At the slightest hint of boredom, you can now surreptitiously glance at any number of apps or mobile-adapted websites that have been optimized to provide you an immediate and satisfying dose of input from other minds. It’s now possible to completely banish solitude from your life.

~ Cal Newport from,

Newport is on-point. (Although, “surreptitiously” is not how I would describe some people’s use of our current mobile technology.)

There is also an exquisite and rare variety of solitude found in the presence of others. In such instances, the other serves to reinforce the value of the solitude. The implicit suggestion that those present could choose to end the solitude makes it all the more sublime.


Busy idleness

Some men are preoccupied even in their leisure. In a country house, upon a couch, in the midst of solitude, though they are inaccessible to others, they are troublesome to themselves; their life cannot be called leisurely but rather a busy idleness.

~ Seneca


Retreat and reflection

In this place, you remove yourself from the busy world and find space for quiet. For reflection. For contemplation, setting intentions, reviewing how things have gone. For gratitude and appreciation for life.

You might meditate, relax, read, journal. You might take a walk in nature, or find solitude. You might just mindfully enjoy the space.

~ Leo Babauta from,

What I like about this prompting from Babauta is that it’s about creating space for retreat and reflection; it’s not about necessarily going to some specific, special place. I’ve spent several years arranging and rearranging my life to create space for retreat and reflection in my daily life. It’s not easy. It hasn’t been easy. …on me or on those around me. I had gotten to the place I was gradually by taking small steps, day after day, in the wrong direction. So turning around was difficult, and beginning to walk back was close to impossible.

But it was possible. It is possible.

Do you have 5 minutes every day where you can retreat and reflect? If you don’t, try it for a few days. Set aside a specific time and work to arrange your life (including the people in your life) to make that small space sacred.


The Spiritual Disciplines: Solitude and Silence

The need for silence and solitude obviously seems incredibly relevant to the over-convenienced citizens of the modern world who feel saturated with the ceaseless noise that issues from every corner of their lives. But as mentioned at the start, men have in fact craved these states for thousands of years, long before anything digital, or electronic, or urban ever existed.

What accounts for the timeless, seemingly universal appeal of quiet seclusion?

~ Brett McKay from


Day 34/100 – the Master and I

(Part 36 of 104 in series, 100 Days of Training (2017))

I was recently listening to a podcast with Jerzy Gregorek where he was talking about our internal ‘voices’. (the Fatalist, the Master, et al) He was describing how weight lifting had awaked his internal Master… it clicked for me this morning as I went out the door. “fitness” versus “training”. Solitude. Hard work well done. My internal Master — the master of me, not a master of others — has slowly awakened these past few years and knew what I should do this morning. 20 min trail run up here, work on this one route until my hands have had enough.


The End of Solitude: Overtaken by Technology

How, then, can we find and embrace emptiness in the sea of digital activity we swim through every day? The possibility of constant communication and information can make us allergic to absence. It’s not just that the technology is ubiquitous, invasive, and addicting. Its presence in our lives belies the deeper issue that the Wilson study touched upon: the ability to sit still with ourselves.

~ Susan Cain from,


First, be okay with yourself

All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.

Blaise Pascal from,ées

There are many advantages to having some time alone, (while doing nothing,) each day. Not least of which is some inoculation against the disease of needing to be constantly distracted and entertained.

If you immediately fall asleep when sitting alone, excellent! Your body was trying to tell you it needed sleep, and you weren’t listening. Come back when you’ve finished your cat-nap.

…back? Refreshed?

If meditation seems inconceivable… If the idea of being alone, doing nothing, makes your skin crawl… then start with doing things alone, and work up from there.

You, like many people, might get stuck on the idea that being alone is like having some sort of disease—even if you’re the kind of person that prefers being alone. You might skip movies in the theater if you have to attend in solitude. Or maybe you criticize yourself for eating lunch at your desks instead of with coworkers or friends. Perhaps you spend too much of our time out with others because you just don’t know what to do when you’re by yourself. With a little work, however, you can make your alone time much more productive.

~ Adam Dachis from,