The monastic tradition in the Christian world has these 3 magic S that have been present since the Fathers of the Desert, the 3rd Century, mostly hermit monks in Egypt: Silence, Stillness and Solitude. They were never ‘packaged’ like that, just found each other.
In the 6th Century, an Italian monk called Benedict created a little book, with heavy editing from previous ones, called The Rule , which became a rather prescriptive manual for his embryonic monasteries. The first line on the first page starts with ‘Listen!’ The book without amendments since, is still the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), excuse my language, for Christian monasteries across the world. And there are lots of them.
Most spiritual traditions will have some presence of, or combinations of the trio: Silence, Stillness and Solitude. Their collective power is beyond our imagination, but the challenge is how to practice them in our world today.
Silence is not meditation. Stillness is not doing yoga. Solitude is not sitting in a corner in Starbucks with your airpods on.
Silence is not the absence of noise. Stillness is not catatonia. Solitude is certainly not loneliness.
But how can we inject them? Practice them? Make them our friends?
I can tell you that they are mine. But they are annoying friends. They never come when I need them and turn up for dinner when I am not ready. I can’t domesticate them
Will our kids ever know them?
Leandro’s new book Camino – Leadership Notes on the Road is available to buy from all major online retailers.
To get a flavour – see downloadable extract: Camino – Extract Chapter 2 part 1