Isolation is NOT a technique

“You cannot achieve enlightenment by locking yourself in your room.”

– Thich Nhat Hanh, “The Fertile Soil of Sangha”

 

It’s December 8, 2013, and the Great Ice Storm of 2013 is in full effect. Most of North Texas has been staying indoors for the majority of the past 72 hours.

So, I have been presented with a unique opportunity to be something I have not been in well over a year: completely ISOLATED.

Once upon a time, when it came to isolation, I was a seasoned pro. Years of unsavory life experience, addictions and the other anti-social byproducts of my ‘problem solving’ methods and ‘coping’ mechanisms had led to a very solitary existence.

I’m sure that many on the path can relate to the skewed logic of subconsciously deciding: ‘It might be Hell – but it’s MY Hell’ which is ultimately a fear based defense against change: ‘At least this painful existence of mine is a known quantity – what if it’s worse on the other side?’

As if thinking and believing, even trusting in this so-called ‘knowledge’ will somehow KEEP YOU SAFE.

Which brings me back to the quote at the top, “You cannot achieve enlightenment by locking yourself in your room.”

Once upon a time, I didn’t give a rip about ‘enlightenment’ or ‘others’ – I had a very singular, driving compulsion: the need to escape.  I isolated because it gave the illusion of the ability to control what can/will hurt me. I isolated because it gave me the latitude to selfishly indulge my demons in the chasing of an artificial euphoria achieved through self-medicating behaviors.

I honestly thought that if I minimized my contact with people/places/things I could minimize the painful side of the Human Condition.

Now in this forced isolation at the hands of Old Man Winter, I can see that not only was I living in pursuit of an ephemeral fiction, I was missing the point entirely.

We’re all in the same boat – we’re all subject to the 10,000 joys and pains of life – every one of us.

It’s fantastic to be able to be ‘a part of’ after years of feeling ‘apart from.’

The ice is melting, even as we speak…

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