Isolation as an opportunity

Shantideva’s discussion of the importance of viveka, or isolation, for meditative absorption in Perfection of Meditative Absorption particularly resonates with me. He describes mediative absorption as being ‘born of isolation,’ and it made me think about how conducive our current lifestyles of being socially distanced are to isolating the mind (78). According to Shantideva, this isolation leads to “distracted thoughts being calmed” (96). I actually took a meditation class from Geshe-la Lobsang last semester, and the main obstacle I encountered during the meditations was always in calming/ignoring these “distracted thoughts,” whether they be of my surroundings or things going on in my life. I think Shantideva’s ideas regarding isolation as positive can help us reframe this period of isolation that we are in right now as an opportunity to work on cultivating skills like compassion that we can develop through meditation. 

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