stagnation. In the end it takes courage to endure the intimidating feelings of self-discovery, and resist the dull monotony of our happenstance lives.

One final message from what I've learnt: endurance is the key word. Courage isn't a fearless outburst, it's a quiet persistence that will not surrender to the fear it feels.


To fail is not really a failure, it's an opportunity to try again.



#7 - Acceptance
by Aletheia Luna
October 2014



is like a warm embrace.

I learnt this after a painful struggle with social anxiety disorder that prevented me from functioning normally in social situations.


Anxiety and paranoia constantly plagued me, but the true disorder was my debilitating inability to accept what I was going through.


I would angrily ask,

"why is this happening to me?",

"why can't things be different?",

"why do I do that?",

"I should have done better and made more progress".

Does this sound familiar to you?


For most people, lacking acceptance of what life throws at them is the major cause of pain and suffering. How can we embrace the reality of this present moment if we have conflicting expectations and desires for something different? The answer is we can't, and never will.

Sometimes we grow to understand this fact, just like when I eventually understood that I was becoming my own worst enemy. After fighting uphill, I realized I was moving in the wrong direction and asking the wrong questions.


Instead of demanding "why is this happening to me?", I began pondering,

"how can I face this challenge at the level I'm at now?"

The acceptance I grew of myself soon brought the freedom I had sought after so ferociously.


But no everyone reaches this stage. It takes a little bit of introspection and a lot of courage, both of which are inextricably linked to the practice of personal Solitude.

If Solitude produces quietness, aloneness and awareness, as well as introspection, appreciation and courage, acceptance is naturally the next of kin.




Buddha Was Right

What is evil?

Killing is evil, lying is evil,

slandering is evil, abuse is evil, gossip is evil:

envy is evil, hatred is evil,

to cling to false doctrine is evil;

all these things are evil.

And what is the root of evil?

Desire is the root of evil,

illusion is the root of evil.


How convincing can a smiling, half naked and morbidly obese man be, right?


But Gautama Buddha was right - at least about one thing:

Desires. Desires for wealth, desires for possessions, desires for fame, respect, titles, stimulation and love...

When we want something we don't have, we create pain and tension inside of ourselves, and if that pain is big enough, we're prone to inflict pain on other people as well.


Desires are the sole root of suffering in this world.

Ever heard of a friend who desires his neighbor's wife so badly that he does whatever he can to get her?


Who cares about her husband, her kids or their happiness and stability - if he wants her, he will get her. Desires can blind us. They can bewitch us and possess us and poison our minds like the toxic drug that it is.

Even wanting the latest version of iPhone creates a certain amount of tension and suffering in us.


When we desire something, we are fundamentally dissatisfied with the way our lives are in the present moment - we find little fulfillment inside of ourselves, so we feel the need to stuff our empty voids with as many external acquisitions as we can.

How can we ever be at peace inside ourselves if we're always chasing after this and yearning after that?


Unfortunately, you, the reader, are just as guilty as me - we're both ruining our lives.




Acceptance is a Hippy

Look at it this way… acceptance is the free-loving hippy to the office working idealist.


Why? Because acceptance brings peace, love and happiness. Ever heard or met people who just seen to "go with the flow"? They're much more likely to be more accepting people than the average person.

So how can we become more accepting, not just of ourselves, but the people in our lives, and life itself - without growing fungus under our nails, and wearing daisy chains in our hair?


Firstly, we need to understand that the opposite of acceptance is not only desire, but also expectation as well.


Do we expect too much from ourselves, our situations and others? Try this simply test to determine whether you expect too much - all it requires is mindfulness of your thoughts and reactions.


Ask yourself:

How many times during the day do I directly, or indirectly, use the word 'should'?

For instance, you could say,

"Amanda, you should have done the shopping!", or indirectly think "why doesn't my boss ever compliment me?"

The more dissatisfaction, regret, tension or anger you feel, the more likely the culprit is your expectations.


Look out for these symptoms and the more likely you will be able to see how much of an office working idealist you are.




Why It's A Smart Idea To Give Up

Here's a rhetorical question for you: do you really think you can change anyone?


I still struggle with this question, and still occasionally live under the illusion that yes, I can.

Can you make someone a neater eater, a wiser decider, a punctual and hard working person? You can make people do things, sure. You can shout at them, pester them and nag at them, but at the end of the day the changes you make are only superficial.


The true, long-lasting changes happen within the other a person, and only the other person can do that. Not you.

This is why if you're an idealist, it's a wise idea to just give up. All your efforts and disappointments are going to waste. With acceptance of the way life is, of the way you are and the way little Johnny keeps his messy room, comes perfect happiness.

The sooner you let everything be as it is, with no desire or expectation for something different, the better your life will be.



#8 - Happiness
by Mateo Sol
June 2014

When I was 5 years old,

my mother always told me that

happiness was the key to life.

When I went to school,

they asked me what I wanted to be

when I grew up.

I wrote down 'happy'.

They told me

I didn't understand the assignment,

and I told them

they didn't understand life.

John Lennon

Our lives are driven by incentives and happiness is the greatest of them all.


Happiness fuels our actions, and at the same time is the most elusive, and seemingly hardest to achieve virtue. Just think of the eternal "pursuit of happiness" people talk about all the time. When it comes to happiness, nothing fails like success. There never comes a moment when you can proclaim to have attained happiness.


Why? Because happiness is eternally reborn.

The American constitution states that the pursuit of happiness is a man's birthright. Some of us are too frightened to "pursue happiness", finding a certain comfort in misery.


Other's of us are cynical of the "pursuit of happiness", so that every time we yell at people to "Act your age!", it sounds like "Be sad with me!"

So, what exactly is Happiness? And how does Solitude cooperate in feeling it?




Happiness Is Not a Pursuit

One of the easiest mental traps to fall into is the idea that happiness is "just out there" waiting to nip us on the butts.


People seem to think that happiness is waiting for us, beyond some kind of future achievement of a goal, or a change of circumstances. But this mindset only makes our happiness dependent on factors outside of our control.

A good example of this false idea is summarized in a well known saying:

happiness is having someone to love, something to do, and something to look forward to.

This common belief has some truth to it, but when you think about it, reaching and keeping these ideal circumstances creates a lot of anxiety that leads to unhappiness.


It's self-defeating...!

Your beloved may die, your age eventually will hinder your activities and your expectations of the future may not be met...

The pursuit of happiness is a self-perpetuating task.


Pursuing anything creates a tension, the tension makes you unhappy, and unhappiness will demand to continue the eternal, exhausting pursuit.




Happiness Is Not Gratification

There is no greater happiness than making teenagers feel uncomfortable by hovering near them in the condom aisle. Or so I thought.

Too often happiness is confused with gratification. Gratification is the awesome feeling that comes when we accomplish a goal we set out to achieve.


Basically, gratification is getting what you wanted. Gratification isn't necessarily bad, it's just not going to get you any closer to happiness.


Why? By achieving one desire and getting something you wanted will 99.9% of the time result in another new desire arising, and demanding to be achieved.

You may be thinking,

"but we need desires because without them we'd have no incentive to act. We wouldn't be able to live. Right?"

Desires aren't directly the cause of unhappiness, but it's an attachment to these desires that make us unhappy. This is where acceptance becomes a virtue.

What we want shouldn't be responsible for determining how happy we are, it is how happy we are that should determine what it is that we want.




Happiness In Solitude

"All man's miseries

derive from not being able

to sit quietly in a room alone."

Blaise Pascal

Although the world has changed hugely over the centuries, the basic ingredients of human happiness still remain the same.


The Sufi's believe that everybody is born happy, it is our innate nature, and only through our socialization do we get lost in the mental fallacies of suffering. What we call happiness is simply just what the absence of suffering feels like.

"Dukkha" is a Buddhist word that describes the absence of suffering...


This isn't the suffering that comes with a major catastrophic event in our lives like the death of a loved one, but is rather a word that describes the persistent, almost subtle feelings of dissatisfaction and desires that most of us feel during our daily lives.

As spoken about in the previous article on acceptance in this series, desire is the root of all our suffering.


For instance, think about the well-known desire not to look ridiculous at your next job interview. This results in worry, unease, insecurity with how you look/speak/behave, uncertainty and symptoms of panic and anxiety.

So, why do we pursue happiness?


Basically, because we are dissatisfied, and we feel as though there's something missing in our lives, or something that we must add to make our lives 'richer':

financial security, possessions, seeking our peer's respect and approval, status and entitlement are all symptoms of the pursuit of happiness.

They are all the result of dissatisfaction.

Only through introspection do we finally come to realize that happiness is not something we want to gain, but happiness is something we want to lose:

  • insecurities

  • hunger

  • fears

  • angst

In solitude we have the freedom through introspection to find all that has been causing our suffering and destroy it.

We are bombarded from a young age with countless social ideals that we 'should' strive to accomplish. We are told that we should achieve good grades, a respectable career, be righteously moral, achieve a successful lifestyle with the latest gadgets for our families.


We are told that males should be sexually accomplished and females sexually modest, everyone should be socially extroverted, physically attractive, and well versed in political, historical and social matters.


And all this, towards being financially secure in our retirement, and able to provide 'properly and sufficiently' for our children's futures.

Only in solitude can we feel a respite from the social idealistic baits that initiate our aimless happiness pursuits. Only in solitude can we rid ourselves from the judgment of others in order to find our true selves and overcome all the feelings that cause our suffering, living our lives with our own natural happiness.

Unhappiness, in essence, is the result of how poorly you're relating to the present moment and its circumstances.


So think for a moment… are you practicing acceptance? Are you experiencing thankfulness, gratitude and appreciation for all that life offers in this moment, now?


Happiness is the side-effect of an acceptance of the present moment, without the preoccupation of wanting the moment to be more ideal, or expecting it to be different in some way.

Solitude presents the opportunity to learn how to adapt and relate to each present moment, in order to produce complete acceptance and complete happiness.


#9 - Self-Fulfillment
by Aletheia Luna
July 2013

Life may have no meaning.

Or even worse,

it may have a meaning

of which I disapprove.

Ashleigh Brilliant

It took me a while to figure out that the future held no self-fulfillment for me. It was hard to come to that conclusion while I was immersed in the noisy banter of beliefs and ideas that my friends, family, and religion clung to.


Perhaps you've experienced this as well?


Perhaps you've noticed that everyone seems to think that true self-fulfillment lies in some idealistic future, where everything is as perfect and spotless as God's lavatory.

"Don't worry honey, you'll be able to relax once you finish university",


"Everything will be fine once you get a pay rise and manage to sell all your paintings and then fly to Las Vegas for the premier, in 5 star luxury",


"You'll be happy once you get her to love you",


"It will all be alright once you manage to earn brownie points, save a few souls, and make it to heaven unscathed"...

In essence, the people around us and the people we even trust the most, live an illusion and spread the lie that satisfaction, achievement and happiness is waiting in some place beyond the horizon.


While striving for the future brings our lives meaning, it's a sickly kind of meaning ridden with anxiety, tension and dissatisfaction. If you're a perfectionist, the pursuit of self-fulfillment is probably making your life hell at the moment, like it did with mine.

So, why can't we find self-fulfillment right now? We'll get to that soon.


But first …




Everyone's a Peeping Tom

You can think of it this way:

in the scheme of things everyone's basically a 'peeping Tom'...

The people around us have a knack, and sometimes immense interest looking in on our lives, and then telling us how they think we should run them.


This is especially the case if you're surrounded by rigid people who believe there's a "right way" to do everything, including how to attain self-fulfillment.

How many times have you listened to and watched the people around you say through their words and deeds that to be self-fulfilled you must have everything bigger and better than everyone else around you?


People bored and unhappy with their lives tend to have the amusing habit of telling other people what they should do with their lives. This is why the ability to find privacy away from life's busybodies is essential.

How can we think independently to discover who we are and what we want when we're constantly bombarded with other people's mental and verbal diarrhea?


Personally, I moved away from my parents and left their religion to stop the noisy interference to find my own path.

If you're deeply dissatisfied with your life, as I was, perhaps you need to find some Solitude?


Only in Solitude can we find the time to cultivate the awareness and introspection we need to discover what will make us happy and what will bring us self-fulfillment.




What a Crazy Man Said

He who has a why to live,

can deal with almost any how.

 Friedrich Nietzsche

Nietzsche… many people hated him and if you're religious, you may be highly biased against him as well.


But if you try to look past that and read the statement above, you'll see that his words carry some truth. Without meaning, without a "why" our lives are virtually useless and purposeless.

If you look at the main cause of depression and suicide in society, the overriding cause is a feeling of emptiness and meaninglessness. What's the point of living if there's no point anymore?


This is why the self-fulfillment that comes in Solitude is so important.

Solitude allows us to truly discover what will fulfill us, and self-fulfillment provides us with the meaning to continue living our lives with happiness.


Take the story of Viktor Frankl, a Nazi concentration camp survivor and psychotherapist. Although he lived in abysmal circumstances where he was treated little better than a dog day after day, he never lost hope.

His fulfillment came in delighting in the small morsels of beauty there were, rewriting scraps of a manuscript that had perished, and living the whole ordeal as a learning experience, to tell his students in the future.


Unsurprisingly, he called his book "Man's Search For Meaning".





We need to stop asking

about the meaning of life,

and instead to think of ourselves

as those who

were being questioned by life

daily and hourly.

Viktor Frankl

Self-fulfillment and meaning are inextricably linked.


As we have seen, to be fulfilled we need some kind of meaning.


Whether that be personal, interpersonal, or religious is up to you. But as Sol said in his previous article on Happiness, true happiness is eternally reborn. True happiness is adapting to each present moment in complete acceptance, without any expectations or ideals.

Happiness comes with momentary appreciation and acceptance, but also comes from meaning as well.


If happiness can be constantly regenerated each moment, so can self-fulfillment. People seem to think that life should be about one all-or-nothing purpose that brings happiness.


But why can't we feel a sense of achievement, satisfaction and happiness every day?

Just a few minutes ago I felt great satisfaction and accomplishment savoring and eating a whole banana. I'm currently feeling self-fulfilled writing this article and typing every word. In a few hours time, I will feel fulfilled reading the book I've chosen to learn from.


You see, we can make a million little meanings every day.

Why does self-fulfillment have to involve "one big grandiose plan"?


As Viktor Frankl said,

"the meaning of life differs from man to man and from moment to moment".

By making many different meanings every day, we will constantly feel fulfilled.

And finally, by exploring ourselves in Solitude, we will know where to look and start in the first place.