the first thing we’re taught to love is company. maybe we’ve been raised in a big family of six or four, or a smaller family of two. we had a form of company that sustained our livelihood. we went on to make friends, who we begun to include as part of an extended family. whenever we didn’t enjoy the company of others, it was either reclusive, anti-social or considered unacceptable. the majority of our lives, in and through socialisation, lies in a sense of community. its what made you feel good. the idea of self, knowledge, love, care, respect is brought to us by this good, comforting feeling of community. as far back as i know, loneliness was my greatest fear. it didn’t always matter if the company would have a hint of dysfunction, be it chaos, neglect or abuse, being raised in a family of seven made me believe life would be easier to cope with, if someone would always be around. but what fear does is make you ache for something in an unhealthy and slightly possessive manner. this fear of loneliness can become a source of suffering. to avoid a negative state of discontent, we choose to remain in dysfunction despite the grief it may cause. my own fear of loneliness made me ache for company that it became a source of dependency.
when i first began to chase what i wanted out of life, the longing for company was louder than ever. i didn’t want to do it alone. how comical is it of us to seek our purpose with the hope that it might keep us close to comfort? it can only be an amazing journey if it keeps us within reach of love and support. as if another may share our purpose. before i had this conversation with myself i had a million and then some in my friendships. if i had to move, would they move with me? if my parents were enraged, would they over load me with comfort and love? i’ve read poetry about bridges. from that i know how much it costs to burn one. i know there will be dreams that lead to roads we need to travel alone. they’ll involve choices only we can make. we never need to tailor make them to fit our lives, or vice versa. so many times i’ve wished i could move a situation along knowing that by the end of it i can be thankful it’s over. we want to receive without extending any effort. just passively receive a blessing, a dream or an answer. but fulfillment isn’t instant gratification. the awakening or feeling we’re searching for ultimately comes down to the quality of our contribution. .
much of the literature about fulfillment highlights the benefit of solitude. i haven’t read Eat Pray Love or watched the film, but i know its about a young woman who in the midst of unhappiness travels the world, alone, in search of everything. The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, one i have read, is the same. it details the experience of a lawyer who, also displeased with his circumstances, travels, alone, to the Himalayas in search of a spiritual awakening. my favorite chapter in Manuscript Found In Accra deals with solitude. Paulo Coelho stresses that “solitude is not the absence of company, but the moment when our soul is free to speak to us and help us decide what to do with our life.” in one of my favourite books all about love, bell hooks affirms that no sense of company or community will be able to put to rest our longing for wholeness. instead of running away from our loneliness, we have to turn it in to fruitful solitude. dysfunction exists when the world on our outside doesn’t match the inside. it causes a war between who we really are and who we pretend to be. in solitude we witness our personal awakening. this state of absence connects us to our creative source. we know when to shift energy. dreams begin to present themselves. we no longer seek the company of others to escape the fear of being alone because in solitude we find sufficient company.