On Seclusion and Recieving-
Select souls must retreat
From time to time
and prepare to transmit;
The Sacred Trust.
By Mohammed Bin Abbas
Nowadays people need simpler and easier methods from their environment and heritage that can be used when feeling tensed or depressed, or when one needs to face problems and stress that needs relaxation. It even necessitates reorganizing one’s own thinking and reprogramming the mind to be able to reformulate and arrange its objectives, and get rid of the psychological disturbances and negative feelings. This will make one capable of achieving social and psychological harmony in his life.
Undoubtedly, every human being needs a little bit of seclusion and privacy away from life problems and clamor to think quietly, reorganize his inside world, and reassess his experiences to set for himself a working plan.
Seclusion therapy includes training the person to get rid of his negative thoughts and annoying anxieties to reach a stage in which he can order his brain to immediately stop thinking and reject those negative ideas. He would then replace them with positive thoughts that recharge his psychological powers for a fresh start in the right direction. This method of treatment stems from our religious and cultural heritage which has proven to be effective, if not excel, the other western psychological methods of treatment. They often entail unsuitable concepts and ideas different from the nature and environment of one’s character.
The objective of using seclusion therapy is to change positive advices and thoughts into effective and active ones. They are implemented in the mind through meditation and repetition, conducted in an atmosphere of relaxation. This transforms these ethical sets and verbal forms into concepts and beliefs that constantly motivate one to the desired behavior.
Dr. Ramez Taha states ”We are sure after a number of studies conducted over the past years that Meditation Therapy is better and deeper in its results than both Meditation Transcendental and Neuro-Linguistic Programming NLP, which are widely spread in the West”. He also adds: ”I have also noticed that the person suffering from psychological problems can not, in most cases, benefit from the western methods of treatment. These methods encourage the patient’s sexual freedom which is considered one of the important bases of treatment and psychological health. This, however, disregards the social and religious upbringing which controls the behavior of the eastern patient. Thus, these western methods have led to many severe setbacks to patients who were treated with them. I, myself, have treated dozens of such cases that suffered from relapses due to these inappropriate methods of treatment.
What makes matters worse is the fact that many of the therapists were non-specialists and who received short-term training courses that lasted only for days or even weeks”.
Self dialogue – what a person says to his self – is extremely important in seclusion the therapy where the dialogue should include optimistic and positive sentences. This is an important step in the seclusion therapy where one sets and prepares correct sentences and positive phrases repeated with deep concentration. They replace the negative sentences that he says to himself and often cause tension and self defeat.
Seclusion and meditation is indeed one of the distinguished characteristics of the Arabs. Relying on agriculture and grazing pasture offers a chance for free imagination and meditation unlike the restricted industrial societies. Thus, the western societies realized the importance of developing the ability to meditate which is important for psychological health and effective in psychological treatment. Seclusion is a chance for physical and mental relaxation which is badly needed in our tensed age. It is also considered a training of self-control to reject negative thoughts and adopt positive ones as well as re-evaluating behaviors through constant practice. Thus, it is seen as an easy way that accords with one’s personality and helps it establish a moral system that will eventually become fixed customs and behavior patterns. At present, there are a lot of distractions coming from the satellites and the exciting cultures and habits that fill our lives. The only way to face all that is to train one self to reprogram the mind, and meditate by using the seclusion therapy. This is an attempt to change the duplicity of the traditional Arab culture which causes psychological conflicts that often wastes one’s capacities and abilities.
Seclusion in religious tradition denotes a number of meanings including relinquishing worldly matters, and devoting oneself to praying and supplicating to Allah. Also it means to stay in privacy in order to contemplate on one’s inner self to think of his mistakes and purify his own self. The prophet (PGBUH) advised Oqbah Ibn Amer, may Allah be pleased with him, to stay in seclusion where he said:” Hold your tongue and stay at home”. A number of Moslem scholars and jurists state that seclusion has many psychological advantages including the following:
– Avoiding the tongue’s mischief and slipping as Allahis Messenger (PGBUH) said: ”Allah have mercy on the one who was silent and thus safe or spoke and was successful”. – Staying away from hypocrisy, renouncing worldly pleasures, and having good manners.
– Examining one’s self and checking on its behavior. – Guarding one’s eyes against looking at what Allah has forbidden. – Devoting one self to praising and remembering Allah. It was narrated that Moaz Ibn Jabal, may Allah be pleased with him, said: ”Talk to people a little, talk to Allah a lot so that your heart may see Allah, the Almighty”.
– Refining manners and softening one’s heart. The prophet (PGBUH) said: ” Do not speak much except with Allah’s remembrance, talking a lot without remembering Allah is hardness of the heart. The farthest one from Allah is the one with a cruel heart”.
– Allowing prayer and contemplation; Al-Gazali describes it as a state of meditation beyond normal consciousness in which one realizes things that his mind and senses can not reach under normal circumstances. – Feeling the pleasures of supplication. In his encyclopedia Ihyaa Ulum Al-Din, Al-Gazali cites some of the views of righteous scholars who claim that there is no pleasure in this world similar to that of heaven except what people who supplicate at night feel in their hearts. Others said that the pleasure of supplication does not belong to this world but comes from heaven. Allah revealed this pleasure to His loyal people, the ones who can only feel it. – Reproaching and blaming one’s self. Allah says:” O ye who believer! Fear God, and let every soul look to what (provision) he has sent forth for the morrow”. This clearly indicates that one needs to hold himself responsible for his past deeds and to blame himself for his misdeeds constantly reminding it with the right path. Allah says:” But teach (thy Message), for teaching benefits the Believers”.
Thus, seclusion allows one to temporary get away from the noisy life to a peaceful place which gives him mental clarity and psychological pureness where he can clearly see the reasons and truth behind his problems. He can then reorganize his thoughts and plans to bravely face his worries with self-confidence, in addition to renewing his connection with Allah. As a result, one realizes that his worldly troubles are not worth worrying about for he can easily avoid them through seclusion where he lets go of his imagination. Seclusion entails meditation, imagination, and self-dialogue, all of which are mental factors which helps modify one’s emotions and behavior.
Many clinical and experimental evidences proved that the mental factors, which include thinking, imagination, deduction, and expectation, are connected to the emotion centers in the brain and immediately affect them. As a result, they secrete a number of hormones and neuro-transmitting substances which causes tension and other related physiological changes. Among the well-known hormones that cause stress and tension is Adrenalin which results in muscle tension, high blood pressure, and increase in heart beat and pulse. It also leads to the transfer of a large amount of sugar from the liver to the blood to provide energy for the conflict the body is prepared due to the order given by the brain’s emotional centers. These changes are also accompanied by disorders in the digestion and the secretions of the stomach and intestines.
Seclusion therapy helps the individual to practice the regulating and controlling of attention. The repetition of the seclusion sessions makes one more capable of rejecting destructive thoughts and thus turn his thinking to an opposite attitude that achieves serenity and peace, such as remembering and praising Allah.
After a period of practicing the seclusion therapy, the individual easily relinquish negative thinking and painful thoughts. It makes one well trained in controlling his mental readiness through concentrating on a desirable positive topic. He can then place this topic in the centre of his consciousness through repetition which is similar to self reciting that many students often use to refresh their memories. A number of psychologists claim that some individuals often achieve extraordinary abilities and skills through the repetition and mental alertness while concentrating on what he aspires to accomplish.