The value of solitude isn’t simply in retreating from a chaotic world. It’s a discipline that’s different for all of us — and one that we can practice wherever we are.
From remembering police captain and dharma teacher Cheri Maples to soliciting perspectives on solitude and being alone, our editor in chief’s list of the week’s most compelling commentaries on motherhood, solitude, eldering, male vulnerability, and exile.
Our columnist gets honest about missing true solitude as a mother of young girls, and reflects on how crucial it is for women to carve out space to nurture no one but themselves.
Be the first to try out our new On Being discovery tool for exploring hundreds of conversations in our archives! And, excellent writings on privilege, solitude, and productivity to accompany your listening.
We can communicate with almost anybody at any moment and all the time. But are we losing our capacity to be alone, and therefore our ability to think anew? Rediscovering this ability just may be pivotal to the health of democracy.
Animated by solitude in the winter woods, Parker J. Palmer on seeing the hidden and potential beauty beneath what’s superficial in the world we face.
As we turn the seasonal corner to the longest nights of the year, a reflection on the time we spend in the darkness, and what we can learn from it before turning back to the light.
The search for fulfillment feels endless, but what if the answer dwells around and among us? Contemplations on the joyful wisdom embedded in work and in life.
The Camino de Santiago is a well-trodden path for pilgrimage and silent reflection with other wayfarers. But with the increasingly ubiquitous presence of Wi-Fi, is it encroaching on the aspects of what makes the adventure special?
The announcement of our newest podcast offering contemplations on the nature of participation in the world, and opportunities to become inextricable from the questions.
When the demands of daily life drain us, a respite in solitude is exactly what we need. A testament to the power of aloneness to reconnect us with the steady sense of self we lose.
The catharsis of living up to challenge, in all walks of life — essays on powering through the hardest miles in a marathon to facing a crowd of unfamiliar strangers, to reckoning with one’s best and worst selves while reflecting in the solitude of the woods.
On a retreat at a cabin in the northern woods of Wisconsin, Parker Palmer strings together pearls of contemplation on silence and solitude. With the help of Merton and Rumi, he finds the catharsis of being forced to reckon with one’s angels and demons.
With the world at our fingertips, why get dressed and go out at all? Jane Gross on being alone, venturing to the magic of a movie theater, and contentedly being alone in a crowd.
Alain de Botton’s short piece of writing on love and loneliness is elegantly handled in this animated short by Hannah Jacobs and Lara Lee.
We desire to live in meaningful ways, but how do we do so in a rapidly moving modern world? A Benedictine oblate scribes seven principles to help live a compassionate, contemplative, and creative life.
A veteran outdoorsman finds comfort in the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson. For this self-described river rat, nature is the circumstance which dwarfs every other circumstance.
The writer’s words from 1955 resonate even more profoundly today in an era of technological ubiquity. A meditation on the gifts of solitude, loneliness, and silence.
In this final installment of a four-part meditation on the interior emptiness of the East Antarctic ice cap, the author and explore reflects on the impossibility of intimacy in the presence of impermanence.
In this third essay from a four-part meditation on the interior emptiness of the East Antarctic ice cap, the author and explorer navigates the inner life, an elusive and meandering journey, as he contemplates the solipsistic continent.
The second of a four-part meditation on the interior emptiness of the East Antarctic ice cap. In “Absence,” a reflection on how emptiness feeds a strange beauty, an oblivion of white.
The first of a four-part meditation on the interior emptiness of the East Antarctic ice cap. In “Arrival, the author explores the dance between ice and idea, wondering how the ice cap “challenges our notions of place and self.”
Silence, as Gordon Hempton experiences and seeks to preserve it, is not a vacuum defined by emptiness. It’s not an absence of sound, but an absence of noise. True quiet has presence, he says, and is a “think tank of the soul.” It is quiet that is quieting.