In silence and solitude, in the emptiness of hunger and the worthiness of the wilds, men and women have taken refuge in the continuum of bare truth. John Muir once wrote, “I only went out for a walk, and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.” Silence is where we learn to listen, where we learn to see. Holding silence, being held by stillness, Buddhists and tribal people go alone to the wilderness “to stop and see,” to renew their truth, to return to the knowledge of the extensiveness of self and the truth of no self.
The ceremony of the vision fast and the eremitic and yogic traditions of Buddhism are not solipsistic endeavors. Often we must go outside society to confirm that we live inside the continuum of creation. One seeks solitude to know relatedness.