Many years ago, I grew discontent on my spiritual journey. I wasn’t looking for a change, yet there was a sense that something was missing. I wanted to “know” the truth and “experience” God. But, I wasn’t sure what that meant. While reading a book by Thomas Green, S.J., I came across the line, “gracefully waste time with God.” My mind fixed strongly on these words and I knew it would be life changing to learn how to gracefully waste time in the benevolent presence of the Lord.
My intention was to get beyond the concept of time, transcend the hours and minutes that make up the days, weeks and years of our lives. It was important to me to allow time to melt away and to explore the concept of eternal divinity.
Now, some thirty years later, I find myself writing these words in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, sitting secluded in a cabin at Ananda’s Meditation Retreat. I am surrounded by swaying tall trees, scurrying grey squirrels, Rio Grande wild turkeys, California muledeer, and I am filled with a sense of sacred stillness.
I have chosen to be alone for 5 days, to read a little, meditate often, eat two simple meals a day and connect with a source that I now understand dwells within every being. I have no television, no laptop, and no cell phone. I have nothing that connects me to the outer world, yet this isolation has once again revealed a Divine love, and a peace beyond understanding that fills my soul with a yearning to realize even more fully the truth of my being; this soul longing must be nurtured to awaken to its highest potential.
As I sit on the deck of this domed cabin in the forest, gratitude fills my heart. Learning to meditate thirty years ago was the catapult that launched me headlong onto a spiritual path crossing into then unimagined realms of spiritual growth and development. It began a new journey in spirit that both challenged and fulfilled me at a profound level never before dreamt.
Now I look forward every year and I reserve time away from my busy schedule, to “gracefully waste time with God.” I have learned that sitting in solitude and connecting with infinity and the Infinite is a powerful and necessary process. It is Self-renewing and spiritually energizing. I come home with a new outlook and fresh perspective. I am more connected to the God within me and those whom I serve.
The experience of seclusion and solitude, turning inward to feel the peace and joy within, has become a necessity, yearly rekindling my inner resolve and devotion. We each should plan an hour, a day or a week to allow ourselves time to experience what Jesus meant when he said, “Be still and know that I am God.”In that stillness, high truths are revealed. As Paramhansa Yogananda often stated, “Seclusion is the price of spiritual greatness.”
Schedule time to nurture your soul and awaken the spiritual greatness that lies within. Meditate deeply and give yourself permission to connect with the entirety of this universe. Go inside, sit in silence, and open your heart and listen. Allow your soul-call to be heard by God in the stillness of seclusion.
Peace and Joy,
Spiritual Director, Ananda Dallas