The Solitude Project
An Experiment in the Ecology of Solitude
IN SOLITUDE, many people experience the most serene and deeply profound moments of their lives, often when alone.
Solitude has been a wellspring of great insights throughout human existence. Buddha under the Bodhi tree, Jesus in the wilderness, Muhammad’s yearly withdrawal to the cave at Hera – these experiences-in-the-quiet are a foundation and common ground for the world’s great spiritual traditions.
Solitude is a state of awareness most people are able to experience, if only for a few fleeting moments. As individuals, we vary greatly in our natural preferences and capacities for solitude and community.
When we try to find a balance between our inner contemplative nature and our social concerns, we encounter an ageless puzzle. Thomas Merton called it the Contemplative Dilemma. It is often felt acutely by those of us dedicated to interfaith and other community work which can span from family to global. Since nature is also part of our greater community, this balancing becomes an experiment in the ecology of solitude.
The Solitude Project is a quest to make solitude a significant part of life while maintaining a meaningful relationship to community. It is an ongoing real-life experiment, encouraged by those in our interfaith community who understand the practical significance of such work. It is a work in progress.
The Project’s objective on this website is to encourage both the exploration of solitude and the seeking of balance between our outer and inner “good work”.
● Section 1: THE ECOLOGY OF SOLITUDE
Here you can plunge right in. You can discover which kinds of solitude you experience, and how you balance solitude and community. You can join activists to save the last places of natural quietness.
● Section 2: A QUEST FOR SOLITUDE
Visit a fellow traveler on this quest.
● Section 3: CONTINUING THE QUEST
Learn how solitude contributes to community. Discover resources to fuel the next stage of your own quest. Contribute your own experiences and questions.
You are invited to enter each of the three sections in any order: