The practice of solitude suffers from some misconceptions.
An old misconception of the habit, which tempts our belief from time to time, is that solitude is primarily the domain of those who live in the desert or among cloisters and in monks’ cells.
We do have some impressive models from such traditions. There was St. Anthony of Egypt, who withdrew to the desert and lived as a hermit until he died at 105 years old. Hardly a week passed where he didn’t have some visitor coming to seek his wisdom.
Or maybe the word “solitude” conjures up a more recent spiritual practitioner, someone closer to home, like Thomas Merton, who wrote from a Trappist monastery in Kentucky.
We might also conceive of solitude as a luxury available only to folks with few external commitments.
But, as with all spiritual disciplines, practicing solitude is for everybody.
I’ve been having my inner…
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