I just completed The Great Omission by Dallas Willard. The premise of the book is reclaiming Jesus' fundamental teachings about discipleship, especially as it pertains to the Great Commission's mandate to teach disciples to observe all the commands of Jesus. As one can imangine part of his discussion deals with spiritual disciplines or the means of grace which are God's gift to help us be conformed to the image of Christ. Two of the most challenging disciplines that he really emphasized were silence and solitude. They really go hand in hand.
He writes this about solitude and silence, "We practice these by finding ways to be alone and away from talk and noise. We rest, we observe, we 'smell the roses' - dare we say it? - we do nothing. . . . In drawing aside for lengthy periods of time, we seek to rid ourselves of the corrosion of soul that accrues from constant interaction with others and the world around us. In this place of quiet communion, we discover again that we do have souls, that we indeed have inner beings to be nurtured. 'Cease striving (be still) and know that I am God' (Ps. 46:10)."
He suggests that beginners in this disicpline start out in small increments of time, i.e. one hour, and then increase the amount of time. Willard pens, "What you have got to get to - and this today is regarded as almost sinful - is the point where you don't have anything to do." He applies the law of the Sabbath, which directs one to cease from labor. "The reason for that, you see, is that the Kingodm of God is so gentle that as long as we're acting, it usually just lets us go on. We can't turn loose of the world and the place we think we have in it. Isn't it interesting that the Kingdom of God is something that you would have to seek? Solitude is the primary way, and then, of course, silence within that solitude. It's a harowing disicpline, in the literal sense." (Willard)
Honestly, this is a discipline that I have not regularly practiced. Do any of you do this on a regular basis? Where do you go to avoid the distractions? What areas of your life have you changed because of solitude and silence? Do you agree with Willard's assessment of these disciplines?