Last week Devi and I spent a period apart and in seclusion, the first time in several years that I had had a chance to be totally alone with God as my sole focus. It was wonderful!
My heart began to soar as even a few days of seclusion helped me realign my habits with my lifelong priorities. The world has its own pulls and magnetism. Even sincere devotees find a gradual dilution of their longing for spiritual liberation. Seclusion helps us reorient toward the subtler “gravitational” pull of God’s love for us.
Paramhansa Yogananda said, “Always remember that seclusion is the price of greatness. In this tremendously busy life, unless you are by yourself, you can never succeed. Never, never, never. Walk in silence; go quietly; develop spiritually. We should not allow noise and sensory activities to ruin the ladder of our attention, because we are listening for the footsteps of God to come into our Temple.”
I often chanted silently during the week, which helped to open the heart. One chant came spontaneously into my mind, and I later remembered that Swami Kriyananda writes about it in The New Path:
“During the Christmas meditation that year Master led us in singing his chant, ‘Do not dry the ocean of my love, with the fires of my desires, with the fires of my restlessness.’ Over and over we sang it. ‘Christ is here,’ he told us. ‘Sing it to him.’ Later he added, ‘Because you have sung this chant here today, whenever in future you feel delusion pressing in upon you, sing it again, thinking of this occasion, and Christ and Guru will come down themselves to save you. Mark my words, for they are true.’” These words apply equally to us if we sing with devotion. God and Gurus are beyond time and space, and are eagerly awaiting those moments when we call to them with deep sincerity.
There are three essential elements to seclusion. The first is withdrawal from outward activities. It is important to disengage from electronic devices with their incessant demands and lures. The second is to focus on God alone. During the week, when I wasn’t meditating I read only from the books of Master and Swami Kriyananda. Finally, there is feeling God’s presence as a constant. When our feelings, which are usually disturbed by daily events and demands, are allowed to calm themselves, we are much more able to hear God’s whispers, and to feel Him close.
Swami Kriyananda said that one of the most blissful times in his life was four weeks he spent in seclusion in a holy cave, Vashishtha Guha, located on the banks of the Ganges above Rishikesh, India. (Although it was his karma to do a large and busy public work, he told those close to him that his natural inclination was to be a hermit.) He added, with a chuckle, that it was later discovered that a cobra had been living with him in that cave throughout his seclusion. Maybe it was Lord Shiva watching over him and adding his blessings to Swamiji’s efforts!
Admittedly it is not easy for most people to find time for seclusion in their busy lives, although we should all make the effort. An interesting insight came to me this morning: Every meditation is a miniseclusion. The same three elements are needed: withdrawal, focus, and feeling God’s presence. Without them meditation will be scattered and ineffective. These three seem to be like fundamental spiritual forces of nature, required in any successful spiritual search.
So, my friends, try to be alone with God and with your own higher Self. Take a seclusion whether it be for a month, a week, or an hour. You will find that it resets your priorities, opens your heart, and refreshes your soul.
From the Inner Silence,
Listen to the weekly commentary for this blog, with special behind-the-inspiration stories and answers to common spiritual questions. Subscribe to the podcast or download the audio recording by right-clicking here. Or listen to it here (2:54):
Download the audio recording of this week’s blog by right-clicking here. Or listen to it here (5:35):
Jai Guru 🙏
Thank you for encouraging us by this message as I was actually planning to do this for a long time. Family life, work and busy schedule makes it look like an impossible task…but I can start with an hour or two of seclusion by meditations… This is just what I wanted to see… Thank you.
Thanks a lot Jyotish! I am trying to lengthen and deepen my meditations and for now it is working … Meditating and being alone with God is actually the only thing that works. I do my best and find that the Master’s promise is always kept: God reaches out a hand to the devotee who seeks him with devotion. Jai Guru!
Thanks, Jyotish — Very timely
Thank you,just what I needed to hear! Aum Guru.
Thank you also for this message….most appreciated…..🙏🏼
Thank you so much for the encouragement. This is what I wanted to hear before starting practicing seclusion. I was happy to know that I can start little by little, for example one hour.
May God continues to bless you with wisdom and health.
Time to time, Joytish, this kind of encouragement give a booster dose which l love to have,
🙏 just what I need to hear. I will do it !
I love your painting! All of them give me so much happiness, faith, hope and joy!
This served two purposes, a reminder and encouragement. Thank you 🙏🏻
This served two purposes, a reminder and encouragement. Thank you so much 🙏🏻
I bow in humble gratitude for your friendship (going on 47 years!), and for your wise counsel and precious example. Living in Silicon Valley, I find this post of particular value, as each time I make the rounds on my bicycle to Whole Foods, Trader Joe, Sprouts, and Walmart, I feel the great need for “seclusion” in the sense that, as I increasingly realize, I can only really ever be of spiritual service to anyone if I am centered in the spine, the heart, and the spiritual eye. In my own practice I’m drawn to chants that petition God to help me with this need: Il Mio Cuore e Tuo, Quando Mi Sveglio, and others. “When I move forth through crowded ways, in my heart, Lord, ever so silently, I will always think of Thee.” A constant challenge, but with grace, very rewarding. Thank you, Jyotish!
This was amazingly the right insight at the right time. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing your inspiring story that gives me courage to make alone time with God and Guru. With Joy and Gratitude. Vicki
Thank you very much for such an inspiration.
I truly appreciate these articles that helps me a lot in renewing my spiritual efforts with your love and wisdom.
Beautiful! And exactly what I needed to read. Covid has really ‘forced’ me to look at my own level of worldly engagement.
Thank you so much!
(I love your Fox painting by the way!)
Rebecca Smith-Ananda Tucson
Thank you! Your remarks at the end about daily meditation as mini-seclusion, are so important. Long periods of solitude are rare in most lives, and will be wasted if we haven’t honed the 3 step practice you outline in daily meditation. Because “daily” is where life’s challenges occur, perfecting mini-seclusion is, in my opinion, more essential than the rarer, long-form deep dive.
Dears, I enjoy reading you always, in this particular case I like sharing with you that a couple of times maybe four in the years just before the pandemia I enjoyed seclusion in a monastery not far from where I live (https://www.trapenses.com.ar). It is a beautiful place where I have spent peaceful moments outside the normal daily activities that keep me busy in this world. Now that I learning with Ananda to meditate I will plan a new visit. Best wishes for you and everyone here too.
So true. Thank you for reminding us of the benefits of seclusion. I just told my students that after I meditate I feel as if I had just cleaned my file cabinet. I throw away what is not needed, keep the most valuable info, and re-prioritize my life.
It feels so good! It is so refreshing! My soul loves to meditate. The longer the better, the more often the better.
Thank you Jyotish, I had a wonderful couple of days at the meditation retreat a few weeks ago, when everything was open, and I felt Divine Mother and Master and many devotees present around me through the whole time. As I move in my life, since I live alone, all are very present even now. I am so grateful for Ananda and you and Devi’s leadership into Divine Presence.
Jyotish, The Path is enriched by your wisdom. Seclusion invites us ever more strongly in these pandemic times . And reminding oneself that meditation is a mini-seclusion is powerful. Thank you. Mary Jo
Thanks so much Jyotish for this piece on Seclusion, it has been so difficult these days to find space and alone time to do spiritual seclusion other than my daily meditation/prayer time. So, this weekend is the time to expand this longing for spiritual aloneness with God, Divine Mother and Guru , Yogananda…….So here it goes. This is what I long for and need to do. Blessings, Rose (you are an inspiration to all )
Thank you for this Jyotish – perfect timing as I was planning to start a weekend seclusion tomorrow. :) I appreciate all of your and Devi’s blogs!
Dear Nayaswami Jyotish Ji,
Thank you for this wonderful blog!
The guidelines are very useful. Reading the blog makes me feel to take a seclusion.
It was amazing to read Swamiji’s seclusion and the cobra in the cave!
Thanks a lot, Jyotishji for explaining and emphasizing the importance
of meditation and its three major elements – withdrawal, focus, and feel
In present days, the most important for meditation
is disengagement from electronic devices and withdrawal
from outward activities.
Will try for at least an hour in a day to feel God’s presence.
Sujata Mandke, Pune
Thank you, dear Jyotish ji, thanks for the inspiring blog. It urges us to long for seclusion. That’s a very beautiful, yearning to seek God chant.
Thanks for excellent blog.
Dearest Jyotish Ji – thank you for the beautiful and inspiring blog. our hearts soar whenever we read your (and Devi Ji’s) blogs – like the upliftment we get when reading Master’s and Swamiji’s books. Though my heart, mind and soul longs for a ‘proper’ seclusion even more after reading this blog, with wave3 now and being home-secluded, the 3 essentials you have so beautifully listed will help me very much. Thank you Ji.
Thanks for sharing, one can feel the blessings and inspiration and the way to go into seclusion!! Ever grateful 🙏🌸🌸🌸
Thanks for sharing, one can feel the blessings and inspiration and the way to go into seclusion!! 🙏🌸🌸🌸
It is all about Smriti, remembering. Why and how do we get so busy? Who set all of that up? Notice that we get more and more busy in the world until we can’t stand any more. Who initiated that construct of living?
WE DID !! Of course we did. All of our decisions led us to how society and delusion want us to follow their path.
I realized this last year when I untied many cords of the world, simplified life and made the decision to commit to
living more simply and purely. It worked in that the universe gave me that life and perspective just like it had given me a very busy life before. “It” (or God) is always out there and willing to give us what we want. So if you want a simple and Spiritual life, work on that and God will help you get it. Seclusion is the way to reintegrate your way of being so thanks Jyotish , for jogging our memory and keeping us moving in the right direction.
This beautiful message touched my hungry soul with a cloak of peace and promise. Master is ever with me through all my kafuffle, but how wonderful it would be to have a few days with him without the kafuffle. Ooooh! Maybe I can make it happen.
My love and gratitude to you and Devi.
It’s wonderful. Thank you so much 💓
Namaste, I enjoyed your sharing on Seclusion. I have a lot of alone time. I enjoy my being alone and have always enjoyed these times.
The concept of each meditation as a mini-seclusion prompted my reply.
Every meditation is a miniseclusion. The same three elements are needed: withdrawal, focus, and feeling God’s presence.
As we have learned how to energize and use that energy towards meditation, Could we also use this time to prepare ourselves for the “Spiritualization” we are working with attuning ourselves towards this goal?
Thank you for this nice blog 🙏
Thank you Jyotish ji for this uplifting message. After reading this I’m tempted to experience seclusion. I’m sure it definitely help us to know ourselves and one must be in meditative state most of the time.