Join us in practicing this month's spiritual discipline

Solitude

For more in-depth explanation regarding this spiritual discipline, we recommend the book, "Celebration of Discipline" by Richard Foster.
"We are so afraid of silence that we chase ourselves from one event to the next in order not to have to spend a moment alone with ourselves, in order not to have to look at ourselves in the mirror" - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

"Settle yourself  in solitude and you will come upon Him in yourself" - Teresa of Avila
Practice Includes (taken from 'Spiritual Disciplines Handbook' by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun):
  • Giving God time and space that is not in competition with social contact, noise or stimulation
  • Taking a retreat
  • Observing Sabbath refreshment by abstaining from constant interaction with others, information and activities
  • Addressing your addiction to be seen
  • Communing with God alone while you walk or run by yourself
  • Practicing disciplines alone: study, prayer, examen, journaling, etc
God-Given Fruit (taken from 'Spiritual Disciplines Handbook' by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun)
  • Freedom from the need to be occupied and stimulated
  • Moving away from letting the world squeeze you into its mold
  • Liberation from constantly living your life in reference to other people
  • Quieting the internal noise so you can better listen to God
  • Giving yourself time and space to internalize what you already know
  • Speaking only what you hear from God rather than out of your store of opinions
  • Including solitude and retreat as part of your lifesyle
Steps into Solitude (taken from 'Celebration of Discipline' by Richard Foster)
  1. Take advantage of the "little solitudes" that fill our day - "These tiny scratches of time are often lost to us...They can and should be redeemed. They are times for inner quiet, for reorienting our lives like a compass needle. They are little moments that help us to be genuinely present where we are."
  2. Find or develop a "quiet place" designed for silence and solitude
  3. Experiment with doing deeds without any words of explanation - "Discipline yourself so that your words are few and full. Let's become known as people who have something to say when we speak. Let's maintain plain speech: do what we say we will do."
  4. Try to live one entire day without words at all - "Try to find new ways to relate to others that are not dependent upon words."
  5. Periodically throughout the year withdraw (for a few hours or even multiple days) for the purpose of reorienting
Reflection Questions (taken from 'Spiritual Disciplines Handbook' by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun)
  1. How and when do you resist or avoid being alone?
  2. What tends to pop into your mind when you are alone?
  3. What do you resort to doing when alone?
  4. What troubles you or makes you antsy about being alone?
  5. When have you felt most comfortable being alone? Most uncomfortable?
  6. What sense of God do you have when you are alone?
Additional Reflection Questions (taken from 'Celebration of Discipline Study Guide' by Richard Foster)
  1. What is the difference between loneliness and solitude? Which do you experience more?
  2. Why do we need both solitude and community in order to function with spiritual success?
  3. Why do you think that solitude and silence are closely connected?
  4. What keeps you from solitude?
  5. What practical reordering of your life could be done in order to create more space for God?