My first introduction to solitude was driving a tractor when I was in high school. While my primary gift was destroying farm equipment, quiet hours did become days, which became weeks in detached and precise pasture shredding. There was something Zen-like in spending time with my thoughts. Since I was a teenager, my thoughts weren’t particularly Zen-like–they were anything but transformational. My idea of nirvana would was a movie date the following Saturday, which was as far as I planned ahead.
While I’m at Bastrop FSC, I want to seriously explore the beneficial aspects of solitude and meditation. That can be challenging when I have 87 roommates, but it can also be challenging when there are children to raise or a demanding career to manage. We all have our excuses.
Of course I’m not just referring to being alone. It’s about where the mind goes while I’m alone. One of my favorite spiritual writers is Richard Rohr who believes that western Christianity needs to rediscover the importance of contemplative meditation. As a recovering Baptist, I never learned about meditation in Sunday School. Now we do like to pray, but that’s more talking than listening. We occasionally throw out the idea of “quiet time” as if it’s supposed to just happen spontaneously. It doesn’t.
My feeble attempts before camp led me to either fall asleep or to remember something that I needed to do immediately. I may not be the most contemplative person, but at least here I’m getting plenty of sleep and I certainly don’t have anything that needs to be done immediately, so those factors shouldn’t be an obstacle.
Obviously this is a discipline. It’s not going to just happen.
I’ll keep you posted on how it goes.