Many people prefer giving themselves electric shocks to spending 6-15 minutes alone with their troubling thoughts. (1)
Our minds are conditioned to consume media all day long. When that constant input is taken away, our minds feel like they are starving. In this sense, being physically alone is not the same as entering into a state of solitude: “a subjective state of mind in which your mind is free from input from other minds.” (2)
True solitude “requires you to move past reacting to information created by other people and focus instead on your own thoughts and experiences—wherever you happen to be.” (3)
Focusing on our own unfiltered thoughts in solitude is a terrible trial: “it serves to crack open and burst apart the shell of our superficial securities.” (4) This is part of the reason we run to distractions – we are avoiding our real selves.
Jesus loves us as we really are. Do we even know the person that Jesus loves? We cannot, until we are forced to deal with ourselves in solitude. Then, we might have a shot at speaking honestly with God instead of pretending we are something we are not.
Taking our real selves into the presence of our All-Knowing Father is ultimately “the only entryway into genuine self- knowledge” (5).
Bring your honest, anxious, unfiltered, lustful, jealous, angry, slothful, fearful self to God. When you’re mind is uncomfortable and is therefore flinches to distractions, decide to return. He loves the real you and will welcome you back.
For a minimum of 6-15 minutes per day, pursue a state of solitude. You might be tempted to shock yourself, or, you might honestly end up speaking with God for the first time in a long time. It will be good for your soul.
There can be real blessings in the midst of real curses.
Header Photo: The Temptation in the Wilderness (1898)by Briton Rivière
- (1) https://science.sciencemag.org/content/345/6192/75
- (2) Cal Newport, Digital Minimalism, 93
- (3) Cal Newport, Digital Minimalism, 94
- (4) Louis Bouyer, The Spirituality of the New Testmanet and the Fathers, 313
- (5) Tim Keller, Prayer, 18
- (6) Matthew 14:13, Luke 22:41, John 6:15 etc.