On Seclusion: Do nothing

Along with silence and mindful breathing, seclusion is accessible, often overlooked and under-appreciated medicine. Different than isolation, seclusion is a foundational practice for sages and artists, called The No. 1 Habit of Highly Creative People.

Einstein, Kafka, Tesla, Picasso all lived creative, productive lives with the help of seclusion.

Seeking shelter in these times – for rest, contemplation, space for creative pursuits – is a radical, necessary, pacifying and appropriate act to maintain mental stability and resilience.

What are you creating that could use a boost – family? career? An extraordinary relationship? A personal paradigm shift? A healing lifestyle? Consider secluding to write, rest, dream, zone out and tune in. Don’t worry about looking lazy! With so much pressure to produce in this industrialized culture, resting may be the antidote for the Atomic Age – the period of history following the first artificial, self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction. This science-fiction-turned-reality ushered in profound changes in sociopolitical thinking, lifestyle, the course of technology development and our health. Slow it down.

My meditation practice has changed this year. I fell in love and now live with my partner. I also altered my business, so my daily rhythm is not as controllable as it once was. When I lived alone, I could easily sit and meditate for hours a day. What bliss!!! I have voluntarily exchanged some of my idealistic meditation sadhana (spiritual practice) – ideal in an ashram setting, which my home had been, living alone so long – with a relationship sadhana, and a kitchen sadhana, a puppy sadhana (we just adopted a Maltipoo!) and a seclusion sadhana. Empathic, I need alone time to recharge. I love the quiet, shaded house while my love is away. I love our bed, where I write and rest. I love listening to the windchimes and working at my own pace.

“Cabin fever:” seclusion may have reached a peak and it might be time to shift to more public activity – to participate. This could be as brief as a trip to the store to buy apples. Making a phone call might be plenty, or open the way to more overt activity. Facebook? To participate or not to participate? A weekly meeting with a consistent group of people (a class or self-help group, for example) and one-on-one time with trusted friends are two healthy social scenarios. I appreciate 12 Step recovery groups – consistent group meetings with a repetitive, predictable format ease stress for me.

Practicing mindful seclusion is encouraged to avoid burning out either end – with either too much participation or from too much seclusion. Trust yourself that you will know the difference.

My spiritual practice includes approaching, with wisdom, an indulgence in quietude and in good company as I feel ready – without pressure or rushing, guilt-free.

Clarity comes with calmness. Calmness comes with quietude. Quietude results from seclusion. As monks, poets and artists: do what might look like nothing – a simple, effective reset for better health.

Come participate in healthy seclusion in a small group setting Saturday, July 15 at Grateful Spirit Yoga in Atascadero. Register at http://www.brookewestyoga.com/workshops

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