Sure, there are moments when we need to be alone--with our thoughts, in some forms of prayer and meditation. Some people always want to be alone, left to themselves. Often they are lonely. Others only want to be in the crowd or pack. They also can be very lonely. Mothers of little children yearn to be alone with that cup of coffee or at least with other adults. Moments of transition or momentous decision in our lives often require substantial introspective and reflective time.
If you really want to be alone with your thoughts and yearnings for spiritual depth, though, this cannot happen in the context of spiritual direction. Spiritual direction occurs when a spiritual director, a seeker (who we often call a directee) and the Holy Spirit sit in confidentiality, respect and profound expectation to discern how God is moving and present in a person's life . . . sometimes just under the surface of the day-to-day. Some persons enjoy gathering with one or two spiritual directors in small groups of five or six persons.
The director might comment or ask a pertinent question. Or the Spirit might cause a sudden realization or breakthrough to surface. Or there might be moments of quiet waiting and integration of some thought or insight. In any case, good spiritual direction is a joint or often collective endeavor. It is never like Frank Sinatra's famous song "I Did It My Way" . . .
Earlier this summer I saw this bench that had been placed on East 10th Street near Highland not far from my house here in Indianapolis and it caused me to think about what spiritual direction, as I have experienced it and have practiced it, is not. In spiritual direction we sit together.
Beyond spiritual direction, this theme of aloneness is powerfully present in popular music. Go to this link for the Alone music video: