Suggestions for Further Reading of Celebration of Discipline, Chapter 7
Jesus spent four days alone in the desert before his public ministry. When he was choosing twelve disciples the next day, he spent whole night in prayer in solitude. Jesus withdrew by a boat to solitary place when he heard about death of John the Baptist. Jesus withdrew himself from thousands of crowds and went to be in solitude in hillside just before he fed five thousand people excluding children and women. The author of the Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster has presented so many examples of Jesus Christ who celebrated, enjoyed, and blessed solitude. Among those examples, I want to cultivate a Christian character of solitude like withdrawing myself from work even though it is very important. Rather I want to be in solitude and spend time in prayer and devotion. Jesus himself withdrew himself from going to preach the kingdom of heaven for a while when he heard about the death of John, the Baptist. But he spent time in prayer and sought guidance from the Father at that time.
Foster says that inner silence and inner solitude are inseparable. They are interrelated with each other as silence compensates solitude. We should understand the transforming power of silence to know solitude. The purpose of silence and solitude is to be able to see and hear. We come to understand through silence and solitude to speak concisely when we should speak.
Sometimes I jump unnecessarily to explain or justify myself because I am afraid of what other people are thinking about me. Foster says that our tongue is a thermometer, which shows the temperature of our spirit. Further, he adds that it is also a thermostat which regulates the spiritual temperature. According to this approach, I am still very spiritually immature, and I need to learn more. The process of learning will never end. It is life-long process. Without knowing what the reaction of my explanation will be, I jump off quickly to put in plain words whatever I feel. Many times, my explanation does not make any sense because the man to whom I am describing has not even thought about it. My mental imaginary turns to mere hypothesis.
Therefore, we should not be quick to speak before observing the real situation and understanding the people. They will not be thinking what we are thinking. Probably, we shall not have done mistakes, though we should not try to justify ourselves until there is not time to open our mouth in that regards.
Reflection Point for Journal Entry
Although being in solitude does not necessarily include the solitary place, I have found some time to be in solitude in both aspect – in the state of mind, heart, and in place as well. The practice of solitude shed light on my personal perception on the discipline of solitude. It helped me to be in solitude though I was sitting with friends. I had just a glimpse of solitude amidst crowd and commotion. But comparatively, the practice of solitude in solitary places was more effective. I felt God and his deep whispering when there was no distraction from outside world. Thus, I got privilege to hear from God in solitude. Through those times, I learned that God wants me to be still unless I need to speak. The practice also encouraged me to spend time in solitude in this busy world no matter where I am.