The Importance of Attending Seclusions
Your teaching holds seclusions every year. Can you explain what is happening in these seclusions that is so vital for the path? Can I get the same benefit from self-retreat?
The purpose of seclusions is to provide the ideal environment for a period of concentrated inner practice, where you are relatively disconnected from the many distractions and demands of your outer life.
We consider those periods of intense devotion to the inner work absolutely essential to progressing on the path. The inertia of unconsciousness around and within us is simply very strong, and it requires a powerful inner force to overcome it. You build this force within through your focused practice, strength of intention, and triumph over any obstacles that you may face.
Self-retreats are certainly beneficial. However, in our seclusions you receive the added energetic support of the teacher and of the group, which can greatly accelerate your inner evolution and bring about true transformation in a relatively short time. In addition, this teaching is geared towards the realisation of precise spiritual goals, and the talks given in the hall, plus the energy that is present in that hall, will support their actualisation.
I prefer to join an online seclusion (it is easier for me money-wise and in general).
Does it have the same impact? If not, is the difference really big?
We have established the online seclusion platform to support students who are unable to join our seclusions in person for practical or financial reasons. However, it should be clear that it is intended as a secondary support and not as the primary means through which to connect to the teaching. A personal connection to the teacher and the teaching is simply paramount to facilitating the powerful alchemy of spiritual transformation. And while online seclusions are certainly supportive, the potency of the energy and grace when one attends the seclusion in person is simply much greater, and enables you to get the maximum benefit.
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For details about dates and times of planned seclusions visit the schedule page
Preparation for the Seclusion
I have never participated in a seclusion of this kind before. Can I still join in, or should I do other things to prepare first?
You can certainly join. However, the first thing you should do is have a Skype meeting with Aadi. As well as being initiated into the correct preparatory practice for you, Aadi can also gently verify that you are ready to join our divine seclusion, or if you should perhaps wait a while. In addition, you should visit the teaching pages on this website and familiarise yourself with the basic concepts that are presented there.
Seclusion Schedule and Format
Is everyone obligated to sit in all the meditations in your retreats? How many hours do we sit every day?
Yes, in our seclusions all meditations are mandatory. We sit for 6 hours every day: two single-hour sessions, and two double-hour sessions which are split in half, with a 20-minute walking meditation in the middle.
What does “walking meditation” mean?
We practice walking meditation every day in our seclusions, between formal sitting meditation sessions. During walking meditation the whole group walks in silence, in a disciplined way. The purpose of this practice is to integrate our inner state with activity, so that when we open our eyes and begin to move around, we do not immediately lose ourselves in the mind. We are keeping our state moment-to-moment, until it becomes entirely natural and unconditional in every situation.
Do I have to join the whole seclusion? Or can I come for part of the time?
You can come for part of the time, although we do recommend that you try to attend the whole seclusion wherever possible.
Do you observe a special diet or fast during seclusion?
No we don’t, and we generally do not recommend fasting during the seclusion, as this may disturb your main meditative practice. We provide healthy and varied vegetarian meals.
I struggle to sit on the floor without pain. Am I allowed to sit on a chair in the meditation hall?
Yes, you may sit on a chair a hall. However, sitting on the floor is the most supportive posture for meditative practice, and we do strongly recommend that you sit on a cushion wherever possible. Much of our pain and discomfort originates in the mind, and that should be overcome through focused practice and discipline. However, where pain is strong or chronic, of course it is fine to sit on a chair.
Receiving Guidance Inside the Seclusion
Does Aadi meet students personally during the retreat?
Aadi does invite students for private meetings during seclusions, and for private Skype meetings for those attending online. However, it is at his discretion, and he does not always meet every student.
Can I ask questions about my practice inside the retreat?
You are very much encouraged to ask questions. There is a way to do so via note inside seclusions, and if you attend online, you can write Aadi an email with your question.
To support those who cannot attend our seclusions, we have created the ‘Online Seclusion’ platform. The online seclusion allows students to participate in the seclusion with Aadi via a live broadcast from the meditation hall. For more information, click here.