A person can live an, apparently, solitary lifestyle but the mind is full of interaction and busy noise. That is not solitude. It is a crowd. On the other hand, one can live the appearance of a normal life but, unbeknown to onlookers, be transgressing through a self-imposed solitary confinement.
In my own case, my most intensive period of isolation was during my late twenties. However, this was totally unknown to anyone at the time. How was this possible, particularly given that I had two young children and was married?
My young family had moved countries from Australia to England. My Australian relatives and friends would have assumed I was living a normal life in England but they just didn’t happen to hear much about it. This was a good arrangement because, certainly, one doesn’t want to worry people unnecessarily. I deliberately kept to myself during my three years in England because I was involved in this inner work. My husband worked long hours in a demanding CEO position and spent many weeks travelling abroad and was not aware of what I was doing.
My days were spent in the company of two very little children. As we communicated quite naturally in a telepathic manner, as many mothers do with their little children, there was little need for speech. It was silence, indeed. The solitary period extended more than the three years in England. It had started some time before then and continued for a year after our return to Australia.
Then, all of a sudden, life took one of those unexpected and totally transforming turns and the children and I happily threw ourselves into the busy life of a lively community. I was back in the bustling marketplace, after returning from the hermitage caves. By now, however, the solitude had taken up permanent residence within my being.