During these times where communities all around the world are struggling with corona-virus infections, social distancing is one of the measures that we decided to implement. That means more time alone for many people. How can we best deal with this situation? Can true spirituality give us a clue whether there are benefits to time alone and the introspection that it facilitates?
I believe there is value in time spent alone with oneself without distraction. And even though we might have social distancing rules today, doesn't mean we avoid distraction or communication through online media. In fact, I argue that if we want to gain some spiritual advantage from social isolation, we have to turn off all distractions as well and really spent time with ourselves.
Those of us who are interested in true spirituality are on the search for the self. If you know your true self, you know the world. Discovering your true being at it's core is the goal of spiritual practice. If you do not want to suffer emotionally from social isolation, dig deeper, do not run away from yourself, and instead use the opportunity to contemplate the self.
Ask yourself what you are and separate belief from reality. Every one of us starts out in a confused state regarding this matter. For a lifetime we believed we are a person. That we are a human with a personality. But this person is merely the role we act out, for ourselves and especially for others. With social isolation, one guard of the false self, the mask, can drop away. We can let go of the roles we play. And go one level deeper.
Here we can, maybe for the first time, acknowledge that we do not actually know who or what we are. That we believe, very strongly, that we are human, but that this believe is not truth. For truth, we know directly, without a doubt. You look inward and rest with the question, over and over again, "what am I?" Thoughts, feeling, concepts, world-views… we see all of that pass by in the mental space. Are we one of those things? Are we an explanation? A thought, a concept, a feeling…?
Observe, acknowledge, let go. Just be with the question and maybe the answer will reveal itself in unexpected ways. And social isolation brought you here. There is no one to isolate from. There is no one being isolated. There is only being. All is experiencing, judging, conceptual grasping. If you believe the thought of social isolation, you are isolated. As you are doing it, you can also stop. It's your choice. I say, go with the truth.