Monday is AUM-day; in search of meditation
SOLITUDE. Does it serve a purpose for the meditator? Does it have to mean 'lonely'? We are going to explore the writings of a number of notable contemplatives of various backgrounds and explore the role of solitude in spiritual pursuit. These are from a collection published by Chinmaya Publications.
A passage quoted from 'The Eternal Now' by Paul Tillich is now presented.
Sometimes God thrusts us out of the crowd into a solitude we did not desire, but which nonetheless takes hold of us. The prophet Jeremiah says -- "I sit alone, because thy hand was upon me." God sometimes lays hands upon us. He wants us to ask the question of truth that may isolate us from most men, and that can be asked only in solitude. He wants us to ask the question of justice that may bring us suffering and death, and that can grow in us only in solitude. He wants us to break through the ordinary ways of man that may bring disrepute and hatred upon us, a breakthrough that can happen only in solitude. He wants us to penetrate to the boundaries of our being, where the mystery of life appears, and it can only appear in moments of solitude. There may be some among you who long to become creative in some realm of life. But you cannot become or remain creative without solitude. One hour of conscious solitude will enrich your creativity far more than hours of trying to learn the creative process.
In these moments of solitude something is done to us. The centre of our being, the innermost self that is the ground of our aloneness, is elevated to the divine centre and taken into it. Therein can we rest without losing ourselves.
And perhaps when we ask -- what is the innermost nature of solitude? we should answer -- the presence of the eternal upon the crowded roads of the temporal. It is the experience of being alone but not lonely, in view of the eternal presence that shines through the face of the Christ, and that includes everybody and everything from which we are separated. In the poverty of solitude all riches are present. Let us dare to have solitude -- to face the eternal, to find others, to see ourselves.