Art of Solitude
A moving and wide-ranging meditation on being alone with others in this world When world renowned Buddhist writer Stephen Batchelor turned sixty, he took a sabbatical from his teaching and turned his attention to solitude, a practice integral to the meditative traditions he has long studied and taught. He aimed to venture more deeply into solitude, discovering its full extent and depth. This beautiful literary collage documents his multifaceted explorations. Spending time in remote places, appreciating and making art, practicing meditation and participating in retreats, drinking peyote and ayahuasca, and training himself to keep an open, questioning mind have all contributed to Batchelor's ability to be simultaneously alone and at ease. Mixed in with his personal narrative are inspiring stories from solitude's devoted practitioners, from the Buddha to Montaigne, and from Vermeer to Agnes Martin. In a hyperconnected world that is at the same time plagued by social isolation, this book shows how to enjoy the inescapable solitude that is at the heart of human life.
"Forty years in the making, The Art of Solitude could not have come at a better time or from anyone else. Beautifully written, Batchelor's wisdom shines through on every page, leading the reader on an engaging and illuminating journey into the very needed solitude about which he writes."
—Judson Brewer, author of The Craving Mind
"The Art of Solitude is a marvel. Carefully constructed and entirely original, it sings with a haunting melody of wistful contemplation. Reading it is a true joy."
—Mark Epstein, author of Thoughts without a Thinker
"With his long experience of Buddhism, meditation, and teaching it is hard to think of anyone better equipped to write about the art of solitude than Stephen Batchelor."
"In this exquisite contemplation on solitude that is intimate, brave, and wise, Batchelor brings us to the vast center of his life and realization."
—Roshi Joan Halifax, Abbot, Upaya Zen Center
"Batchelor's graceful writing guides us to the innermost recesses of solitude, illuminating it as a practice, way of life, and inescapable dimension of being human."
—Evan Thompson, author of Why I Am Not a Buddhist and Waking, Dreaming, Being