What is solitude? Is it vanishing from daily life? Sometimes. Can solitude happen in the midst of daily life with all its distractions? Sometimes. Can solitude be shared with others? Sometimes. The longer I live, the more I yearn for this thing called solitude.
Solitude is about being with myself – alone. Solitude gives me a sense of quietness and peace, a feeling of stillness and joy in my heart. It is from this place of listening in silence that I start to recognise the voice of God. The more I listen, the more I trust that voice. I begin to know myself in the process. I am inspired to action.
I experience solitude when I am all alone in my home. No radio, television, music or computer – simply the silence of being. It is delicious. The mystics of each spiritual tradition have written about this way of tapping into God’s silence. I think that listening begins here, in the stillness of my heart.
Sometimes solitude comes to me when I am driving. There is that moment of being fully present to life – seeing the wonder of humanity or nature or God’s presence in the world and in my life. Many times, solitude is in the shared silence with a close friend, spouse or family member. Just being with each other, not needing to speak.
‘Why do you suppose these moments of solitude offer us such relief? Because they give us a chance to simply be ourselves, to enjoy what and who we are, to savour just being. Alone with God, we feel no need to perform, to do,’ writes Frank Bianco in his book Voices of Silence.
How can you find the time to take on another practice in your already fully scheduled day? One women discovered that if she spent just one minute in silence before getting out of the car before and after work, it made a difference to her day. This practice of solitude, of being still, silent and present, expands awareness and leads to a deeper awareness to a deeper relationship with the Divine as well as a deeper capacity to be with others. Take advantage of the gift of quiet time. Enjoy!
- from The Sacred Art of Listening by Kay Lindahl, p. 108-108.