The Joy of Seclusion

By Dharmadevi Romano
February 21, 2017

“What do you do for fun?” This question was posed to me by a friend during his visit to Los Angeles. I found myself grasping for an answer to not seem totally boring, “Well… we go to the movies sometimes, umm… and we play tennis every now and then…” I was at a loss. I hadn’t stopped long enough to think about what I did for fun but now that it had been brought to my attention, it was getting me down.

I began to think: Is it really fun to go to the movies? There isn’t much out that I enjoy watching anymore. I usually end up getting a tummy ache when we go out to eat. I like walking but is that really considered fun? The more I thought about it, the more I realized something was wrong and I didn’t know what the remedy was.

It turned out to be around the same time we take our yearly seclusion between Christmas and the New Year. That year we stayed at Ananda Village. The silence was palpable and I could feel my brain and nervous system starting to decompress as soon as we arrived.

During the first couple of days, I discovered my mind was very restless. By the third day of total silence and seclusion I began to feel a little spark that I could only describe as joy. On the fourth day, I was actually skipping around the house – having true fun!

I was amazed at how easily I had forgotten that our joy comes from within, But I learned a great lesson. Now, whenever I start to feel like I’m grasping for something fun to do, I go inside, hold silence (if even just for a day), meditate longer, and sure enough, my heart fills with joy.

“Practice the art of silence. The tigers of worries, sickness, and death are running after you, and the only place you can be safe is in silence. The more you are silent, the more you will find happiness.”

–Paramhansa Yogananda, How to Awaken Your True Potential