Tonight, Stephen Batchelor will Zoom in from his home in France and speak to us on ‘the art of solitude’, which is coincidentally the title of a book he has just finished that is due to be published in January 2020. After his talk, he will respond to questions and comments.
The evening will start with a 20 minute meditation, and end with tea and biscuits.
Your generosity to Stephen for his life of teaching the dharma will be most welcome, either in cash on the night or as a charitable donation through Aotearoa Buddhist Education Trust to 38 9019 0064662 01. You can support Stephen using a debit card or credit card on his website here.
If you’re unable to make it in person, from wherever you are in the world you can join us on Zoom a little before 8pm NZDT – https://zoom.us/j/9195272569. Please ensure you mute your microphone while you are listening.
There is more to solitude than just being alone. True solitude is a state of mind that needs to be cultivated. You cannot switch it on or off at will. Solitude is an art. Mental training is needed to refine and stabilize it. When you practice solitude, you dedicate yourself to the care and cultivation of the soul. For many it provides the time and space to cultivate the inner calm and mental autonomy needed to engage effectively with the world. Moments of quiet contemplation, whether before a work of art or while observing your breath, allow you to rethink what your life is about and reflect on what matters most for you. Solitude is not a luxury for the leisured few. It is an inescapable dimension of being human. Whether we are devout believers or devout atheists, in solitude we confront the same existential questions.
– from the Preamble to The Art of Solitude, to be published by Random House on 28 January 2020.