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The Art Of Solitude

Stephen Batchelor

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“Whatever a soul is, the author goes a long way toward soothing it. A very welcome instance of philosophy that can help readers live a good life.”—Kirkus Reviews



“Elegant and formally ingenious.”—Geoff Wisner, Wall Street Journal

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, 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.