Saturday, January 22, 2005

Rocket Science

Deep Thoughts by Captainwow and others.

"The Voice in the Garden of Solitude

Solitude is the garden for our hearts, which yearn for love. It is the place where our aloneness can bear fruit. It is the home for our restless bodies and anxious minds. Solitude, whether it is connected with a physical space or not, is essential for our spiritual lives. It is not an easy place to be, since we are so insecure and fearful that we are easily distracted by whatever promises immediate satisfaction. Solitude is not immediately satisfying, because in solitude we meet our demons, our addictions, our feelings of lust and anger, and our immense need for recognition and approval. But if we do not run away, we will meet there also the One who says, "Do not be afraid. I am with you, and I will guide you through the valley of darkness."

Let's keep returning to our solitude."

This was in my email yesterday. I subscribe to the Henri Nouwen daily meditation email group and it's really been groovy. This sort of dovetails with something else I read that maybe you'll identify with as much as I did. I've been marinating with this a few days now, and it may not be time yet to try to put this into words but I'm going to try because - well, because I'm geeked about it. Let me know what you think if you have time!

I'm still chewing slowly through the book No Man Is An Island by Thomas Merton. If you haven't read anything by him and have the time and patience to ruminate on stuff like that, do read it. He wrote an essay that is included in that book called THE MEASURE OF CHARITY. In that he said this: "For love is not found in the void that exists between our being and the being of the one we love. There is an illusion of unity between us when our thoughts, our words, or our emotions draw us out of ourselves and suspend us together for a moment over the void. But when this moment has ended, we must return into ourselves or fall into the void. There is no true love except in God, Who is the source both of our own being and of the being we love."

If you're one of those people who have never struggled with stuff like this then good for you - But for people like me who do not naturally come by the ability to move in and out and around times of intimacy with ease and comfort, this stuff is really not so Elementary, My Dear Watson.
If I must return into myself or fall into the void, then it seems logical that I need to be comfortable in myself, or else it would be miserable to be either place. Solitude, not loneliness, must be the result of being alone. There have been times I've enjoyed solitude, and mostly I do now. Sometimes though, I get a little panicky and find myself feeling grabby and needy and overwhelmed by what bubbles to the surface when I'm alone long enough. And then I am lonely. It is at those times I find myself wanting to hang on to those moments of intimacy - to stay suspended forever and never go back into myself.

Merton says in another part of that same essay: "But there is no true intimacy between souls who do not know how to respect one another's solitude."
And "Thus our love will begin with the knowledge of its own limitations and rise to the awareness of its greatness."

Thank God there's hope.


  • These are some good thinky-thoughts!

    By Blogger Headless-in-GR, at 1/22/2005 5:13 PM  

  • Captainwow, I like a lot of things Henri Nouwen says too.

    I have been pondering this Merton stuff about the need to return to ourselves or slip into the void after the "moment" of unity has ended. I am thinking I am going to have to read up on this some more. And I am wondering if there have been times when I have mistakenly thought I was in solitude when in reality, I had slipped into the void. I did not think I minded going into myself. I thought my problem was that I spend too much time within myself. So your writing brings up all sorts of interesting tangents for me.

    For me, true intimacy is scarier than solitude. And when I find it, which is not that often because I tend to be so self-protective, I often cling too tightly, afraid of losing that precious feeling of truly being seen by another, and accepted for who I am.

    There, NOW I have said more than I meant to! Deep thoughts, indeed, Captainwow.


    By Blogger annie, at 1/23/2005 6:43 PM  

  • WOW

    "For love is not found in the void that exists between our being and the being of the one we love. There is an illusion of unity between us when our thoughts, our words, or our emotions draw us out of ourselves and suspend us together for a moment over the void..."

    Hits home. One of my stumbling blocks has been over this illusion. Is love real? Is love a connection? a feeling? Something that we do? Can love be a one way street?

    Some good stuff.

    Take Care

    By Blogger Michael, at 1/24/2005 10:01 AM  

  • i rarely posts on blogs of folks i don't know with book recommendations, but if you like no man is an island, you must read "the intimate merton" by patrick hart. it is a compilation of merton's journals and has given me great insight as to his wit, wisdom, depth. great read.

    i subscribe to nouwen's daily email and blogged about solitude yesterday (actually, just copied the email and posted it) because i am a gal that is more comfortable in solitude any more than i am in community. who knew they went hand-in-hand?


    By Blogger ~m2~, at 1/25/2005 7:00 AM  

  • Beautiful post, Wow. Nouwen nailed it with that picture, I think.
    I'm remembering times in my life when the loneliness was oppressive, and the only thing that brought me to the place of peace (I guess solitude is the same thing) was faith that I wasn't alone in the darkness. I just never thought of it the way Nouwen put it.
    It is so hard when we're our own personal mire of self doubt to stand firm in the muck waiting for God. But we know he comes.
    Thanks for sharing your heart so well.

    By Blogger Just Pat, at 1/26/2005 6:12 AM  

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