The idea of eschewing others in a search for spiritual enlightenment or knowledge is far from new; seekers and mystics have been doing it for centuries. Of course, it’s harder to find true solitude in these times of cell phones, over-crowding, and other trappings of modernity. Robert Kull had to go to a small island off the coast of Chile to find his solitude and from that year-long experience he wrote Solitude: Seeking Wisdom in Extremes.

Solitude is a mixture of journal entries from his time on the island and more typical chapters that reflect on the broader issues he ran into. On the down side, the writing isn’t always clean and logical in its flow and pacing. It does, however, convey a clear idea of how much anguish, joy, insight, and uncertainty Kull experienced during his time.

This is an adventure book as much as it is a spiritual one. The physical events Kull experienced (and documents beautifully) are as relevant as his unsparing analysis of himself.

Like the ancient anchors and hermits, he expected to find enlightenment and answers he could take back to others that would ease suffering and make life a little better. Instead he found no answers – which may be what delighted me the most about this book.

That may sound cynical, but it was that realization that led Kull to understand that the answers are only relevant in the moment, and the moment has already passed; that our evolution towards becoming spiritually perfect beings is an ongoing process. We can’t expect it, we can’t make it happen, it happens on its own time, at its own pace.

Four quiet breezes out of five.

~review by Lisa Mc Sherry

Author: Robert Kull

New World Library, 2008

pp. 320, $23.95