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Thoughts on Silence and Solitude

From Celebration of Discipline (Foster 2018)

Jesus calls us from loneliness to solitude. The fear of being left alone petrifies people. …Our fear of being alone drives us to noise and crowds. We keep up a constant stream of words even if they are inane. …But loneliness or clatter are not our only alternatives. We can cultivate an inner solitude and silence that sets us free from loneliness and fear. Loneliness is inner emptiness. Solitude is inner fulfillment. (Foster, Richard. Celebration of Discipline. HarperOne, 2018. p 96.)

Solitude is more a state of mind and heart than it is a place. There is a solitude of the heart that can be maintained at all times. …If we possess inward solitude we do not fear being alone, for we know that we are not alone. Neither do we fear being with others, for they do not control us. In the midst of noise and confusion we are settled into a deep inner silence. Whether alone or among people, we always carry with us a portable sanctuary of the heart. (Foster, Richard.Celebration of Discipline. HarperOne, 2018. p 96-97.)

Note - When experiencing spiritual practices, you may feel uncomfortable in silence or derailed. It is ok to feel uncomfortable. This experience can be very different from our daily norm and comfort zone. Don’t fight that! Embrace being uncomfortable. Rather than trying to avoid your discomfort, examine it! If you get stuck. Journal and ask God to show you what is getting in your way. You may want to use the Welcoming Prayer to help you process this.

Though silence sometimes involves the absence of speech, it always involves the act of listening. Simply to refrain from talking without a heart listening to God, is not silence. (Foster, Richard. Celebration of Discipline. HarperOne, 2018. p 98.)

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