There are those who claim that there is no place for solitary contemplative living in Judaism. The example of the Arizal (Rabbi Yitzchok Luria Ashkenazi 1534–1572) would suggest that this is far from being the case.
In many ways this giant of Jewish mysticism is actually one of the greatest exponents of meditation in solitude and a true exemplar of the immense value of a life of prayer and extended silent retreat undertaken for the sake of the entire Community of Israel.
The Arizal’s devoted disciple, Rabbi Chayim Vital (1543–1620), gives us the facts:
After he was married, he spent seven years meditating…with his master, Rabbi Betzalel Ashkenazi. He then meditated alone for six years. He then added to this, meditating…for two years straight in a house on the Nile. There he would remain alone, utterly isolated, not speaking to any human being. The only time he would return home would be on the eve of the Sabbath…But even at home he would not speak to anyone, not even his wife.
This period of extended retreat produced a Kabbalistic system that revolutionised many aspects of Jewish mysticism, but it also produced a man who saw prayer as a form of action that was community-based. Two famous quotes from his teachings (again recorded by Rabbi Chayim Vital) should serve to make this clear:
Before beginning the recitation of any liturgical prayer service, The Ari encourages all Jewish contemplatives to bear in mind their place within the Kehal Yisroel by making the following declaration of intent:
Hareini mekabel alai mitsvat asei shel ve-ahavta le-re'akha kamokha
(I hereby accept upon myself the positive commandment to love one’s fellow as oneself.)
The second quote from the teachings of the Arizal reads:
Even though a person may not have committed a [particular]sin, he must beg forgiveness and confess it...for if another Jew has committed this sin it is as if he himself had done it. For this reason, the confession is written in the plural. 
This concept is a development of the Talmudic principle of “kol Yisrael areivim zeh lazeh” (all of Israel is responsible one for the other), but in the Lurianic context it is stated as part of his insistence that the whole of Israel is like One Body. For the Arizal, the contemplative at prayer is engaged in a form of tikkun to heal ailing parts of that body. One who feels the suffering of the Community will merit seeing the salvation of the Community.
It is impossible for the authentic Jewish Contemplative to separate from the community—even in solitary retreat we are always at its heart.
If we bind ourselves to the whole Community of Israel and to those individual souls that we pray for, our prayer in solitude becomes a community act. When someone requests our prayers for a cause or asks us to daven for a particular person, and when we stand in deepest liturgical prayer and beg for the union of The Name: all our praying is an act of love for the community.
Jewish Contemplative meditation is neither an anti-stress therapy nor an exercise in self-focussed escapism. It is a form of community service.
When we pray with kavanah, we make an act of deveykus that binds us to each other as well as to G-d.
Menachem Av 5/ July 17 2018
 translated by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan and quoted on p159 of “The Way of The Jewish Mystics”, ed.Perle Besserman,Shambala, Boston &London 1994
 Pri Eitz Chayim,Olam Ha –Asiyah 1:3:2.
 Likutei Torah, Taamei HaMitzvos (Vayikra 19:18)
 Shavuos 39a
 Ta’anit 11a