I think Henri Nouwen is on to something:
In solitude, we can slowly unmask the illusion of our possessiveness and discover in
the center of our own self that we are not what we can conquer, but what is given to us.
In solitude we can listen to him who spoke to us before we could speak a word, who
healed us before we could make any gesture to help, who set us free long before we could
free others, and who loved us long before we could give love to anyone. It is in this solitude
we discover that our life is not a possession to be defended, but a gift to be shared. It's
there we recognize that the healing words we speak are not just our own, but are given
to us; that the love we can express is part of a greater love; and that the new life we
bring forth is not a property to cling to, but a gift to be received.