The purposes and practices of these disciplines are approached in such a way that they can be adapted across belief systems. Social interaction is like a dance, or a game of chess. What Is the Relationship Between Solitude and Society? Simply put, while seeking a quiet place to be alone with God is without question a good idea and is exemplified in Scripture, it is not commanded and is never taught as essential for discipleship. How can this be beneficial? Behind the earthen hut where I worked and in which were crowded about fifty delirious patients, there was a quiet spot in a corner of the double fence of barbed wire surrounding the camp. Certainly, solitude can be used as an escape or hide-out from reality, but it can also facilitate a more effective embrace of it. Second, look for simple ways to incorporate pockets of solitude and silence into your daily routine. As we’ll next unpack, they’re far more within reach than typically realized. In defining solitude, we noted that silence is not an essential precondition for its existence. Every culture and era has offered distractions to busy hearts, minds, and bodies with words, ideas and more things to do. By all means, make some time for it to leverage the many benefits of silence. Can something really be learned from spending time alone, from taking time in silence and solitude? Let him who is not in community beware of being alone. In fact, it might be best to approach silence and solitude as intentional conduits for channeling spiritual- mindedness, lest we find ourselves simply enjoying a little peace and quiet (which is great, but is . This class will be an education and experience in silence and solitude with God. After work it’s another music or podcast-filled commute to a noise-filled gym, and then home to converse with your family, scroll through your phone, and watch Netflix. Discipleship: Silence and Solitude Introduction. There are more magazines, newspapers and books than we could ever read. Commute to work in silence. Even when you’re around those who allow you to “be yourself,” social interaction demands great vigilance and requires a high level of energy and control. Our tendency is to overestimate what we can accomplish in one year and underestimate what we can accomplish in ten years. Where do you go, or, what do you do to unwind when you have had one of those hectic days? Have you ever felt down about something, or restless about how your life was going, and then, instead of sitting with the feeling awhile, started surfing the internet? Solitude & Silence Silence and Solitude are Essential Spiritual Disciplines . This public vetting of our private pondering is crucial, for as Koch observes, “Profound visions arrive in solitude—but so do grand delusions.” The crowd may find weaknesses in our ideas, which we then return to solitude to address. Study & Self-Examination This leaves social disengagement, Koch observes, as “the most promising place to look for the core of solitude.” We can find solitude when surrounded by human-made stimuli — as long as we aren’t attending to it. One can be disengaged from others, but not by choice. As Thoreau argued, “Solitude is not measured by the miles of space that intervene between a man and his fellows. Read the passage, again trying to place yourself in Moses’s shoes. It’s self-referential processing, literally creating a coherent sense of ourselves. 3. Are you really real? well described by Ohiyesa (Charles Eastman), a Sioux tribesman, even giving themselves painful electric shocks, As Manoush Zomorodi told me in my podcast interview, Turn your coffee-making/drinking routine, into a silent, rejuvenating ritual. “In solitude, where they are devoted to prayer, contemplatives are never forgetful of their brothers…if they have withdrawn from frequent contact with their fellowmen, it is not because they were seeking their own comfort, or peace and quiet for their own sake, but because on the contrary, they were intent on sharing to a more universal degree the fatigues, misery and hopes of all mankind.”- You don’t have to do your whole commute in silence, but consider dedicating a few minutes of it to peace and quiet. What is my place in the world?’”. Silence becomes a gateway by which the Spirit of God is able to over-write our normal thinking, freed from the self-deception of our own thoughts. For he cannot go on happily for long unless he is in contact with the springs of spiritual life which are hidden in the depths of his own soul. You can also prepare for the twists of fate in your path by reaffirming your commitment to maintaining a Stoic mindset — rehearsing to yourself the fact that there’s no use in reacting emotionally to things you can’t change, and that you must focus only on that which lies within your control. So you'd think I would have fallen easily into patterns of silence and solitude when I became a Christian. . We need to break away from the crowd now and again, and find rest from orienting our thoughts and behaviors in reference to other people. Perhaps you take a walk on a nature trail or sit beside a lake or a creek. Examine both sides of the issue. Pray that God will lead you as you practice the disciplines of silence and solitude. We resist silence and solitude for the same reason we spurn rigorous self-examination: we’re afraid of what these disciplines may reveal about ourselves. What do your thoughts turn to in your few quiet moments alone? The corpses near me, crawling with lice, did not bother me. Treat your shower like a fortress of solitude. These are often practiced together as silent time alone with God, they can also be used independently. The period during which normal standards recede and the strange new world becomes reality is slow, and, at first, acutely painful.”. They are the spiritual disciplines that have been praised by poets and philosophers as diverse as Plato, Seneca, Marcus Aurelius, Montaigne, Rousseau, Goethe, Wordsworth, Byron, Shelley, Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman, Muir, Tillich, and Camus (to name only a few). It’s no coincidence that Jesus chose to begin his ministry by spending forty days alone in the desert. Sermon Date 11-11-2012 Silence & Solitude (Chuck Gohn) Good morning. Solitude in an Age of Distraction. And I wanted to serve. Don’t just forgo music during your workout, but leave your phone entirely at home. If you don’t, you may be eager to flip on the background noise to keep from ever confronting him. While this might seem pathetic, it’s really just a variation of the same kind of thing most of us experience when we leave behind “normal” life for a time of silent solitude. Scripture: Psalms 46:10. They are the spiritual disciplines through which prophets as varied as Moses, John the Baptist, Jesus, Buddha, and Muhammad prepared for their ministries and received revelations that founded new religions. Practical ways to enjoy silence and solitude . They are the spiritual disciplines of solitude and silence, and they are vitally important to the health of the soul (and of society). When solitude and silence are cultivated and actively utilized, these disciplines produce many vitalizing and strengthening effects on the soul: The world is a noisy, wordy place. In solitude, we discover new insights; in society, we have the pleasure of expanding on them in conversation with friends. Our world can seem more flimsy without the kind of third-party affirmation we discussed above. Wake up just 20 minutes before the rest of your family does; or if you’re a night owl, stay up a little longer than everyone else. Eat your meals alone, without your phone or any other kind of input in front of you. We all want to feel like people understand us. Excited? Silence, we have said, is not just the quieting of noise which arises from without, but the cessation of that which comes from within. As individuals, take a few quiet minutes during the meeting to reread the theme passages silently. In the midst of so much static, it can be hard to tune into these faintest of frequencies. (Note: The point of this question is honest conversation, not guilt or shame. This is probably the most common reason people give for not setting apart time for solitude and silence. Shut thy door upon thee and call to thee Jesus thy love; dwell with him in thy cell for thou shalt not find elsewhere so great peace. The scriptures tell us that Jesus made time to get alone with the Father – often quite early in the day. In the spiritual realm, it is not the literal absence of all noise, but the absence of all human-created stimuli. Calhoun aptly describes solitude as a “container discipline,” as it a discipline in and of itself, but it can also be filled with other disciplines. Did anybody have a bad week? A moderate dose of community makes us healthy; saturation with the other makes us sick. So you'd think I would have fallen easily into patterns of silence and solitude when I became a Christian. We can no more hear these voices in the clatter and crash of our busy lives, than a whisper can be heard across a loud nightclub. People who need your help? We must be proactive, but also defensive: at any time someone may insult, embarrass, confuse, or manipulate us, and we must keep our guard up against these potential attacks. So one can be lonely in solitude, but feeling lonely is not necessarily the same thing as experiencing solitude. “if we possess inward solitude we do not fear being alone, for we know that we are not alone. Without taking the necessary time to let your spiritual self recover, you risk the possibility of a spiritual injury such as burnout, depression, or a complete collapse of your inner world that leaves you feeling hopeless and alone. After my transportation to a so-called ‘rest-camp’ I had the rare fortune to find solitude for about five minutes at a time. We have to cease believing that they’re true. Often, you don’t need to even change your schedule at all, but simply alter and enhance a few habits you’re already doing, with these guidelines in mind: With those guidelines in mind, here are some fruitful places to find solitude and silence in your everyday life: There are also ways to specifically practice the discipline of silence, that can, but don’t necessarily need to involve solitude: Once you start looking for them, there all kinds of possibilities for silence and solitude in spare moments that only necessitate small changes in your routine. Do you think Jesus was strengthened by his time on the mountain? “Solitude bears the same relation to the mind that sleep does to the body. In actual fact, society depends for its existence on the inviolable personal solitude of its members. This will give the details and data you gather a chance to percolate, consciously and unconsciously, through your mind. Our times are no different. As Army Lt. . So serving was a path of discipleship as I died to self and learned to live for others. Quiet cannot be deemed essential to solitude for a similar reason. Then, during your solitary retreat, you can mentally sift through this predigested intel and watch for what intuitions arise in your soul. [For example, prayer, reading Scripture, worship, silence, solitude, and so on.] In our fast-paced society and our continuously-loud distractions, our eyes, ears, bodies, minds, hearts, and souls need margin. To be a person implies responsibility and freedom, and both these imply a certain interior solitude, a sense of personal integrity, a sense of one’s own reality and of one’s ability to give himself to society—or to refuse that gift. How does the idea of silence and solitude make you feel? Lost in the “noise” of the web, you soon forgot what you were anxious about . Solitude necessitates the creation of one’s own world, but such a world does not require physical walls. Janelle Hale “By the end of this semester you will spend two hours in silence and solitude for this class.” These were the first words I heard from my professor, Dr. Lanker, in my Discipleship and Evangelism class. But as mentioned at the start, men have in fact craved these states for thousands of years, long before anything digital, or electronic, or urban ever existed. The importance of silence and solitude. Instead of getting out of bed as soon as your alarm goes off, or immediately checking your phone upon waking, lie there for a few minutes in silence; you’ll often receive very potent insights at this time. . If you’re like most people, your life is probably filled with noise (audible and otherwise) from morning ‘til night. Practice #4: Stop moving. After many lonely horseback rides through the Badlands, TR was able to recover his emotional balance, re-orient his life, and re-enter public life with Bull Moose-ian gusto. Taken all together, we can therefore define solitude this way: the intentional withdrawal from social engagement. When was the last time you found yourself in a space of simple solitude and silence, much less intentionally carved out time to cultivate these practices as disciplines? . While doing everything for an audience constricts our thoughts and behaviors, the desire to celebrate with others the wonder and excitement of Truth discovered and Beauty found is not only human, but even virtuous. A Work of Missionary Discipleship. We need to rotate into silence and solitude to maintain our morale, emotional balance, and ability to continue the fight. Neither do we fear being with others, for they do not control us. Dr. Richard Peace writes, “The spiritual disciplines keep us alert to the presence of God.” He continued that “the spiritual disciplines are a way of learning to hear again; a way to respond positively to God.” Does it seem that God has been pushed out by the sensory overload from our surroundings? Our homes have access to scores of television channels and videos. Stay late at your office or do it at home or find a quiet corner in a public library. But is it not possible to withdraw inwardly even in the midst of a crowd? . With social media, we all have the chance to issue this kind of “proof of life,” and it can be hard to act in the absence of documentation. Down through the centuries, solitude and silence have been practiced and encouraged by women and men who have grown deep in their lives with God. Practice. There was also a shaft leading to the water pipes. Silence and Solitude provides our inner worlds with the rest they need to recover and for our spiritual roots to take ever deeper hold in the presence of God. Even the shortest stretches of quiet feel empty, uncomfortable. It’s the closest most of us get to a monastic cell each day. As Koch writes: “We forget that, as Anthony Storr once put it, ‘art is communication . . Intermittent times of silence and solitude are essential for people to mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually function at their best in their everyday lives. refusal to seek this communion is both immoral and self-defeating: the impulse to keep to yourself what you have learned is not only shameful, it is destructive. Of all vistas solitude relates to silence In a prominent way they share an obeisance.They sometimes lament us while sometimes elate.. READING: Mark 1:35. What Are the Purposes of the Spiritual Disciplines of Solitude and Silence? Frankly, I didn’t have the best week. “To every thing there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven . . Is silence and solitude a regular part of your discipleship to Jesus? . The explanation is simple enough: the desire for talk, movement and nervous expression that I had transported from Paris found, in this silent place, no response or foil, evoked no single echo; after miserably gesticulating for a while in a vacuum, it languished and finally died for lack of any stimulus or nourishment. In Solitude: A Philosophical Encounter, Philip Koch notes the qualities commonly associated with solitude: physical isolation, stillness, quiet, and social disengagement. We do something called theory of mind where we imagine what others are thinking. While we may think of solitude in terms of meditating in an ashram or studying in a monastic cell, is not the man running a trail or splitting wood alone both solitary and active? Fasting But if your life is running full throttle right now, and you can’t get away for a weekend much less a week, plenty of possibilities for silence and solitude are still eminently within reach. One’s circumstances don’t alter this equation either. When writer Patrick Leigh Fermor went to live at a monastery in Europe in order to work on a book, he initially found his adjustment to the new environment difficult and went through a kind of withdrawal period during his first few days there. a time to keep silence and a time to speak.” —Ecclesiastes: III, 1 & 7. I have found that when I approach my time with God and have a long to-do list, it can become too formulaic and I miss the relational dynamic. After Theodore Roosevelt lost both his wife and his mother in the same day, he retreated to a ranch in the Dakotas. “It is all very well to insist that man is a “social animal”—the fact is obvious enough. To care only for the approval of God, and the approbation of your own conscience. To fully experience the latter does require the presence of the former, and we will thus largely be talking about silence and solitude as an inseparable pair. I just sat and looked out at the green flowering slopes and the distant blue hills of the Bavarian landscape, framed by the meshes of barbed wire. Conversely, the more silent one’s environment, the easier it becomes to disengage from social demands and external distractions, and the deeper one’s solitude becomes. implicitly or explicitly, the work which [the artist] produces in solitude is aimed at somebody.’, The great bulk of creative work produced in solitude is aimed at an audience . We create a sense of self. Silence and solitude can seem out of reach to the average man — the exclusive purview of the kind of religious ascetics and hermetic philosophers just mentioned, or a luxury that can be indulged only by those leaders who face choices freighted with heavy meaning and high stakes. Discipleship, Spiritual Growth, and Christian Living, Silence is the way to make solitude a reality.– Henry Nouwen, Language has created the word “loneliness” to express the pain of being alone, and the word “solitude” to express the glory of being alone.— Paul Tillich. If no, why not? Attention becomes fragmented; you can’t make it very far into your own world when interruptions keep dragging you out. The inner stillness created by silence and solitude allows all the distracting details, all the competing interests, all the external “should’s” to settle, revealing a clearer picture of reality and the way to move forward. The really diligent student in one of the crowded hives of a college is as solitary as a dervish in the desert.” Or as the Chinese saying puts it: “Greatest hermit in crowded street.”. There are games and computers and the internet. You can achieve complete solitude and silence on every solo drive. Given the fact that solitude and silence seem to scratch a basic human itch, and, when pursued as spiritual disciplines, can provide such an edifying effect on the soul, why is it that the majority of people so seldom experience these states? Solitude is inner fulfillment, [and it] is more a state of mind and heart than it is a place.” What are your thoughts on this perspective? . We are both attracted to, and repulsed by, our fellow man. When we are open and listening as Ruth Haley Barton exhorts us to, we relate to God on a much deeper level and in a much more authentic way. And never experience its power you should do, think you have to cease believing that they can be from! Home ; about ; Post navigation ← Previous next → Merton – on silence and solitude allow you engage! Of passing guards could rouse me from my dreams. ” the scriptures tell us that Jesus made to. What is my place in your daily routine get alone with himself his! 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