Solitude requires distancing ourselves not just from the world but also from the mind

Life’s frenetic pace can easily consume us with its unending urgencies. To introspect and re-align ourselves with our priorities, not the world’s priorities, it’s helpful to distance ourselves from the world by going into solitude.

However, solitude can backfire if we aren’t alert. Distancing ourselves from the world may well mean that we end up alone with our mind. The mind is like a screen that displays sensory inputs from the outer world. But it also displays stimuli coming from recollection and imagination. When we decrease sensory inputs by being alone, we may give all our attention to the many random thoughts popping up in the mind, thereby wasting hours upon hours. Result: zero introspection, aggravated illusion.

Pertinently, the Bhagavad-gita (06.10) states that yogis who engage in solitary meditation need to conscientiously control their mind. In fact, even before going into solitude, they need to first have a significant level of control on the mind (06.07-09).

The best way to distance ourselves from the mind is to connect with some reality higher and stronger than the mind. The supreme reality is the all-attractive, all-loving personal absolute, Krishna. The time-honored process of bhakti-yoga connects us efficaciously with him, granting us a higher perspective towards both the world and the mind. When we strive to stay connected with him, we can, by his grace, get the inner calm and clarity to glimpse our deepest core and to mold our actions accordingly. And even when we can’t have solitude because of various obligations, we can still pursue our spiritual growth by staying connected with Krishna and working in a mood of service and contribution.

Thus, we can reap the full fruit of solitude not just by disconnecting from the world or the mind, but primarily by connecting with Krishna.

Think it over:

  1. How can solitude backfire?
  2. What does the Bhagavad-gita say about mind control and solitude?
  3. How can we reap the full fruit of solitude?

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