Why We Need Solitude

“When society is made up of men who know no interior solitude it can no longer be held together by love: and consequently it is held together by a violent and abusive authority.”

Thomas Merton

I have a problem. My anxiety over the Ukraine war is bad.

Is it just me or do you, too, feel deep pain and disappointment over this level of human cruelty? This cruelty that is all in the name of ‘winning’. I watched the atrocities and then have had to transition to reading about them. I could no longer bear to watch the events unfolding on television.

The Need for Solitude and Silence

So now, I have gone into a phase of contemplation. Solitude and occasional silence. You see, there are times when we need to withdraw to think. Sometimes, we need to pull away to pray or meditate. We need to do this instead of constantly reacting and then, oversharing. This is because a stressed disposition makes us act emotionally, irrationally and yes, even impetuously.

We tarnish our own reputations and muddy our real message. We might even contradict ourselves. And the thing is, in times like these, everything we say and do not say, adds up to what we represent and what we show others we are. We may trigger unintended responses and reactions.

Withdrawing into Solitude

And so solitude and contemplation is called for at times.

And the thing is, this concept of dedicated solitude is far from new. Christianity speaks of the withdrawal of Jesus into the Judean desert. He fasted for 40 days. It is said that he was tempted by the devil toward the end of this time but Jesus succeeded in rebuffing the temptations offered to him. And then Jesus began his spiritual teaching. Many other religions have their foundations in solitude, meditation and prayer.

Solitude as a Salve

“We need to rotate into silence and solitude to maintain our morale, emotional balance, and ability to continue the fight. This respite allows us to re-orient our priorities, re-direct our compass — re-commit to a greater purpose that may have gotten lost in the little details of daily life”, according to ‘The Spiritual Disciplines: Solitude and Silence’;https://www.artofmanliness.com/character/behavior/spiritual-disciplines-solitude-silence/

Solitude can be self-strengthening. “When preconditions are met, solitude can be restorative.” and “…it is necessary for a truly healthy mind.”, according to The Atlantic, https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2017/03/the-virtues-of-isolation/521100/


Times of solitude are integral to our mental health and spiritual growth. They are necessary in our soul journeys; see Captain of My Soul. We need solitude to, most of all renew and refresh us. So as to faithfully fulfill our life’s purpose and calling in the world.

person standing on pathway
A journey to a place of solitude
Photo by Andrew Neel on Pexels.com

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