From My Commonplace Book - 14 - a little more about solitude

from Wild: An Elemental Journey

by Jay Griffiths

. . . Rasmussen relates a shaman, Igjugarjuk, telling him "True wisdom is only to be found far away from people, out in the great solitude, and it is not found in play but only through suffering. Solitude and suffering open the human mind. . . ."

Knud Rasmussen (1879-1933), of Danish and Inuit descent, was a polar explorer and anthropologist.

Jay Griffiths' book is about her travels through various wilderness areas. In large part this was for her a spiritual journey.


Quite agree Merry - Life a spiritual journey (despite all). Simpler lives (without the razz madazz see). Bit of "wilderness" suits me too - contemplate many years ago - the purpose.
Lovely volume on my shelves you might enjoy too - "Poetry of the Spirit" pub Watkins London. - All the greats there too. Joyous. Like you.
Hi, Enid.

Thanks so much for your comments and for the book recommendation. The book does sound like something I would like, and I have written down the info (otherwise I'm sure to forget). I will check the library. If it is not on in the catalog, I will place an interlibrary loan request.
And commonplace Merry - how can we not enjoy !. Have a strong feeling Skakespere is what Hindu Vedanta calls "realised".
Thank you for your kind words and enthusiasm, Enid.

I found this definition of commonplace books at Wikipedia:

' "Commonplace" is a translation of the Latin term locus communis (from Greek tpos koins, see literary topos) which means "a theme or argument of general application", such as a statement of proverbial wisdom. In this original sense, commonplace books were collections of such sayings, such as John Milton's commonplace book. Scholars have expanded this usage to include any manuscript that collects material along a common theme by an individual.

'Such books were essentially scrapbooks filled with items of every kind: medical recipes, quotes, letters, poems, tables of weights and measures, proverbs, prayers, legal formulas. Commonplaces were used by readers, writers, students, and humanists as an aid for remembering useful concepts or facts they had learned. Each commonplace book was unique to its creator's
particular interests.'
Solitude is my best friend. I do my best thinking in it's presence. I feel a certain sadness in it's absence.

Henry David Thoreau wrote a nice piece about Solitude which I printed off the internet one day.

It's in a pile of paper including many other interesting pieces - I can see I'll have to put them into a Commonplace book of my own.

Thanks for the idea (& your many extracts).
Thanks for your response, Vicki.

Emily Dickinson declares in one poem that she'd miss Loneliness if it was gone. I read that poem recently in the Solitude anthology, but the book has gone back to the library - and I can't find the poem online - so I can't quote it. It's possible that her declaration was ironic.

I hope no one thinks that I am extolling the virtues of solitude for ME/CFS/FM patients. That so many live day after day in isolation, and suffer terribly because of the isolation, is not good.
I agree with you on the solitude advice for ME/CFS/FM patients who are isolated. I am lucky to have some family, a good neighbour & interaction with people when I go out. I guess I am lucky in that. But a fair bit of solitude gives me the time to rest & recharge, I find that phone conversations are draining & tiring. I find more than about 3 hours of social interaction exhausting.

I am often alone but rarely lonely.

I'm like the wandering lone traveller through life. I wander here & there at my leisure & have short conversations & meet strangers along the journey of life, but am content in my solitary journey without a regular companion.

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