Sunday, October 23, 2011

Contemplation and solitude

"Hermit Woman"
Artist: Wojciech Gerson

Here is definitely one of my favorite sayings from the Desert Mothers:
Amma Syncletica said, "There are many who live in the mountains and behave as if they were in the town; they are wasting their time. It is possible to be a solitary in one's mind while living in a crowd; and it is possible for those who are solitaries to live in the crowd of their own thoughts."
This saying is one I rely upon when people remark to to me, "Funny; you don't look like a hermit."

I tend to answer, "When I look like a hermit, nobody sees me."

More to the point, however, is that the value of solitude is more in one's state of mind than whether one is literally (physically) around other people or not.


  1. But, with all due respect, there are few, like yourself Sister, who could endure the extreme life of a solitary renunciant, (those without spiritual communities of support). My hat is off to you for your ability to do so.

    As for the rest of us ordinary mortals, I find it is crucial to align myself with some kind of group support for meditation and spiritual practice and if you can get a great teacher thrown into the mix, consider yourself extremely fortunate.

    annie c

  2. Well, Annie. I wouldn't say my life is extreme. I'm not that heroic!

    Yes, there are elements of renunciation. But, you know, renunciation is not the vocation. Renunciation is in support of the vocation.

    If it were renunciation for its own sake, I don't think anybody could do it.


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