Loneliness is an inner emptiness; solitude is an inner fulfilment.
When we are alone we can hear the still small voice of God so that when we are with people we can better serve them.
If there is silence and solitude we are able to listen to God – the two go hand in hand. If we are alone, but we are watching TV or listening to the radio we may not be able to hear God clearly. Our solitude should be as devoid of distraction as possible.
(Note: For some people silence is a distraction. In this case I would recommend the use of music that will enable focus and not lead to further distraction. Music without words is often most helpful. Peaceful, calm music helps us relax and focus. Frantic music leads to frantic thoughts and doesn’t help us to slow down and focus. We should aim to develop the ability (discipline) of silence without distraction.)
We are so used to noise that we will do anything to fill the gaps of silence especially in groups. We often fill the gaps with meaningless waffle or humanly initiated religious talk that Foster calls the sacrifice of fools. The discipline of practising silence in groups can be helpful in developing the discipline of listening to others and to God and only saying what is necessary and important.
By experiencing solitude we receive the inner silence that our hearts crave. Even our minds are able to sift through and filter the noise of life and draw out that which is essential and vital.
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