There is a big difference between being alone and being lonely. The Hermit has chosen a life of solitude, but she or he is not lonely. There is a purity of purpose to his/her solitude. Whether it's a life of examination, meditation, communion with spirit, dedication to a craft, or the simple desire to be alone with our thoughts, sometimes, we just need that alone time.
Unfortunately, sometimes we need that alone time long before we realize we need it. We need time to meditate or ruminate or just be with our own thoughts, but for whatever reason, we don't take it. Instead of spending time alone to recharge, say, we turn our back on solitary time. Rather, we end up joining social events, causes, clubs, etc. We try to fill the well with external influences when what we might really need is space and time to take things in from a universal source. We can call it God or gods or universe or nature or books. It doesn't matter. What does matter is that we take the time to do it.
Sometimes, we must demand the right to solitude from others. Sometimes, we have to demand it from ourselves. Try as we might, we can't run away from our own thoughts no matter what we do to get away from them. We can turn to partying, alcohol, sometimes drugs, extreme sports, extreme activities in general but our thoughts are right there the instant we're no longer vigilant at keeping them at bay. In the end, it's easier to take some time to be hermits and sit with our thoughts and feelings. If we make friends with them, we can begin to understand them. Whatever those thoughts and feelings are, they loom worse - darker, inkier, and possibly more terrifying - before we name them and shine the light on them.
When we spend time in repose, we get the opportunity to do that. We get to be with our thoughts, dreams, hopes, fears, and plans. Mostly, though, we allow ourselves to be truly honest with ourselves and we give ourselves the opportunity to confront and make friends with ourselves and that is the most vital relationship we will ever have.
Today, if you can, spend some time in repose. Give yourself time to be alone with your thoughts without to-do lists, without guilt, and without judgment. Even five minutes spent in self-examination can change our lives. Certainly, it will change our day.
Link to the Hermit image page.