Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Below is a passage from my book that explains my revelations around "Silence" as I lost my ability to speak due to complications after the second of my four brain surgeries.

The Blessing of Solitude


I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.  We are for the most part more lonely when we go abroad among men than when we stay in our chambers.” - Henry David Thoreau

                Thoreau pretty much nailed it with that quote.  Having gone through an extended period of silence when I was at the height of my brain surgery situation, I have developed a high level of appreciation for Solitude.  I like to think of it as “Active Meditation.”  Solitude is not an easy task.  It takes concentration and practice.  Many religions have utilized and ascribed to the Practice of Solitude for their clergy, priests and wise men, but it can be particularly powerful when utilized by the common folk as well.  Given the fact that, in New Thought circles, God or Spirit lives within the laity every bit as much as it does the prescribed leaders, Solitude is a natural practice for all involved.
                Recently at a retreat for the Sangha Center Board of Directors after an evening session, Rev. David Phears gave an assignment to the Board Members to take themselves into a state of silence until he told us it was proper for us to speak.  This was not a form of punishment; it was a true source of closeness and inspiration.  We broke from the evening session, had a good night’s sleep and arose the next morning to yoga and breakfast; all in controlled silence.  For many of us it was, understandably difficult.  We were, after all, a very talkative bunch by nature.  It would have been difficult for me had I not experienced the forced solitude that was a part of my brain surgery situation.  It was interesting that as we met for breakfast, the wait staff at the retreat center caught on quickly to what we were doing, they got right in tune with our assignment and served us effectively in their own silence.
                Shortly after breakfast, Rev. Phears and the Board Members met by the lake near the retreat center and we broke our silence and talked about the experience.  For me the experience was both easy and sorrowful.  It was easy because all I really had to do was reflect back to the days that I simply could not speak because of the condition of my brain to feel comfortable.  It was sorrowful because I felt the same sense of fear that I felt during those days of silence.  After going through this time of silence, we all realized that our communications with each other was much more flowing and focused.  There were natural moments of thoughtful concentration when the Board Members collectively thought about what we were discussing and sharing in the moment.  This newly experienced acceptance of silence added a higher degree of clarity and sharpness to what we were conveying to each other.
                The point that I am getting at is that Solitude is nothing to be avoided, but is something that should be embraced.  For me it took a “forced interlude” in my ability to communicate to truly get that message. 
                Again to reflect upon a great thinker, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once wrote,

A creation of importance can only be produced when its author isolates himself, it is a child of solitude.” 

               Do not wait like I did until you have nothing but Solitude.  Make your “quiet time” a productive time.  Reflect upon your mission, duties and responsibilities of the Journey you are on.  Solitude is not a function of loneliness.  It is a deserved opportunity to clue into yourself and what your actions will be in your personal movement of Cause and Effect.  You have the answers to any personal life questions within you; take the time to ponder them in silence and they will emerge in a crystal clear state.


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  2. I have lived most of my life in solitude. Over the past 10 years I lived alone in the woods with no electricity and no running water. I would go to town once a week or two to see my daughter and a few close friends or family.

    I love my solitude. I miss it dearly.

    Two years ago The Universe {Or whatever you call The Source) called me out of the woods... It accused me of, "Hiding my light under a basket"... So I came out.

    To be among people is a very difficult thing for me.
    I am sure I am not qualified.

    I believe solitude is a blessing, a gift which we should not squander wishing for companions.

    Lia Mari

  3. Thank you for sharing your experience, Lisa. Solitude is a gift and sometimes it has to be forced upon you (as it was upon me...) to realize its nature and the power of its inspirational force. I am a very loquacious individual, so for me to find my silence is not an easy task and I have to move myself to that place...it does not come naturally.