The great omission in American life is solitude; not loneliness, for this is an alienation that thrives most in the midst of crowds, but that zone of time and space, free from the outside pressures, which is the incubator of the spirit. ~ Marya Mannes, US author

Scott McIntyre wrote a nice little piece for Goodlife Zen articulating the difference between solitude and loneliness. He makes a statement I personally have thought about often, and believe to be true for many today: we are hesitant to seek out solitude because we are afraid of loneliness. “Aloneness” often brings to mind a lack of belonging.

“Solitude is refreshing, a time of being on your own where you voluntarily retreat from the company of other people.”

By engaging in this time of instant connections, are we loosing the capacity to get in contact with our inner selves?

How does solitude fit into manifesting our own potentiality? If we loose the thread of seeking out solitude as a means of growth and healing, what replaces it?