We have nothing to compare our “normal” lives with. This can easily be done in one evening. 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. 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. 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). Discipleship: Silence & Solitude Contributed by Kemuel Travis on Jun 13, 2006 (message contributor) based on 67 ratings (rate this sermon) | 8,533 views. Though it is possible to attain solitude in the presence of crowds and noise by withdrawing one’s attention from these external stimuli and directing it inward, in practice, this is quite difficult. Posted on April 5, 2017 by Saint Joseph's College Online Theology Faculty. For example, I probably feel the greatest love for my children not when we’re together during the day, but when I think about them while lying in bed at night. . Reevaluate your goals and objectives in life. He felt depressed and oppressed by the quiet and isolation of the abbey, experiencing “a feeling of loneliness and flatness that always accompanies the transition from urban excess to a life of rustic solitude”: “only by living for a while in a monastery can one quite grasp its staggering difference from the ordinary life that we lead. And perhaps most crucially, we control the need to explain ourselves to others. What do you want to have accomplished one year from now? But grant me still a friend in my retreat, Whom I may whisper—solitude is sweet.”, An Introduction Silence, we have said, is not just the quieting of noise which arises from without, but the cessation of that which comes from within. If no, why not? Perhaps you take a walk on a nature trail or sit beside a lake or a creek. Whether alone or among people, we always carry with us a portable sanctuary of the heart.” —Richard Foster. . This is probably the most common reason people give for not setting apart time for solitude and silence. Once you’ve carved out a little pocket of solitude and silence, what do you do during that time? Today we will explain why that is, the way in which these spiritual disciplines are connected, and how both can be sought, and attained, by even the busiest of souls. Did anybody have a bad week? I know, your music gets you pumped up and makes your exertions easier. “Solitude bears the same relation to the mind that sleep does to the body. 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. (Note: The point of this question is honest conversation, not guilt or shame. 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. But is it not possible to withdraw inwardly even in the midst of a crowd? Frankly, I didn’t have the best week. Like silence, stillness is twofold: pausing physical movement and cultivating internal stillness. 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. 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? If a leader does not have that in place, he or she may be leading but it probably isn’t spiritual leadership. There are games and computers and the internet. There’s no one grading your report, checking your hours, praising your work. “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.”- Physical isolation, stillness, and silence may all work to enhance solitude, but they’re not required for its existence. If yes, what does that look like in your life rhythm? Silence and solitude function best as supplements to society, not as substitutes for it. The producers of reality television programs report that the “stars” of these shows often become depressed after they stop filming. In actual fact, society depends for its existence on the inviolable personal solitude of its members. We appreciate the protections of the herd, but don’t wish our individuality to be subsumed within it. . . . These are often practiced together as silent time alone with God, they can also be used independently. This class will be an education and experience in silence and solitude with God. Main menu. You don’t have to go full monk to practice these disciplines; rather, you can find your hermitage right at home. As Adele A. Calhoun puts it in her Spiritual Disciplines Handbook, in silent solitude, “The world of recognition, achievement and applause disappears, and we stand squarely before God without props.”. Solitude And Silence poem by Kishan Shetty. 1 Lesson 9 SILENCE/SOLITUDE SILENCE/SOLITUDE (This Lesson Adapted from Donald Whitney’s Spiritual Disciplines For The … People, sounds and things are everywhere we go. Practical ways to enjoy silence and solitude . If you haven’t been exercising these “muscles” on a regular basis, then you wouldn’t be able to get much out of a longer space of silent solitude — it would just leave you feeling bored and antsy. Silence and solitude is a tool God uses to restore our souls by breaking engagements with the world. So you'd think I would have fallen easily into patterns of silence and solitude when I became a Christian. 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. There are several reasons we so tenaciously cling to noise like this, and ignore the persistent, but easily drowned-out call of silence and solitude: Given its acute absence of distractions, noise, and stimuli, silent solitude can be experienced as awfully boring. By getting firm on your convictions before entering the fray, you are less likely to shift them when you rejoin society — less likely to let yourself be controlled by the crowd. Take an “Input Sabbath” in which you not only put away your devices, but also abstain from any books, music, or magazines — any human-created input at all. Prepare yourself before you withdraw, by doing as much research about your question as possible. In solitude we foster a bond with others that the closeness of physical intimacy actually stymies in some ways. He no longer lives as a man.” —Thomas Merton. It’s no coincidence that Jesus chose to begin his ministry by spending forty days alone in the desert. There are games and computers and the internet. Page I squatted on the wooden lid of this shaft whenever my services were not needed. . 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. People, sounds and things are … called autobiographical memory and planning, which is when we look back at our lives, we take note of the highs and the lows, we build a personal narrative, we take lessons from that, and then look forward. We are both attracted to, and repulsed by, our fellow man. Though it needn’t be as long, we can similarly benefit from taking a retreat of silent solitude when we know we’ll soon be facing a physical, mental, emotional, and/or spiritual challenge. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; as we’ll discuss below, engagement with others provides an important balance to solitude. What about stillness? When that inner voice is not heard, when man cannot attain to the spiritual peace that comes from being perfectly at one with his true self, his life is always miserable and exhausting. When we are able to be by ourselves, even for a short time, we affirm our independent identity, the reality of our individual existence; we temporarily thwart the law of the herd, that says we will die if we leave the tribe, and show ourselves we can exist alone, at least for a time. Is silence and solitude a regular part of your discipleship to Jesus? In battle, troops on the frontline only spend a certain amount of time in combat before they’re rotated to the rear for some R&R. Sermon Date 11-11-2012 Silence & Solitude (Chuck Gohn) Good morning. Images you wouldn’t want your wife to see? In reading through this extensive enumeration and celebration of the benefits of solitude and silence, one might conclude that these states are superior to that of community and society — that life outside the crowd is more real than life within it; that we are only our true selves when we are by ourselves; and that the more we can get of “authentic” solitude and the less of “artificial” society, the better. And humans hate boredom. Such discussions beget their own insights, which we can then mull over in solitude. We also simply feel the need to use speech (including the “speech” that takes the form of images posted on social media) to prove we’re alive, that we’re doing things; words and photographs serve as third-party corroboration of one’s existence. As Thoreau argued, “Solitude is not measured by the miles of space that intervene between a man and his fellows. People will thus do most anything to alleviate it (even giving themselves painful electric shocks). Solitude, by definition, is time that is set apart for God and God alone and that is where true spiritual leadership comes from. . Don’t share anything on social media for an entire week. Do people in today’s world find it difficult to find “quiet time?” What are things that can either hinder or encourage this type of quality time? We have radios in our homes, in our offices, and in our cars. 3. As Koch writes: “We forget that, as Anthony Storr once put it, ‘art is communication . . 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. In solitude we don’t try to make anything happen. 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. The most fundamental and essential of the spiritual disciplines are silence and solitude. Why are references like these recorded in the Gospels? Fortunately, this obstacle is in many ways the easiest to deal with and overcome, as its basis is simply rooted in misconceptions about what these disciplines really require. For more advice and an insightful case study in making a difficult decision, read this article. In silence, you train yourself to resist these compulsions, to be content to let your actions justify themselves. Too busy? If you’re like most people, your life is probably filled with noise (audible and otherwise) from morning ‘til night. In the hush of silent solitude, you find the space needed for undistracted and thus fruitful reflection; you can finally focus on picking up on sacred signals and listening to their urgent broadcasts. After my transportation to a so-called ‘rest-camp’ I had the rare fortune to find solitude for about five minutes at a time. Do you like the man you find when you’re by yourself? But while silence may not be strictly necessary for solitude, the two are very closely connected. Granted, it does include awayness from others, but as you mature you can even be in a huge crowd and experience the rejuvenating power it offers. When it comes to attaining the level of immersion Fermor experienced, it’s true that it cannot be achieved on the fly. You don’t have to do your whole commute in silence, but consider dedicating a few minutes of it to peace and quiet. Physical isolation? . As Fermor acclimated to his silent, solitary surroundings, he discovered he’d been living with a debt of inner exhaustion of which he’d been completely unaware: “I found that my capacity for sleep was becoming more and more remarkable: till the hours I spent in or on my bed vastly outnumbered the hours I spent awake; and my sleep was so profound that I might have been under the influence of some hypnotic drug . Since ancient times, there have been those who have felt that seeking silent solitude is “indulgent” — an attempt to escape the burdens and responsibilities of real life. “Not all men are called to be hermits, but all men need enough silence and solitude in their lives to enable the deep inner voice of their own true self to be heard at least occasionally. Schedule a time of solitude. See what comes up. Society, to merit its name, must be made up not of numbers, or mechanical units, but of persons. A Work of Missionary Discipleship. (Note: The point of this question is honest conversation, not guilt or shame. Work hard to create a safe place in your Life Group for people at every stage.) If you don’t know of a church with an open sanctuary, hospitals often have a chapel that’s kept open 24/7. What is God saying to you in these passages? Solitude and silence feel like an unattainable adventure fantasy, because people assume (consciously or not) that they must do something similar to Fermor — hole up at a monastery for a weeks-long retreat — to experience these states in a worthwhile way. We recommend you work through it with your community, a small group triad, a weekly meal with friends or neighbors, your roommates, whatever works. 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. 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. There was also a shaft leading to the water pipes. . Warriors cannot perform at their best if they’re constantly engaged in the heat of the conflict; fatigue sets in, bad decisions are made, and the fighting force falls apart. How Do You Get More Solitude and Silence in the Busy Modern World? Ten years from now? . Sacred pauses are mini-meditations. Lost in the “noise” of the web, you soon forgot what you were anxious about . Do your daily run or workout in silence. There are more magazines, newspapers and books than we could ever read. When the famous psychiatrist Viktor Frankl was imprisoned at Auschwitz, he could not have lived a more stripped down and vulnerable existence, and yet he still felt the impulse to break away from others: “There were times, of course, when it was possible, and even necessary, to keep away from the crowd. To care only for the approval of God, and the approbation of your own conscience. Intuition, insight, personal revelation are like fragile bubbles that rise from the depths of your soul; noise erects a wall of sharp spikes that pops them before they ever enter your consciousness. Our homes have access to scores of television channels and videos. How does it feel to hear God say that God knows your name (v.17)? In the absence of an audience, life can seem less significant, actions less worthwhile. “Human-created” because most would consider a walk in the woods, in which the sounds of nature are present, to still be a time of “silence.”. Are you really real? Such is the excitement your mom gets if your picture shows up in the local paper; she knew you existed, and were wonderful, but now here is public affirmation of this truth! Solitude & Silence Solitude and silence is an opportunity to focus on your Intimacy with Jesus, to unhook from your daily responsibilities and the people you interact with, in order to attend to the Lord alone. Written by Daria Zellmer on December 11, 2016. Buttimer recommends incorporating “sacred pauses” into your day. But we can better find out what thoughts are worth thinking, and what actions are worth taking, when we think and act for no one but ourselves. Certainly, this is what most often comes to mind when we picture solitude; we imagine the monk alone in the cell of an abbey, or the mountain man secluded in a cabin. They are either the best or the worst of our times, wherein the principle that is predominant in us will show and act itself.”. But while a retreat may cost time in the short-term, it allows you to perform more effectively and carry on with more endurance in the long-term. Your car is a mobile, and vastly underutilized, sanctuary. . “if we possess inward solitude we do not fear being alone, for we know that we are not alone. We just bring our naked self to the Lord to be with him. 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. And if you have space in your schedule for taking a long retreat, or even spending a couple days on a solo camping/backpacking trip, you should by all means take advantage of what will likely prove a transformative opportunity. SOLITUDE + SILENCE : JESUS AND THE LONELY PLACE Speaker: Darren Rouanzoin Date: 02-11-2018 — THE GARDEN CHURCH "in Long Beach as in it is in Heaven." There is a solitude of the heart that can be maintained at all times. One of the foundational goals of silence and solitude is to get to the place where we know who we are in God. . . . A tent had been improvised there with a few poles and branches of trees in order to shelter a half-dozen corpses (the daily death rate in the camp). Silence is easier to define than solitude. You open your safe and find ashes.”, “How sweet, how passing sweet, is solitude! It can be hard to justify pulling back — there’s never a shortage of to-dos to accomplish or people who urgently need our help. It’s self-referential processing, literally creating a coherent sense of ourselves. When society is made up of men who know no interior solitude it can no longer be held together by love: and consequently it is held together by a violent and abusive authority. In the thick of this constant din, it can be difficult to hear the voice of God and to identify your own voice. 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