At critical moments in his life, Jesus was in solitude, but was solitary with his close disciples. When he knew he was a marked man waiting for the midnight knock on the door, or in his case the betrayer’s kiss in the garden, his instinct was to go near to the desert—a place associated both with solitude and with the deepest of all relationships, in the ground of being. And he went there with those human beings whom he understood best and who, for all their failings, understood him best. Solitude is truthful and often delightful, even when painful. Loneliness is a hell made up of the illusion of separateness. In solitude we are capable of strong and deep relationship because in solitude we discover our uniqueness, even (or perhaps, especially) if that uniqueness is associated with death. If meditation is about getting free from attachments and going to the desert of solitude, it is also about the discovery of the communion with others we call community. Knowing that we are with fellow disciples in the presence of our teacher is, even when things are falling apart, a source of incomparable joy.
— from the book Sensing God: Learning to Meditate during Lent by Laurence Freeman, OSB