Life and Times Blog

Inner Solo #2

This is a follow-up to a much older post, the Inner Solo.

The fact that people seem to so eagerly find validation in talk of loneliness, that just aint right. It just aint right!

Two of my friends, Mash and Shafinaaz picked up on the solo aspect, and Tariq Ramadan, but my emphasis on the SOLIDARITY in the solo seems to have been skipped, so acknowledging the solo, but asserting that solidarity be found among solo’s:

“And we seek people who guide us to that peace.With whom we create a space for that peace. A combination between the rational commonality and the inner peace.”

Recently I tripped on some writings about the modern world, and how the move to the industrial age resulted in people feeling a sense of alienation from their work.(it’s really good, you can google it for plenty more).I’m not sure the exact difference between loneliness and alienation.I guess the loneliness leads to the alienation.

Some folks seem to feel a sense of loneliness more than others, a sense of watching the world from behind a window pane.Its got nothing to do with social ineptness, it’s just a specific type of outlook, or personality. Actually these people are sometimes more socially skilled, because they learn to be deliberate about it.

There are elements about the loneliness that are satisfying, because in being apart there is oddly, but not surprisingly, a pleasant sense of privacy.And an intimacy with oneself, but without good levels of connection to our close environment, that loneliness can really hamper a person.

More important than trying to connect to the world we live in, and the people we live among is creating a world around us where we don’t feel this sense of alienation/loneliness. So that we don’t need to tire ourselves out with trying to fit in, and give up those critical inches that chip away the blocks of who we are. So finding people with whom we connect, who get us and whom we get in return.Work to which we feel attached and personally involved in. Activities that fulfil us. Writers with whom we connect, movies, maybe music even.

Now, some say that we should expose ourselves to an opposite/complementary outlook on the world. Comrade Bilal made this point about the material we read, if we read things we agree with, deliberately, we are stifling our growth.I agree with that, that in some contexts that holds true. But socially, and with your work, from experience I disagree.

It is those who validate my outlooks that I am most comfortable with, which is an essential part of progress, Maslow’s kind of theory. It is work/causes that I most closely identify myself with, ito of personal values, and drive, motivation that I most excel in. It’s not all egoistic though, this validation. It’s more than that.

People who share your outlook, your perspective, are quicker able to relate to, not just quicker, rather, deeper. Because they understand where it comes from. This is different from understanding what you are doing, or aiming towards. Its understanding WHY. A common understanding leads to an automatic, natural deep empathy. This deep empathy, I believe, serves as a strong scaffolding that helps us climb higher, to develop further/higher. Because it gives freedom, space to explore and pursue this development, but also is able to aid in guiding it. Because it comes from the same place.
I like asking people questions, to learn who they are. Saying things is a teaching process, but asking questions is a learning process.

And if we are surrounded by people with whom we connect, than we can make better sense of who we are, (I got this from Kay.)
“Sometimes we can only reflect on ourselves by using the mirror of another person’s reflection” from MASH.

I’ve never been a fan of imposing what is right.I don’t think its sustainable. I much prefer knowing what is best, and trying to guide my inclinations in that direction WITHIN the context of those inclinations. So with work, OBVIOUSLY the BEST work is the most socially contributive, but I know for a damn fact that if I went to work for an NGO, I’d be more than useless, I would be COUNTER productive to their cause. Because it’s not my natural style, so I either try to find some avenue that does allow for that contribution, OR I find whatever drives me, of course assuming that it’s not something harmful to virtue.

Within doing what drives me, I make sure that the thrust is towards goodness. An organic sense of doing whats right, driven by the fundamental principles of the broad framework of good and evil. But organically tailored. So that I don’t feel alienated. Which will lead to a loneliness, which will lead to a simmering dissatisfaction, which will fester and grow, but maybe not burst, but the toxic seep will be harmful to my environment, and the environment will just have to respond, and then, well, there’ll be unhappiness all over.And NGO’s have a tough rep as is. But it’s not about NGO’s , it’s about choosing the path that is right, or best, within a context of organic inclination, rather than imposed wisdom.

I had a chat recently with a friend about this (as well as a Halqa lesson), who’s not willing to pursue an occupation that may be great, and beneficial, but that doesn’t allow him to realise his identity fully. For about 0.5 seconds I thought it was an idealistic, unrealistic decision, but then I realised how much of the personal self he would need to give up to pursue what may be “the best decision”.And whilst it may in the short run be good for him, in the long run he wouldn’t be him. And forcing himself to fit into that kind of career mould would likely be unsustainable. Or maybe he would be forced by circumstance to keep on keeping on, but the bits he would lose of himself, and how that would affect those around him, would be just too unreasonable a trade off.

This would result in a deep loneliness, an alienation. Good on you pal, I know you’re reading this.

Another friend recently advised that in the things closest to us, we should find comfort and sanctuary. Where we are pursuing growth or achievement with bravery, we need a base of comfort from which we can venture forth. Perhaps if this is not the case, all our energy is spent in surviving a balance, leaving no room to climb out, up.

It’s by no means a perfect world, and of course you’ll never find that exact match of work or company, but we should identify those elements most central to who we are, and not compromise on those bits as much as possible. But of course, where we have to accept, it is best that we do. But even then, try to create an exit plan if its possible. If its not, well then we just have to suck it up.

We shouldn’t be lonely folks, we should try and do whats right, but also try and do what’s best for us, not just whats right, in aiming for our personal best, guided by values and principles that are best, we may find the best version of ourself.And our environment might respond.Maybe.I think.Maybe.Maybe not.

And there’s a level of loneliness that will always linger, but let it be the 20%, not the 80%.

(also related to this is my Chat with Dude:


March 4, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

1 Comment »

  1. admittedly i prefer being alone, most of the time. i enjoy social interaction with family and few friends. but i can never imagine being intimate with someone in a sense where i can express how i feel with certain aspects of life or just my thoughts. i feel the solitude helps to nurture my thoughts and with the reflection towards goodness. sometimes i don’t want to be judged or my intentions to be influenced by others, thats why i steer clear from talking about the inner-most with anyone. sometimes there is a craving to have someone to talk to about certain things, someone who will just listen and let me talk. but i feel, that all this in me, all i feel, it belongs to me, and to my Lord.. sometimes i feel that it must be difficult not having islam, where you know Allah is aware of everything, there’s a sense of safety and peace. you dont ever feel alone or afraid. and you know your most deepest feelings are known to Him, there’s some peace in that…

    sorry im not being very clear.. and for my random outpour… thanks though…

    Comment by salma | March 25, 2013 | Reply

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