In last week’s blog, Jyotish talked about some of the insights he received during his seclusion. Today I’d like to share with you also some that came to me during this time (or more accurately this “time out.”)
As soon as I closed the door and entered the Crystal Hermitage Guest House, where I spent my seclusion, I was filled with a lovely sensation. Usually, as we deal with daily life, we feel our time is broken up into many discrete units, each with its own demands. There’s the time to get up, to make breakfast, go to work, have meetings, answer emails, pick up the children, and on it goes. . . . And as we huff and puff our way through each day, we never seem to have enough time to get everything done—we simply “run out of time.”
But knowing that I had no commitments for a week, I had the wonderful feeling as I began my seclusion that I had stepped “out of time” in a different sense of the words: I was “outside” of time and could simply rest in the present moment. It’s surprising how rich that experience was.
The literal translation of the Sanskrit word “maya,” or cosmic illusion, is “the measurer.” It is the power that seemingly breaks up Cosmic Unity into separate parts, creating divisions and limitations. Caught in the web of maya, we measure the minutes, hours, months, and years, and rarely have the opportunity to step back to experience time in a different way: as the Eternal Now.
In his poem “Samadhi,” Master writes: “Present, past, future, no more for me, / But ever-present, all-flowing I, I, everywhere.” When we step “out of time,” and loosen the grip of maya, we can experience ourself as a part of a great oneness with all life.
Try this experiment. When you awaken in the morning and as you’re going to sleep at night, rest in the thought of timelessness. Your true reality is not what you do or have done, where you go or will go, but is eternal and unmoving. Watch your breath slow down, and enjoy this expansive feeling of “all-flowing I everywhere.”
During seclusion I also worked towards longer, deeper meditations. To help with this, I began looking through Swami Kriyananda’s little book of daily inspirations, Secrets of Meditation. The very first “secret” proved extremely useful: “The secret of meditation is relinquishing outward attachments, and affirming divine freedom within.”
Swamiji chose his words well here: he didn’t say “renouncing” or “denying” outward attachments, but “relinquishing” them. The nuanced meaning here is to surrender our attachments as an offering to God for his safekeeping. He will keep watch over all of the people, plans, and possessions in our life, and they’ll be waiting for us when we finish our meditation. But for a brief period, we can put them “out of mind” and rest in the well-being and freedom of the inner Self.
You’ll actually enjoy everything even more when you break the bonds of attachment, because in reality nothing is ours. Master expressed this thought beautifully in his poem “They Are Thine.”
I have nothing to offer Thee,
For all things are Thine.
I grieve not that I cannot give;
For nothing is mine, for nothing is mine.
Here I lay at Thy feet
My life, my limbs, my thoughts and speech;
For they are Thine, for they are Thine.
So, here are two insights from my seclusion that may help you on your spiritual journey: Step “out of time” and put things “out of mind.” It’s been refreshing and inspiring to integrate these attitudes into daily life. Why not try them and see for yourself if you, too, experience more inner joy and freedom?
With loving thoughts,
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