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Prayer, meditation, and other spiritual disciplines are acts of silence and solitude. However, silence and solitude have driven many to insanity. On the other hand, quiet isolation has been the vehicle for many seekers to achieve serenity and greater self awareness. Intentionality is one of the key differences. Forcing someone into a prison of solitary confinement is torture, and it is quite likely to bring the madness. Yet I have read stories of medieval Christian monks who built up four solid walls around themselves — with no doors or windows — so as to devote themselves to prayer, meditation, and a life of contemplation. Here in McCarthy, Alaska, the two dozen or so locals who winter here do so, in large part, because they enjoy the quiet serenity of the winter mountains. Extended time spent in solitude and isolation brings us into contact with some tough internal shit. However, by daily engaging a spiritual practice — gently, intelligently, and at a safe pace — it is possible to confront and move past the inner demons and the difficult parts of our personality that trouble us.

One thought on “Solitude and the inner demons

  1. I too have contemplated weather living in a remote cabin like I do is either a life of contemplative solitude or prison, and the answer I found depends on my mood that day. Some days I have found I did my best creative work and others found depression making me look for a way to move. It can, for me, be a delicate balance on this road of life that I have chosen. I hope your road of life has fewer twists and turns than mine.

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