Being Alone, Quiet, Peaceful, Tranquil, Contemplation, Silence, Retreat

Quotations, Sayings, Aphorisms, Quips, Quotes, Wisdom, Poetry


Compiled by Michael P. Garofalo
Green Way Research, Red Bluff, California


Virtue Ethics     How to Live a Good Life     Hedonism     Epicureanism     Main Index   

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Gardening     Taijiquan     Qigong     Hatha Yoga     Walking    

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Cloud Hands Blog





"Rather, go away, Flee into concealment. And have your masks and subtlety, that you may be mistaken for what you are not, or feared a little. And don't forget the garden, the garden with golden trelliswork. And have people around you who are as a garden──or as music on the waters in the evening, when the day is turning into memories. Choose the good solitude, the free, playful, light solitude that gives you, too, the right to remain good in some sense."
- Frederick Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, #25, 1886


"I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order."
-  John Burroughs


"Decisive moment: the one when you will be really alone.  And it is perhaps this that makes her hesitate: not the void, but the vastness of the solitude.  It’s as well if you are frightened of solitude.  It’s a sign that you have come to the moment of your birth."
-  Hélène Cixous


"But there is greater comfort in the substance of silence than in the answer to a question."
-  Thomas Merton


"I can be by myself because I'm never lonely; I'm simply alone, living in my heavily populated solitude, a harum-scarum of infinity and eternity, and Infinity and Eternity seem to take a liking to the likes of me."
-  Bohumil Hrabal, Too Loud a Solitude


"It is sometimes said that each of us is ultimately alone. This idea is compelling not because of birth and death, but because so often our moments alone seem more true, more real.  I need solitude like I need food and rest, and like eating and resting, solitude is most healing when it fits the rhythm of my needs.  A rigidly scheduled aloneness does not nourish me. Solitude is perhaps a misnomer.  To me, being alone means togetherness - the re-coming-togetherness of myself and nature, of myself and being, the reuniting of myself with all other selves.  Solitude especially means putting the parts of my mind back together, unifying the pieces of my mind back together, unifying the pieces of myself scattered by anger and fear, until I can once again see that the little things are little and the big things are big."
-  Hugh Prather, Notes to Myself


"There is no such thing as an empty space or an empty time.  There is always something to see, something to hear.
In fact, try as we may to make a silence, we cannot."
-  John Cage


"Silence is more musical than any song."
-  Christina Rossetti


"I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself."
-  Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre 


"I had already found that it was not good to be alone, and so made companionship with what there was around me, sometimes with the universe and sometimes with my own insignificant self; but my books were always my friends, let fail all else."
-  Joshua Slocum, Sailing Alone around the World


"In wilderness people can find the silence and the solitude and the noncivilized surroundings that can connect them once again to their evolutionary heritage, and through an experience of the eternal mystery, can give them a sense of the sacredness of all creation."
-  Sigurd Olson (1899-1982)


"The inability to stay quiet is one of the conspicuous failings of mankind."
-  Walter Bagehot, 1870


"Solitude sometimes is best society."
-  John Milton, Paradise Lost


"With some people solitariness is an escape not from others but from themselves. For they see in the eyes of others only a reflection of themselves."
-  Eric Hoffer 


"There is something in the nature of silence which affects me deeply. Why it is I know not; but I do know that I love to be alone at such an hour as this. I love to forget the outward world and hold communion with the beings of the mind."
-  Charles Lanman, Musings


"Whosoever is delighted in solitude, is either a wild beast or a god."
-  Aristotle


"There is something very basic to the sense of listening. The sense of hearing is the only one that operates totally from vibrations, without other physical or chemical reactions to receive the sensations."
-  Henry Reed


"As the waves of perfume, heliotrope, rose, 
Float in the garden when no wind blows, 
Come to us, go from us, whence no one knows; 

So the old tunes float in my mind, 
And go from me leaving no trace behind, 
Like fragrance borne on the hush of the wind.
-  Sara Teasdale, 
Old Tunes


"Not everyone knows how to be alone with others, how to share solitude.  We have to help each other to understand how to be in our solitude, so that we can relate to each other without grabbing on to each other.  We can be interdependent but not dependent.  Loneliness is rejected despondency.  Solitude is shared interdependence."
-  David Spangler


"The reason that extended solitude seemed so hard to endure was not that we missed others but that we began to wonder if we ourselves were present, because for so long our existence depended upon assurances from them."
-  Doris Grumbach, Fifty Days of Solitude


"There are many matters and many circumstances in which consciousness is undesirable and silence is golden, so that secrecy can be used as a marker to tell us that we are approaching the holy."
-  Gregory Bateson, Angels Fear 


"If you're lonely when you're alone, you're in bad company.”"
-  Jean-Paul Sartre


"I have to be alone very often.  I'd be quite happy if I spent from Saturday night until Monday morning alone in my apartment.  That's how I refuel."
-  Audrey Hepburn


"I have often regretted my speech, never my silence."
-  Anonymous


"It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude."
-  Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance


"Now,, more than ever, we need our solitude.  Being alone gives us the power to regulate and adjust our lives.  It can teach us fortitude and the ability to satisfy our own needs.  A restorer of energy, the stillness of alone experiences provides us with much-needed rest.  It brings forth our longing to explore, our curiosity about the unknown, our will to be an individual, our hopes for freedom. Alone time is fuel for life."
-  Ester Buchholz


"Solitude, though it may be silent as light, is like light, the mightiest of agencies; for solitude is essential to man.  All men come into this world alone and leave it alone."
-  Thomas De Quincey 


"Nowhere can man find a quieter or more untroubled retreat than in his own soul."
-  Marcus Aurelius


"I got fascinated by silence; by what happens to the human spirit, to identity and personality when the talking stops, when you press the off button, when you venture out into that enormous emptiness."
-  Sara Maitland, How to Be Alone


"Not merely an absence of noise, Real Silence begins when a reasonable being withdraws from the noise in order to find peace and order in his inner sanctuary."
-  Peter Minard


"The mind is sharper and keener in seclusion and uninterrupted solitude. Originality thrives in seclusion free of outside influences beating upon us to cripple the creative mind. Be alone—that is the secret of invention: be alone, that is when ideas are born."
-  Nikola Tesla


"Living alone,' November whispered, 'is a skill, like running long distance or programming old computers. You have to know parameters, protocols. You have to learn them so well that they become like a language: to have music always so that the silence doesn't overwhelm you, to perform your work exquisitely well so that your time is filled. You have to allow yourself to open up until you are the exact size of the place you live, no more or else you get restless. No less, or else you drown. There are rules; there are ways of being and not being."
-  Catherynne M. Valente, Palimpsest


"Given enough time, you could convince yourself that loneliness was something better, that it was solitude, the ideal condition for reflection, even a kind of freedom.  Once you were thus convinced, you were foolish to open the door and let anyone in, not all the way in. You risked the hard-won equilibrium, that tranquility that you called peace." 
-  Dean Koontz, The Good Guy


"It is in your power to withdraw yourself whenever you desire. Perfect tranquility within consists in the good ordering of the mind, the realm of your own." 
-  Marcus Aurelius, Meditations


"People who need people are threatened by people who don’t.  The idea of seeking contentment alone is heretical, for society steadfastly decrees that our completeness lies in others."
- Lionel Fisher, Celebrating Time Alone: Stories of Splendid Solitude


"I wonder about the trees.
Why do we wish to bear
Forever the noise of these
More than another noise
So close to our dwelling place?"
-  Robert Frost, The Sound of Trees


"There is a wilderness we walk alone
However well-companioned."
-  Stephen Vincent Benét, Western Star


"Solitude gives birth to the original in us, to beauty unfamiliar and perilous - to poetry.  But also, it gives birth to the opposite: to the perverse, the illicit, the absurd."
-  Thomas Mann, Death in Venice  


"There's music in the sighing of a reed;
There's music in the gushing of a rill;
There's music in all things, if men had ears:
Their earth is but an echo of the spheres."
-  Lord Byron


"To have passed through life and never experienced solitude is to have never known oneself.  To have never known oneself is to have never known anyone." 
-  Joseph Krutch, The Desert Year


"Practically all creative people, and certainly most geniuses, have preferred to be alone for long periods, especially when producing their best work."
-  Raj Persaud  


"There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it."
-  Minnie Aumonier  


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"Passions are likened best to floods and streams: The shallow murmur, but the deep are dumb."
-  Sir Walter Raleigh, 1552 - 1618 


"The object of our lives is to look at, listen to, touch, taste things.  Without them, - these sticks, stones, feathers, shells, - there is no Deity."
R. H. Blyth, Zen in English Literature and Oriental Classics, p. 144.


"There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more." 
-  George Gordon Byron


"The more powerful and original a mind, the more it will incline towards the religion of solitude." 
-  Aldous Huxley


"And now I take my pleasure in my garden.  There is a gate but it is rarely opened.  I lean on my staff as I wander about or sit down to rest.  I raise my head and contemplate the lovely scene.  Clouds rise, unwillingly, from the bottom of the hills.  The weary bird seeks its nest again.  Shadows vanish, but still I linger around my lonely pine.  Home once more!  I’ll have no employment to distract me hence.  The times are out of joint for me; and what have I to seek from men?  In the pure enjoyment of the family circle I will pass my days cheering my idle hours with lute and book. 

Glad is this renewal of life in due season; but for me, I rejoice that my journey is over.  Ah!  How short a time it is that we are here!  Why then not set our hearts at rest, ceasing to trouble whether we remain or go?  What benefits it to wear out the soul with anxious thoughts?  I want not wealth.  I want not power.  Heaven is beyond my hopes.  Let me stroll through the bright hours as they pass, in my garden, among my flowers.  Or, I will mount the hill and sing my song; or weave my verse beside the limpid brook.  Thus will I work out my allotted span, content with the appointments of fate, my spirit free from care."
-  T'ao Yung-Ming, 450 BCE


"I find it wholesome to be alone the greater part of the time. To be in company, even with the best, is soon wearisome and dissipating. I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude."
-  Henry David Thoreau, Walden


"Organismic awareness is what we - on the Ego Level - ordinarily, but clumsily, refer to as seeing, touching, tasting, smelling and hearing.   But in its very purest form, this "sensual awareness" is non-symbolic, non-conceptual, momentary consciousness.  Organismic awareness is awareness of the Present only -  you can't taste the past, smell the past, see the past, touch the past, or hear the past.  Neither can you taste, smell, see, touch or hear the future.   In other words, organismic consciousness is properly timeless, and being timeless, it is essentially spaceless.  Just as organismic awareness knows no past or future, it knows no inside or outside, no self or other.  Thus pure organismic consciousness participates fully in the non-dual awareness called Absolute Subjectivity."
-  Ken Wilber, Spectrum of Consciousness, 1977, p. 115 


"Talent is nurtured in solitude … A creation of importance can only be produced when its author isolates himself, it is a child of solitude."
-  Johann Wolfgang Von Göethe


"Every kind of creative work demands solitude, and being alone, constructively alone, is a prerequisite for every phase of the creative process."
-  Barbara Powell


"As the cow and goat, as well as the herb, the tree and the vegetation, can read the thoughts of us all, chanting and singing should occur while tending to their needs."
-  Hindu Deva Shastra, verse 439,  Nature Devas 


"What a pity flowers can utter no sound!—A singing rose, a whispering violet, a murmuring honeysuckle ... oh, what a rare and exquisite miracle would these be!" 
-  Henry Ward Beecher


"I need to be alone. I need to ponder my shame and my despair in seclusion; I need the sunshine and the paving stones of the streets without companions, without conversation, face to face with myself, with only the music of my heart for company."
-  Henry Miller, Tropic of Cancer


"In order to understand the world, one has to turn away from it on occasion."
-  Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus   


"The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself."
-  Michel de Montaigne 


"Seek silence.
Gladden in silence.
Adore silence.

As one progresses on the path, one seeks silence more and more.
It will be a great comfort, a tremendous source of solace and peace.

Once you find deep solitude and calm, there will be a great gladness in your heart.
Here finally is the place where you need neither defense nor offense -- the place where you can truly be open.
There will be bliss, wonder, the awe of attaining something pure and sacred.

After that, you will feel adoration of silence.
This is the peace that seems to elude so many.
This is the beauty of Tao."
-  Deng Ming-Dao, 365 Tao Daily Meditations


"True silence is the rest of the mind; it is to the spirit what sleep is to the body, nourishment and refreshment."
-  William Penn


"By all means use sometimes to be alone. Salute thyself; see what thy soul doth wear."
-  George Herbert


"Only in quiet waters things mirror themselves undistorted. Only in a quiet mind is adequate perception of the world."
-  Hans Margolius, Aphorismen


"What a lovely surprise to finally discover how unlonely being alone can be."
-  Ellen Burstyn


"Conversation enriches the understanding, but solitude is the school of genius."
-  Edward Gibbon


"Solitude is the great teacher, and to learn its lessons you must pay attention to it."
-  Deepak Chopra


"I never found a companion that was so companionable as solitude."
-  Henry David Thoreau


"Flowers and plants are silent presences.  They nourish every sense except the ear."  
-  May Sarton


"I would rather sit on a pumpkin, and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion."
-  Henry David Thoreau


"A man can be himself only so long as he is alone; and if he does not love solitude, he will not love freedom; for it is only when he is alone that he is really free."
-  Arthur Schopenhauer  


"I live in that solitude which is painful in youth, but delicious in the years of maturity."
-  Albert Einstein


"Solitude is a silent storm that breaks down all our dead branches; yet it sends our living roots deeper into the living heart of the living earth."
-  Kahlil Gibran


"I have come to terms with the future.  From this day onward I will walk easy on the earth.  Plant trees.  Kill no living things.  Live in harmony with all creatures.  I will restore the earth where I am.  Use no more of its resources than I need.  And listen, listen to what it is telling me." 
-  M. J. Slim Hooey


"A happy life must be to a great extent a quiet life, for it is only in an atmosphere of quiet that true joy can live."
-  Bertrand Russell


"It is only when we silent the blaring sounds of our daily existence that we can finally hear the whispers of truth that life reveals to us, as it stands knocking on the doorsteps of our hearts."
-  K.T. Jong


"Never be afraid to sit awhile and think."
-  Lorraine Hansberry, A Raisin in the Sun


"Without great solitude no serious work is possible."
-  Pablo Picasso


"I am never less alone than when alone."
-  Cicero  


"One can be instructed in society, one is inspired only in solitude."
-  Gary Mark Gilmore


"I love to seclude myself in my garden, away from the hustle and bustle of daily living.  It gives me a chance to focus on my surroundings.  Soon, all I notice is that beautiful "Betty Prior" rose just opening or those pines whispering stories to each other.  And the clatter and roar of modern life fades into the background."
-  Jim Childs, Sounds in the Garden, Garden Gate, No. 28, August 1999, pp. 14-17.  In this article he discusses how to deal with sound waves in landscape design by absorption, deflection, reflection, and refraction. 


seeks the center
of every tree and rock,
that thing we hold closest—the end
of songs."
-  Michael McClintock, Mutations,
Cinquain from Amaze 


"I was a man who thrived on solitude; without it I was like another man without food or water. Each day without solitude weakened me. I took no pride in my solitude; but I was dependent on it. The darkness of the room was like sunlight to me."
-  Charles Bukowski, Factotum


"We live, in fact, in a world starved for solitude, silence, and private: and therefore starved for meditation and true friendship."
-  C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory


"How much better is silence; the coffee cup, the table. How much better to sit by myself like the solitary sea-bird that opens its wings on the stake. Let me sit here for ever with bare things, this coffee cup, this knife, this fork, things in themselves, myself being myself."
-  Virginia Woolf, The Waves


"Nor rural sights alone, but rural sounds,
Exhilirate the spirit, and restore
The tone of languid nature."
-  William Cowper


"When they turned off, it was still early in the pink and green fields.  The fumes of morning, sweet and bitter, sprang up where they walked.  The insects ticked softly, their strength in reserve; butterflies chopped the air, going to the east, and the birds flew carelessly and sang by fits and starts, not the way they did in the evening in sustained and drowsy songs."
-  Eudora Welty, The Wide Net  


"Only in quiet waters do things mirror themselves undistorted.
Only in a quiet mind is adequate perception of the world."
-  Hans Margolius


"There is a privacy about it which no other season gives you.... In spring, summer and fall people sort of have an open season on each other; only in the winter, in the country, can you have longer, quiet stretches when you can savor belonging to yourself."
-  Ruth Stout


"Solitude is a form of meditation."
-  Terri Guillemets


"I owe my solitude to other people."
-  Alan Watts  


"It travels inside and out of each of Nature's ears
Chattering noisily
Unwilling to permit you not to listen
Yet paying no heed to your ability to understand."
-  Chang Shiang-hua



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"I do not know which to prefer -
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendoes,
The blackbird whistling
Or just after."
-  Wallace Stevens, Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird, 1923


"Silence is not a thing we make; it is something into which we enter.  It is always there.  All we can make is noise."
-  Mother Maribel of Wantage


"I hold this to be the highest task of a bond between two people: that each should stand guard over the solitude of the other."
-  Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet


"I think that I cannot preserve my health and spirits, unless I spend four hours a day at least — and it is commonly more than that — sauntering through the woods and over the hills and fields, absolutely free from all worldly engagements."
-  Henry David Thoreau


"We live in a very tense society. We are pulled apart... and we all need to learn how to pull ourselves together.... I think that at least part of the answer lies in solitude."
-  Helen Hayes


"Solitude shows us what should be; society shows us what we are."
-  Robert Cecil


"Inside myself is a place where I live all alone, and that’s where I renew my springs that never dry up."
-  Pearl Buck


"Solitude is independence. It had been my wish and with the years I had attained it. It was cold. Oh, cold enough! But it was also still, wonderfully still and vast like the cold stillness of space in which the stars revolve."
-  Hermann Hesse, Steppenwolf


"St. John of the Cross points out that the divine music can best be heard in solitude and silence.  The sonorous music is not a physical sound that vibrates the eardrum but something transcending the senses.  Physical solitude and silence remove the distracting noises that prevent us from hearing on deeper levels."
-  Charles Cummings


"Don't underestimate the value of Doing Nothing,
of just going along, listening to all the things you can't hear,

and not bothering."
-  Pooh's Little Instruction Book, inspired by A. A. Milne


"What a commentary on civilization, when being alone is being suspect; when one has to apologize for it, make excuses, hide the fact that one practices it — like a secret vice."
-  Anne Morrow Lindbergh


"Finding solitude in the concrete jungle is powerful and peaceful."
-  Mike Dolan 


"A large, still book is a piece of quietness, succulent and nourishing in a noisy world, which I approach and imbibe with "a sort of greedy enjoyment," as Marcel Proust said of those rooms of his old home whose air was "saturated with the bouquet of silence."
-  Holbrook Jackson


"Listening to the eternal involves a silence within us."
-  Thomas Kelly, Reality and the Spiritual World


"Loneliness can be conquered only by those who can bear solitude."
-  Paul Tillich


"Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where Nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul alike."
-  John Muir, The Yosemite 


"It seemed to be a necessary ritual that he should prepare himself for sleep by meditating under the solemnity of the night sky... a mysterious transaction between the infinity of the soul and the infinity of the universe."
-  Victor Hugo  


"Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. The friends who listed to us are the ones we move toward, and we want to sit in their radius.  When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand."
-  Karl Menninger


"The hum of bees is the voice of the garden."   
-  Elizabeth Lawrence


"Silence is our deepest nature, our home, our common ground, our peace.  Silence reveals.  Silence heals."
-  Gunilla Norris


"Loneliness is the poverty of self; solitude is richness of self."
-  May Sarton


"Solitude has soft, silky hands, but with strong fingers it grasps the heart and makes it ache with sorrow."
-  Kahlil Gibran, The Broken Wings


"Reading is that fruitful miracle of a communication in the midst of solitude."
-  Marcel Proust


"Rocks pray to," said Grandad.  "Pebbles and boulders and old weathered hills.  They are still and silent, and
those are two important ways to pray."
-  Douglas Wood, Grandad's Prayers of the Earth. 


"No man should go through life without once experiencing healthy, even bored solitude in the wilderness, finding himself depending solely on himself and thereby learning his true and hidden strength."
-  Jack Kerouac 


"We visit others as a matter of social obligation. How long has it been since we have visited with ourselves?"
-  Morris Adler


"There are days when you seek the company of your solitude, and your solitude just wants to be left alone."
-  Robert Brault 


"Maybe if I listen closely to the rocks
Next time, I'll hear something, if not
A word, perhaps the faint beginning
of a syllable."
-  Phoebe Hanson


"There is in all things an inexhaustible sweetness and purity, a silence that is a fount of action and joy.  It rises up in wordless gentleness and flows out to me from the unseen roots of all created being, welcoming me tenderly, saluting me with indescribable humility."
-  Thomas Merton


"Reading well is one of the great pleasures that solitude can afford you."
-  Harold Bloom


"To be left alone is the most precious thing one can ask of the modern world."
-  Anthony Burgess, Homage To Qwert Yuiop


"Man loves company even if it is only that of a small burning candle."
-  Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

"Our language has wisely sensed the two sides of being alone. It has created the word "loneliness" to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word "solitude" to express the glory of being alone."
-  Paul Tillich, The Eternal Now

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived."
-  Henry David Thoreau, Walden


"There are days when solitude is a heady wine that intoxicates you with freedom, others when it is a bitter tonic, and still others when it is a poison that makes you beat your head against the wall."
-  Colette, Oeuvres


"The bare earth, plantless, waterless, is an immense puzzle. In the forests or beside rivers everything speaks to humans. The desert does not speak.  I could not comprehend its tongue; its silence...."
-  Pablo Neruda 


"The happiest of all lives is a busy solitude."
-  Voltaire 


"True silence is the rest of the mind, and is to the spirit what sleep is to the body, nourishment and refreshment."
-  William Penn 


"True solitude is a din of birdsong, seething leaves, whirling colors, or a clamor of tracks in the snow."
-  Edward Hoagland   


"They spoke no word,
The visitor, the host
And the white chrysanthemum."

-  Ryota


"Accustomed to the veneer of noise, to the shibboleths of promotion, public relations, and market research, society is suspicious of those who value silence."
-  John Lahr




Months and Seasons
Quotes, Poems, Sayings, Verses, Lore, Myths, Holidays
Celebrations, Folklore, Reading, Links, Quotations
Information, Weather, Gardening Chores
Compiled by Mike Garofalo
Winter Spring Summer Fall
January April July October
February May August November
March June September December 



The Five Senses       Cloud Hands Blog       The Good Life: Virtues




"I’m not anti-social. I’m pro-solitude."

"The reason old souls enjoy spending time alone is because they never really are."


"I have a great deal of company in the house, especially in the morning when nobody calls."
-  Henry David Thoreau 


"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


"In solitude, where we are least alone."
-  Lord Byron, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage


"Solitude coaxes magical things from our souls."
-  Terri Guillemets  


"But your solitude will be a support and a home for you, even in the midst of very unfamiliar circumstances, and from it you will find all your paths."
-  Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet


"Solitude was my only consolation - deep, dark, deathlike solitude."
-  Mary Shelley


"In spite of language, in spite of intelligence and intuition and sympathy, one can never really communicate anything to anybody. The essential substance of every thought and feeling remains incommunicable, locked up in the impenetrable strong-room of the individual soul and body. Our life is a sentence of perpetual solitary confinement."
-  Aldous Huxley


"When we cannot bear to be alone, it means we do not properly value the only companion we will have from birth to death — ourselves."
-  Eda LeShan 


"No matter how reclusive we tend to be, we picture the after-life as a community of souls. It is one thing to seek privacy in this life; it is another to face eternity alone."
-  Robert Brault


"When the superficial wearies me, it wearies me so much that I need an abyss in order to rest."
-  Antonio Porchia, Voces


"In a soulmate we find not company but a completed solitude."
-  Robert Brault


"I want to be able to be alone, to find it nourishing - not just a waiting."
-  Susan Sontag, Reborn


"O Solitude! if I must with thee dwell, 
Let it not be among the jumbled heap 
Of murky buildings; climb with me the steep,— 
Nature’s observatory—whence the dell, 
Its flowery slopes, its river’s crystal swell, 
May seem a span; let me thy vigils keep 
’Mongst boughs pavillion’d, where the deer’s swift leap 
Startles the wild bee from the fox-glove bell. 
But though I’ll gladly trace these scenes with thee, 
Yet the sweet converse of an innocent mind, 
Whose words are images of thoughts refin’d, 
Is my soul’s pleasure; and it sure must be 
Almost the highest bliss of human-kind, 
When to thy haunts two kindred spirits flee."
-  John Keats, To Solitude


"There is no doubt that solitude is a challenge and to maintain balance within it a precarious business. But I must not forget that, for me, being with people or even with one beloved person for any length of time without solitude is even worse. I lose my center. I feel dispersed, scattered, in pieces. I must have time alone in which to mull over my encounter, and to extract its juice, its essence, to understand what has really happened to me as a consequence of it."
-  May Sarton, Journal of a Solitude


"A solitary, unused to speaking of what he sees and feels, has mental experiences which are at once more intense and less articulate than those of a gregarious man. They are sluggish, yet more wayward, and never without a melancholy tinge. Sights and impressions which others brush aside with a glance, a light comment, a smile, occupy him more than their due; they sink silently in, they take on meaning, they become experience, emotion, adventure. Solitude gives birth to the original in us, to beauty unfamiliar and perilous - to poetry. But also, it gives birth to the opposite: to the perverse, the illicit, the absurd."
-  Thomas Mann, Death in Venice




Recommended Reading:


The Art of Happiness.  By Epicurus.  Translation and commentary by George K. Strodach.  Penguin Classics, 2012.  272 pages. 

The Conquest of Happiness   By Bertrand Russell.  Introduction by Daniel Dennett.  Liveright, 1930, 2013.  224 pages.

Epicurean and Hedonistic Philosophy: Bibliography, Resources, Quotations, Information 

Epicureanism: A Very Short Introduction   By Catherine Wilson.  Oxford University Press, 2016.  144 pages. 

The Five Senses and Pleasure

Happiness: A Philosopher's Guide.  By Frederic Lenoir.  Melville House, 2015.  208 pages.

The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom.  By Jonathan Haidt.  Basic Books, 2006.  320 pages.

Happiness: A History  By Darrin M. McMahon.  Grove Press, 2006.  526 pages. 

Hedonism:  Bibliography, Links, Quotations, Resources, Notes by Mike Garofalo 

The How of Happiness: A New Approach to Getting the Life You Want  By Sonja Lyubomirsky.  Penguin Books, 2008.  384 pages. 

How to Live a Good Life: Advice from Wise Persons 

Life's Little Instruction Book  By H. Jackson Brown, Jr.  Thomas Nelson, Revised edition, 2000.  160 pages. 

Nicomachean Ethics   By Aristotle.  Translated by Christopher Rowe.  Commentary and notes by Sarah Broadie.  Oxford University Press, 2002.  480 pages.

On Desire: Why We Want What We Want  By William B. Irvine.  Oxford University Press, 2006.  322 pages. 

Pleasures, Desires and Enjoyment:  Quotations, Poems, Sayings

Somaesthetics:  Body-Mind Practices and Theories 

Time and the Art of Living  By Robert Grudin.  Mariner Books, 1997.  Index, 250 pages.  ISBN: 978039689814.  VSCL. 

Epicureanism:  Bibliography, Links, Quotations, Resources, Notes by Mike Garofalo 

Virtues and a Good Life


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