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Notebooks of Paul Brunton CATEGORY 3 Relax and Retreat

Notebooks of Paul Brunton CATEGORY 3 Relax and Retreat

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Notebooks of Paul Brunton > Category 3: Relax and Retreat
Relax and Retreat
The world clamours for attention and participation. God alone is silent, undemanding,
and unaggressive.

It is not that the soul cannot be found in populous cities but that it can be found more
easily and more quickly in solitary retreats. Its presence comes more clearly there. But
to learn how to keep it we have to return to the cities again.

1.Take Intermittent Pauses
Balance inner and outer
Shorter pauses
Longer pauses
1 - Notebooks of Paul Brunton> Category 3: Relax and Retreat > Chapter 1: Take Intermittent Pauses
Take Intermittent Pauses
Perhaps these pages may impart a flavour of that unforgettable quiet which counters the
tumult of today's existence.

He must make two demands on society if he is to accomplish his purpose--solitude and time. And if society is unprepared and therefore unwilling to grant them, he must take them by force. If this leads, as it may, to the false criticism that he is self-centered and proud, he must accept this as part of the cost of growth.


A modern way of spiritual living for busy city-dwellers would be to carry out all normal
duties but to retreat from them from time to time into rural solitude for special
meditation and study. In the town itself, they should manage to find a half to one hour
every day for prayer and mental quiet.


If you begin the day with love in your heart, peace in your nerves, and truth in your mind, you not only benefit by their presence but also bring them to others--to your family or friends, and to all those whom destiny draws across your path that day.


This withdrawal from the day's turmoil into creative silence is not a luxury, a fad, or a
futility. It is a necessity, because it tries to provide the conditions wherein we are able to
yield ourselves to intuitive leadings, promptings, warnings, teachings, and counsels and
also to the inspiring peace of the soul. It dissolves mental tensions and heals negative

We need these interludes of mental quiet.

Lucky is the man who, in these days, can extricate himself from society without passing permanently into the cloister. Yet luck is only apparent, for no one can do it without firm determination and stubborn persistence.

The aggressive world of our time needs to learn how to get out of time. The active
world needs to learn to sit still, mentally and physically, without becoming bored.
If we give a part of the day to the purposes of study, prayer, meditation, and physical
care, it may begin as a duty but it may end as a joy.

To begin the day with such high thoughts, such metaphysical reading, such meditative
calm, is to begin the day well. All his reaction to its coming events will be influenced by
this wise procedure. He is a far-sighted man who refuses to be carried away by the
speed and greed of our times but insists on making a period for elated feeling and
exalted mind.


He can do nothing better for himself and, in the end, for the world than to step out of its
current from time to time. If he uses the occasion well, he will bring back something
worth having.

In these periodical retreats from society he finds the best part of himself. In society, he
finds the other part.
The earth will continue to turn on its axis, with or without him. He is not so important
as he thinks.
If human life is to achieve intelligent awareness, it must find time, privacy, and quiet.

He must do whatever is possible within his karmic limits to arrange times for such
retreats. Otherwise the pressure of habit and routine, of other persons and social, family,
or professional demands, will provide excuses for their neglect.


In these periods he retreats for a while from the outer role he is playing on the world-
stage. He is letting it go, no longer to play the "personal self" role but to rest from it and
simply "be."


At certain periods they feel a need to get away from each other. There can be merely
physical, nervous, emotional, or mental reasons for it, but on the highest plane it is the
need of that undistracted aloneness in which God can be found.

Before the day's business starts, attend to your business with the Overself.

The man who makes no time for thought about God or contemplation on God is to be
pitied. For on the scale of real values his actual business is mere idleness if it remains
unguided, unprotected, and uninspired by the truths, laws, or intuitions drawn from such

When he can retreat within his own mind and enjoy the peace he finds there, how little
can the busy thrusting beckoning world attract him?
If, to find this leisure, he has to shorten working or sleeping hours, it is still well worth
the price.

The principle of temporary withdrawals and occasional retreats from the world is a
valuable one. It clears the mind which has become too fogged with its own desires. It
calms the heart which has become too agitated by disturbing events.

These intervals of retreat give us the chance to lift the mind above all the hates, fears,
and greeds of negative suggestions from our surroundings.

It is good to forget for twenty or thirty minutes each day the world and its affairs in order to remember the Overself and its serenity. This forgetfulness is exalting and uplifting in proportion to the distance it carries us from the ego.


A day begun with mental quiet and inner receptivity is a day whose work is well begun. Every idea, decision, move, or action which flows out from it later will be wiser better and nobler than it otherwise would have been.


Those who keep their leisure too busily occupied with too many unessential activities, useless gossip, or excessive entertainment to have any time left to spare for the higher purposes of life, will have only themselves to blame if, later, the outer crises of life find them without the inner resources to meet them.


To sit down and literally do nothing except to abstain from mental and physical
movement would seem to an unknowing onlooker to be another way of being idle.
Perhaps. But there is paradox here, for it is also the best way of being busy!


Nature's rhythm of energetic activity and recuperative stillness offers us an ancient
lesson, but too many are either too slow to learn it or too impatient willingly to reduce
the speedy tempo and busy thought of the modern mind. So they fail to return to their
centre, fail to profit by the great ever-present Grace.


The failure on the part of most people in the West to give a little of their time to
personal and private holy communion--bringing no priest or clergyman into the period
but seeking in their own solitude to take advantage of the usually well-camouflaged fact
that man is essentially alone--brings its inevitable consequences. Their lives may be
good or bad, their careers may be successful or failing, but with no consciousness of
Consciousness, they remain only half-men. They have so little competent guidance from
those who are professional spiritual guides that most do not even know the sin through
omission they are committing, do not recognize the failure in duty, and are not troubled
by the incompleteness of their knowledge.

A life which contains no interludes of stillness can possess no real strength.
The notion that we must keep everlastingly active to justify our existence is not a deep
one. Much of what we do has no real value.32
To this extent, that he provides the requisite time and solitude every day for meditation
and study, it may be said that he withdraws himself into a life apart.

Withdrawal from the familiar environments, for brief intervals, is good if properly used,
that is, if one moves over to the attitude of being a detached observer of that
environment and of what has already happened within it.


Each aspirant must solve for himself this problem of gaining time and solitude for the
mystical phase of the quest. First, he has to gain twenty to thirty minutes every day for a
period of meditation. Next, he has to gain a few entire days or weeks every year of
retreat from social distractions, business preoccupations, and family gregariousness for

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