The Joyful Practice of Seclusion

seclusion 1

Free from the hopes engendered by desire,
and untouched by any craving for possession,
the waves of feeling in his heart controlled by yoga concentration,
the yogi, retiring alone to a quiet place,
should try to unite his little self with the Supreme Self.
—Bhagavad Gita, 6:10

Most of the scriptures of the world recommend seclusion in one way or another, and the practice of seclusion is very common in places where people try to live their lives focussed on God, including Ananda. Paramhansa Yogananda and Swami Kriyananda secluded regularly and counselled others to do the same. Most if not all of Ananda’s senior acharyas also take regular seclusions, and many community members set aside one day of the week for seclusion.

 “Seclusion is intensely enjoyable! I went for 2 weeks to a little village in the Himalayan foothills and I just spent my whole time talking to God and taking long walks. I found there was so much enjoyment that it took a lot of will power to have to leave it. I could have been there the rest of my life and never cared to go anywhere. It was so blissful”.—Swami Kriyananda, “Seclusion Is The Price Of Greatness,” Episode #40 of his Ask Me about Truth video series

You can watch the full interview from which the above words were taken, and read fuller versions of any of the quotes on this page by going to our Ananda Online Seclusion Resources page, linked at the bottom of this page.

What Is Seclusion?

Seclusion means spending time alone and in silence, and dedicating that time to deepening our spiritual lives. If we dont take time to deepen our spiritual lives, then our spiritual lives wont be as deep and fulfilling as they could be.

 “When we are too much around others, too much involved and identified with our work and family, we lose sight of the innate greatness of our soul (and that of others!). Most people on this planet have never been alone for more than a short time. The opportunity for seclusion is a privilege and a grace”.—Nayaswami Hriman McGilloway, from his blog “Seclusion is the Price of Greatness: My Week, and How & Why to Do It! “

 

Just as we need to refresh and recharge with rest each day and an occasional change of pace in our routine, so too we need “spiritual time out”.

 “Seclusion is a time for God-saturation. Your soul is hungering for it. Feed it“.—Nayaswami Gyandev McCord, “Seclusion Is the Price of Greatness,” in Ananda Worldwide’s Ask the Experts online advice column

 

Seclusion brings incredible clarity to our minds and lives.

 “In seclusion you begin to see that your mind is like a glass of water cloudy with dirt and debris from constantly being ‘stirred and shaken’ by daily life. By being very quiet and still, by praying and meditating more than usual, thinking uplifting thoughts, keeping company only with the saints and our line of gurus, all the dirt and debris begin to settle down. Your ‘mental water glass’ becomes very clear and clean”.—Nayaswami Savitri Simpson, “Time Out for Sweet Seclusion”

 

The benefits of seclusion even spill over to others in our lives!

 “I feel rejuvenated and able to face my sweet, wonderful family with energy and patience and love. I believe there isn’t a sweeter gift to give your family. At least, that’s how it’s been for me.”—Gita Matlock, “Seclusion for Mommies”

 

Many people find seclusion so delightful that soon after their first one, they‘re eager for longer and more frequent seclusions. On the other hand, it might take at least once to “really get into“ seclusion, depending on your circumstances.

Each seclusion is a somewhat different experience and you learn something new—not only in inner communion but also about doing seclusions.

 “I had jumped into the whole trip with my own plan, which I just assumed was good because, well, it sure seemed good. But what do I know? I never actually stopped to ask God what should actually be happening. Until I came about it all the long way around”.—Brahmachari Tandava Waldon, “Three and a Half Lessons from a Nine-Day Seclusion”

 

How Long Should I Seclude?

How long your seclusion should be depends on what you‘re ready for, although it‘s sometimes good to stretch yourself and aim for something a bit longer than you think you can handle. Swami Kriyananda urged Ananda members to try to seclude for one or more weeks every year. Others start with just a few days or even less and build gradually. If you‘re not sure how long you can go, you could experiment by trying for a week with the option to come out of it if it really proves to be too much for you.

Another important principle: If you go into a seclusion feeling exhausted or stressed, you may find yourself spending a few days resting or even sleeping a lot. Doing so is fine, especially if you need to, but you can‘t count days you dedicate to rest as also being dedicated to deepening your spiritual life. If you think you need a few days to catch up on rest, try to do so in advance, or schedule your seclusion for considerably longer so you don‘t end up only resting rather than having a real seclusion. Seclusion has far higher goals than vacation!

 

When and Where Should I Seclude?

s2 Because monsoon season is such an inward time of the year, it’s perfect for secluding…whether for just a few hours, a day, a week, or longer.

 

Although secluding is possible at home, that can be challenging, especially if you share your home. Even if everyone else will be away during your seclusion, reminders of your daily life will be all around you, pulling you toward your habitual routines and thoughts. And you may have unforeseen interruptions at home even if you‘re alone. Going elsewhere is often much more conducive to seclusion.We invite you to discover the joys of seclusion at Ananda Yoga Retreat, nestled in the beautiful Sahyadri Mountains within easy access of Pune and Mumbai. Pictured on the right is our cosy guest facility in monsoon season, run by staff who love to share the joys of seclusion they know from their own experience.  s3

 

Seclusion Programme at Ananda Yoga Retreat

We hold a few guided seclusions every year (keep an eye on our website or subscribe to our newsletter for event updates).
Besides those guided seclusions, you are welcome and encouraged to come for a personal seclusion at any time of the year you want. You can participate in our daily guided meditations and spend the day in seclusion.

Personal Seclusion Packages
(full private room without sharing)

Room Type

Rate

Per Day (flexible) 3 Days 7 Days 14 Days

Fully furnished Cabins (Kutirs) / Duplex Rooms

Rs. 1,800

Rs. 5,400

Rs. 12,500

Rs. 18,500

Sparsely furnished rooms (limited availability)

Rs. 1,200

Rs. 3,600

Rs. 8,400

Rs. 12,500

Above charges include:

  • Three(3) vegetarian meals a day, optionally delivered to your room.
  • Full private room, without sharing with anyone else.
 “A tree’s best fruits are those which receive the most sunlight, not those which cluster densely together in leafy shade. ‘Seclusion,’ Paramhansa Yogananda often said, ‘is the price of greatness.’ The light that emanates from the teacher reaches those most clearly who, in their hearts, stand alone before him and receive him without the admixture of any other influence”.—Swami Kriyananda, The Promise Of Immortality, chap. 10, “Finding a True Teacher”

 

Online Ananda Seclusion Resources

Time Out for Sweet Seclusion