One of the most perplexing of complexities is the concept of aloneness. We all live with the idea that man is a social animal. It is taught to us as we develop and it is drilled into us throughout our education, and well beyond. It is a perfectly good theory, if we do not think about it too long, and certainly not too deeply. When mankind sets its sights on a goal, it can probably be achieved. We have created some extraordinary things, some wondrous things. The sky is the limit when we can get individuals together, working towards a common goal, optimistic and excited, dedicated and resolute. We have created great cities, although that may well be debatable as to greatness. But it is undeniable that we have created towering skyscrapers. We have developed intricate road systems, and the cars to drive upon them. We have taken to the clouds, flying around in huge chunks of metal (The Antonov Mriya An-225 is the heaviest plane ever to fly, weighing close to 1.3 million pounds when fully loaded), without a second thought that this should not even be possible. And yet it is. We have taken to the stars, and walked upon another planet. Magical indeed. Great Dams generate our power from our relentless rivers. Hell, we can change the course of those rivers, if we so choose. We can move mountains! But does that mean we are social animals? I am not so sure that it does. It is undeniable that working together we build amazing things. But where and how did those things begin? Where do they come from? They came from an idea. An idea formed and developed in a mind. And those thoughts that gave form to the idea? They came from a place called ‘ ALONE ‘.

Alone is a scary place. And to some degree it should be. Scary is exciting. It is exhilarating. It gets the heart beating, and the blood flowing. Fear gets you to think, to create, to react and to resolve. It is a good thing, or at least it can be, and it should be. Unfortunately, life is there, just waiting, to slip you a mickey when you least expect it, and whether you deserve it or not, even if there is such a thing as ‘deserve’. Everything in life is a coin with two sides to it, maybe more. The good and the bad. The Yin, and the Yang. So too, is ‘ Alone ‘. While it can be a place of discovery and revelation, it can as well be a place of terror, and anxiety, and despair. Where your thoughts and feelings can become unbearable, making even the simplest of tasks or thoughts a formidable decision, indeed. These things reside within all of us, each and every one. Some can deal with it, use it to their advantage, and develop a comprehensive outlook on life. A philosophy that does them well as they travel along their unique paths through this thing we have come to know as life. Others, well, not so much. They struggle continuously with the challenges placed on the path, and occasionally loose the fight for control and understanding, sometimes losing sanity along the way. Sometimes losing life itself.

Alone. There are so many flavors of alone that it is difficult to know where to begin. We are virtually alone every second of our life. We interact with others on many levels, but we continue our journey of ‘aloneness’, for want of a better word, well, …. alone. There is really only one single moment of time that is truly unique, and that is the moment when our existence begins, our own split second of forever, when conception begins the evolution of self, of who we are, of the immutable ‘I’. Once conception releases the blueprint, there is an inevitability to our development. The information contained in our genes will determine much of what we are. Our sex. The color of our eyes and hair. Our height. Things we have not even discovered as of yet. Good things, positive things. Unfortunately, some negative things as well. Physical disabilities, and disease. But we will always have the opportunity to make many decision Thousands of them. Our physical attributes will leave us limited choices, although we can enhance or diminish them through life decisions. Such things as diet and exercise. But we will have much control over the development of our thoughts, our personalities, and in particular, our personal philosophies. We may have been given tendencies and predispositions and impulses from the lottery of our gene pool, but ultimately we will be the master of self determination as to who we are and what we will become. And most of that decision making will be done in the solitude of our minds eye. We are alone during our time in the womb. Alone when we sleep. Alone when we daydream. When we think. We may share memories, and even experience. But we do it alone, all the time, each and every time. We interact, but we are still alone. I see a butterfly, and I go to my place of alone to process the information. To enjoy, perhaps to grow. Alone. This does not preclude us from sharing, but I will determine if the event is one of joy, or one of sorrow. And I alone will decide to remember the occasion on a daily basis, or shut it away in the recesses of my mind, never to see the light of day again. You ask me a question, and I retreat to my private place to try and understand the question, determine an answer, or even consider if I wish to pay attention to your inquiry at all. And then respond. All of these things can happen in a split second, in that place where we are alone, and hopefully, in control.

Alone is where the stuff gets done. It is where creation happens. Today is when it happens. Alone is where it happens. So many people are in fear of being alone. Too many people. They need to see the power of alone. They need to understand the concept, and to embrace that power. There is an unlimited potential for achievement in solitude. Everything you will ever accomplish germinates there, takes root there, and flourishes there. It is a unique place, a place where you create success. A private place, that is for you, and only you. A place where you grow and evolve. Recognize it for what it is. It is a great place to be. But being alone, while a potentially positive thing, can also be indicative of the other side of the coin, being lonely. Isn’t it amazing what the manipulation of a few letters can do to the meaning of a word? Many people use these words interchangeably, and this is unfortunate. Alone is a very positive attribute of our existence. It is a part of the human condition. Your mind, and your philosophy, fills the void with ideas and expectations. Hopes and dreams. The what-ifs and what could be. But there is a fine line between the mind and the heart. When the heart only sees the void, and the mind is unwilling or incapable of filling that void, you become despondent and terrified. You experience no hope. There are no expectations. There are no dreams. There is nothing spread before you, except an eternity of the same endless nothingness, and there is no answer to your question of ‘why me?’

I have gazed into that abyss. More times than I wish to remember. Scary times. Nothing but fear and uncertainty. Totally unsure what you may do next. Completely blown away that this could be happening to you. Where the hell is god when you need him the most? But the experience is usually a game changer. Or a life changer, as the case may be. Good or bad, your life can never be the same again. And why would you want it to be. It was not going well, if you can remember. It was time to make a change, and go in a different direction, one way or another. Some people decide to take that step and join the abyss. Some of us wish to stay and continue the struggle. Who is to say which decision is the correct one? It may just be the means to an end. And a new beginning to a new life, and another chance of enlightenment. A new day, and a new path to follow. Or that just may be all she wrote, and there is nothing more. And that is something that keeps some of us going. My path continues to draw me forward into tomorrow, which we all know, never comes.

There is a good friend who helped me through all of my trials and tribulations. He gets me in trouble on a regular basis, and yet he has resolved an infinite amount of situations as well. We know that I probably bring this up more often than I should, and yet there is a compulsion to do so. An imperative of the soul. Why? Because that is why this conversation exists to begin with. It is the reason that Lone Cypress has come to be. We wish only that your path be ever so slightly more comfortable and smooth than it was before. If we can remove a small stone or root to accomplish that, then we are content. The path is not paved, unless you are able to do so yourself. Mine is the Appalachian Trail of life, with twists and turns innumerable, ascents and descents precipitous. And you know what? I am not sure I would want it any other way. And my friend agrees, as he is wont to do. That friend is my philosophy, and he is without equal, something that is unconditional and will never let you down. He has saved me my life, both literally and figuratively, many times. And how is that for a ‘Practical’ Philosophy? It exists for all of us. Like a garden, it simply needs to be cultivated and nurtured. The rewards are exponential. It only takes some time and effort. When you realize this, you will never, ever have to be lonely again, since it will not stray from your side or desert you in times of conflict. It will be available whenever there is need. You can then experience that friend, and share with that friend.
Whenever you find yourself

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