Stillness, Solitude, and Self-Reflection: Why Spending Time Alone is Essential For Spiritual Growth

Georgia Pettit
February 20, 2024
field of grass with mountains

The world is filled with noise, distractions, and endless demands on our time and energy. If we are to grow spiritually amid this constant flurry, it’s increasingly important to carve out time for genuine, intentional self-reflection to make sure we aren’t getting lost in our habits and busy routines.

But even if we’re aware of this, actually committing to a self-reflection practice is another story. As we adapt and adjust to the accelerated pace of our lives, we subconsciously become averse to silence and solitude, the very things that make healthy self-reflection possible. Have you ever tried to meditate after or during a particularly busy day, only to feel like both your body and mind were refusing to sit still? This discomfort with stillness is a major obstacle on the spiritual path, one that must be overcome if we are to continue our progress.

Let’s take some time to look at the importance of self-reflection, and how we can learn to overcome our resistance to the calm conditions necessary to practice it.

Self-Reflection and Your Connection to the Higher Self

Let’s get some basic definitions down first.

Your Higher Self is the wise being within you. It is an accumulation of your most positive characteristics, a representation of your inner wisdom and potential. Working with your Higher Self through various means (like self-reflection) can help you live a fulfilling life of exponential personal growth and help you become the best possible version of yourself.

Now, when we say “self-reflection,” what we’re referring to is a process of introspection where we examine our thoughts, feelings, and actions in a non-judgmental way. Over time, with continued self-reflection, we are able to get a clear view of the habitable behaviors that govern our lives. These insights, when viewed with empathy and curiosity, are the starting place for personal progress.

It’s during these quiet moments of self-reflection that we can truly connect with our Higher Selves and view our lives without judgment, completely unencumbered by the distractions of the external world.


Why Self-Reflection is Essential for Spiritual Growth

Ever zoned out while driving only to realize you passed your exit 20 minutes ago? This is what we’re doing with our lives when we do not make time for stillness and self-reflection.

Our personal and spiritual journeys are not straight paths. The roads have many twists and turns, and a path that worked for someone else may not work for us. If we put our minds on autopilot and keep moving forward without continually checking in with our progress, we risk losing valuable time moving in the completely wrong direction.

At its core, self-reflection is the art of turning our attention inward, where we honestly examine our experiences, actions, and reactions with a curious and non-judgmental mindset. Through introspection, we gain valuable insights into our strengths, weaknesses, and patterns of behavior, facilitating continuous improvement and fostering emotional intelligence. Ultimately, self-reflection serves as a vital tool on the path to self-discovery, empowering us to make more informed choices, build healthier relationships, and cultivate a fulfilling and purpose-driven life.

Why We Need Solitude and Stillness for Self Reflection

When we finally give our bodies and brains permission to stop, we create space for underlying thoughts and emotions that we may have been subconsciously pushing aside. This quiet act of “clearing” allows us to experience an enhanced sense of self-awareness, leading us to insights and revelations that often lead to personal growth and development.

When our inner feelings have permission to be heard and seen, relaxation and peace can arise, as our inner self can finally take the stage, revealing wisdom and revelations that were previously too blocked with noise to surface. It is in this peace and silence that we can find ourselves closer to our Higher Selves than ever before, and that we can access its wisdom with ease and grace when previously there was uncertainty and confusion.

Do I always need to be alone to connect to my Higher Self?

While solitude can certainly facilitate a deeper connection with your Higher Self, it’s not an absolute requirement, and we can connect to our Higher Selves throughout even our busiest days. Still, the peace and clarity fostered by solitude and stillness are the most ideal backdrop for self-reflection and dialogue with our Higher Selves.

Why We Resist Solitude and Stillness

Most of us understand the value of stillness and solitude on some level, but actually incorporating them into our daily routines is another story. For many of us, being locked in a room with nothing to keep us busy might feel like a kind of subtle torture, one that we constantly seek to avoid through constant stimulation and engagement. But why is this the case?

Many of use are conditioned from an early age to keep ourselves busy, and that if we aren’t always in motion we aren’t being productive. This can make it challenging to set aside time for solitude and introspection. The guilt associated with stepping away and pressing pause, even for a short while, can be overwhelming, resulting in a persistent internal resistance towards seeking tranquility and peace within ourselves.

Moreover, our mental circuits have been wired to be in a perpetual state of doing rather than being, making it difficult to detach from the clamor of our routines. This unending drive towards productivity turns our minds into a whirlwind of thoughts, tasks, and responsibilities, leaving hardly any room for aimless exploration, creativity, and self-reflection.


How do I cultivate time and space for self-reflection?

To cultivate time for self-reflection, you need to make it a priority. It could be as simple as setting aside ten minutes each day for quiet reflection or practicing mindfulness throughout the day. The key is consistency.

Creating a designated space for reflection can also be helpful. This could be a quiet corner in your home where you won’t be disturbed, filled with items that promote a sense of peace and tranquility. Above all, the environment you cultivate must be one that brings you peace and joy. Here are some tips:

Keep your space clean and uncluttered.

Surround yourself with items that bring you joy and positivity.

Use calming scents like lavender or sage.

Include elements of nature like plants or natural light.

Create a designated area for relaxation and reflection.

Remember, the goal is to create an environment that feels like a sanctuary, a place where you can relax and feel safe to be your true self.


This exercise will help you examine your attitudes towards stillness and solitude, and why you might have an aversion to it.

Ask yourself the following questions:

1. When I am alone, how do I feel? Am I comfortable?

2. If the answer is no, ask why.

3. When I am alone, do I impulsively do things to change this? For example, do I reach for my phone to call or text someone?

4. If the answer is yes, ask, why do I need to do this?  Am I not socializing enough, or do I simply fear being alone?

5. How can I become more balanced in time spent socializing and time spent alone?

Final Thoughts

Making time for stillness and solitude is a vital step on the path towards spiritual growth and the cultivation of a deeper connection with your Higher Self. This is no easy task, but by setting this as a priority and creating a sacred space for introspection, we can start to strike a balance between the incessant noise of our busy lives and a place of internal peace and wisdom.

Remember, stillness isn’t about stagnation, it’s about growth.

Georgia Pettit
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