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"Solitude & Silence"

The Gift of Summer Silence

We are encouraged, from a young age, to be in the company of others.

We could say, “It is natural for a human being to be with others.” Often, we think of those who are happy to be alone as “hermits.”         

We are “herd” people. There is the constant challenge to fit in. “Think like the herd.”         

In recent years, the alternative has been presented as a healthy lifestyle: to spend time in silence. Or we may say, “to be with self and celebrate self.”

Except, we live in a world full of activity; a society which judges being at leisure as ‘unproductive.’ Society has therefore, (my interpretation) provided us with what one person has described as “drugs of our own choice”:

  • electronic gadgets,

  • news media,

  • blaring music,

  • chatting online, 

  • technology like Facebook or digital chatting.

At the same time, there are demands from the workplace. People are constantly being asked to work overtime, or to be 24/7 available by phone.            

All the time, we are missing one of the greatest gifts—self.         

To discover self, we need to employ the tool of silence.

If you are introverted, you are likely very comfortable with solitude and silence. If you are extroverted, discovering self-solitude takes effort and work. Leadership expert, Robin Sharma, writes,

‘You cannot be comfortable in society, if you are deeply uncomfortable alone.’ (         

Sharma recommends what he calls “The 3S Focus.” The focus on Silence, Stillness, and Solitude.

For many, this is not an easy formula to attain and practice. I speak from my own personal experience, and what I would describe as ‘needing people.’ Those who know me best would agree.         

At the same time, I do find solitude, and being in the company of silence, energizing. One of the gifts of summer vacations (when we had our camper) was to be at the lake, and simply ‘to be in the quiet of nature.’

To observe the gift of nature is energizing.         

Henry David Thoreau, philosopher, writes:

“I find it wholesome to be alone the greater part of the time. To be in the company, even with the best, is soon wearisome and dissipating. I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.”         

Friends, I encourage each of us to discover some solitude this summer and to spend time with your best friend, yourself.

Blessings for this week,  
Archdeacon Brian+