The Discipline of Solitude

“Solitude well practiced will break the power of busyness, haste, isolation, and loneliness. You will see that the world is not on your shoulders after all. Your will find yourself, and God will find you in new ways.”

Dallas Willard

Solitude will break isolation and loneliness? Is one of my favorite philosophers off his rocker?

Note the “well practiced” part.

Isolation and loneliness are a state of mind. I have been lonely in the midst of many people. There is a special feeling when you travel alone and go to a restaurant to eat. You see couples and parties, yet you are alone–or if, like me, you bring a book along for companionship.

Solitude is intentional. I decide to take a break and spend half-a-day or a full day somewhere alone. Perhaps on a bench in the woods. Or along a stream or at a pond. I’ve known people who rent a hotel room for a day–no, not for that–just to be able to be intentionally alone with themselves.

In the solitude, we can leave all distractions and call on God to visit. Kind of like Mork calling Orson, making contact with something distant, and yet close.

We’re closing out a year of Covid. Most likely we all have had feelings of isolation and loneliness. Others still are busy with work, writing, zoom conferences, whatever. It is a crazy, juxtaposed time.

Perhaps a weekly dose of solitude is just what we need to reconnect with God–and then with each other.

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