What was the last thing that Jesus did, as a free man, immediately before his arrest by the Roman authorities acting on behalf of the high priests? What was his very last chosen action, before he gave up his civic freedom into the hands of his torturers and killers?
He did not scheme some “last stand”. He did not attempt to work out an escape, to buy more time. He did not hold hands with his tribe and seek comfort in numbers and a sing-song sing-song fake religiosity. He didn’t take those options. In the final minutes of his liberty, he went into a grove of trees to pray, to reflect on life and coming death — alone. He left friends, protectors, and disciples outside the grove, and entered into his solitude.
This is an excellent teaching from Jesus. It points us, too, to consciously seek out our silence and solitude. In the midst of the trials and tortures of everyday existence, it remains to us to choose the means by which we will not only maintain our sanity, but also hopefully be strong enough to help and serve other people, even while we are beset by the challenges and suffering of everyday life in stressful cities, jobs, or relationships. But you don’t get that just from reading a book. You must choose your periods of solitude. Only through periods of meditative calm away from distractions — even if just for short periods — can we remain stable and calm, grounded in our unmoving, completely fearless don’t-know mind.
(Excerpt from a talk in Haugesund, Norway, May 2019)