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Advice from a mystic on accepting solitude

John of the Cross

St. John of the Cross gives a few helpful tips on how to handle being alone.

Solitude, even for religious men and women, can be difficult to endure. As humans, we are naturally social creatures and crave interaction with others.

However, it is also beneficial to spend time alone, something which many religious freely choose for the rest of their lives.

St. John of the Cross gives a few helpful tips to those struggling with solitude in Sayings of Light and Love. The key is to accept the solitude you experience and strive to listen to God as he seeks to teach you.

Don't look behind

If you desire to discover peace and consolation for your soul and to serve God truly, do not find your satisfaction in what you have left behind, because in that which now concerns you, you may be as impeded as you were before, or even more. But leave as well all these other things and attend to one thing alone that brings all these with it (namely, holy solitude, together with prayer and spiritual and divine reading), and persevere there in forgetfulness of all things.

Keep Heaven in mind

Preserve a habitual remembrance of eternal life, recalling that those who hold themselves the lowest and poorest and least of all will enjoy the highest dominion and glory in God.

Recognize that God is with you

Enter within yourself and work in the presence of your Bridegroom, who is ever present loving you.

Do not let anything disturb your heart

Strive to preserve your heart in peace; let no event of this world disturb it; reflect that all must come to an end.

Draw closer to God in solitude

The further you withdraw from earthly things the closer you approach heavenly things and the more you find in God!

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