My podcast partner, Alessandra, and I were inspired to have an episode on seclusion. We thought it would be more powerful to speak on the subject after each doing a recent seclusion so we could talk more experientially than theoretically. So, last week I did a seclusion for seven hours while my kids were at school and my husband was at work. I was really happy with the results, as well as surprised because I wasn't sure the impact would be noticeable considering the narrow time window I had to give to it.
Let's take a moment to level-set about what I am even talking about with seclusion. Seclusion is giving yourself an intentional amount of time alone in silence. It works because you are giving a longer amount of time to live in that rhythm of stillness which you are harnessing in meditation. In silence you are giving yourself time to settle inwardly and really saturate yourself in peace.
There are many ways to observe a seclusion. You can make a point to be out in nature, you can go somewhere and have more of a retreat experience where you are out of the home environment which takes away that temptation to be drawn into day-to-day tasks, or you can remain home when you can be by yourself. I chose to stay home and remain in silence as much as I could.
I will go into more detail about the ins-and-outs of my seclusion in the upcoming podcast on the topic and focus here more on the results. I won't go as far to say that I was dreading my seclusion as it approached, but it could be said I was feeling unsure about if it was the best use of my time. One of my areas of improvement on the spiritual path is my task-driven approach to life. Spending an entire day being inwardly focused and really nurturing my spirit meant that I was not using my time to work through things waiting to be completed. In the grand scheme of things it is easy to see which is more important (and, as such, I cringe a little writing about this small internal conflict as it seems so shortsighted in black-and-white), but as the day approached seclusion simply seemed a little impractical.
I expected at the very least to feel a little peaceful as the time came to a close. I thought the time would probably go slowly and I might be eager for my 3:00 end time to arrive. I knew it would be beneficial - after all, Paramhansa Yogananda said, "Seclusion is the price of greatness" - but I thought the changes would be subtle and perhaps not even perceivable on the narrow conscious level. Although I am home a lot during the week, I typically leave each day if not to teach meditation then to run errands and/or enjoy some coffee out.
I was, therefore, very pleasantly surprised that the results of the seclusion were noticeably deeper meditations and a vastly different level of stillness internally by the end of the seven hours. I meditated at the beginning and toward the end of the seclusion, and by the second one I could tell I was starting the meditation from a higher-than-normal level of awareness, stillness, and consciousness. By the time my kids came home, I was much more centered than normal and felt that I was filled with an ocean of peace.
That's not all! After the seclusion I felt that I was living from a higher octave, and that sense remained for a couple of days. My meditation the next morning again felt that I was starting from a higher point (like the second meditation in seclusion had) of stillness and awareness. Eventually, those perceivable effects lessened, and at this point I feel that I have come back to around that same vibration from which I started before the seclusion. However, it seems logical to me that if the effects I could perceive were so noticeable then there must have been other positive changes on a much subtler level which I could not perceive, and I imagine those are longer-lasting. I understand anew Yogananda's proclamation about seclusion being the price of greatness, and I am ready to begin folding them into my life with much more regularity!
I am an Ananda® certified meditation teacher. I am passionate about meditation and embrace a yogic lifestyle for greater wellness physically, spiritually, and emotionally.
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