Awaken Light Rotating Header Image

Spiritual Hermit Syndrome

“Whosoever is delighted in solitude is either a wild beast or a god. ”
~ Aristotle, Greek Philosopher and Intellectual

Mystical HermitWhat is Spiritual Hermit Syndrome, a.k.a. Buddha on the Mountaintop? It is a psychological disorder similar to agoraphobia which some spiritual seekers, mystics, prophets and gurus can develop. It sneaks up on you and you don’t realize that you’ve developed such a bad case of it until it becomes a serious problem.

It is not a catastrophic development but rather is a social dysfunction that builds over time leading to a psychological type of disorder.

At some point on a spiritual path all seekers will choose to distance themselves from society and the mundane for a brief period of time in order to connect to their true self and to take stock of their spiritual progress. Some may even come to this point more than once on their path if they remain dedicated to self-improvement and mindful connection. But for most this is a six-month to one-year process after which they reemerge, reaffirmed and ready to rejoin their family, friends and society.

For some, a rare few, the process can become a lifestyle. These folks may be working toward ascension, toward spiritual mastery, at a pace and at a depth which many seekers have yet to attain. They may have more reincarnations under their belt and be closer to the next step on the journey of spiritual evolution. Whatever the reason, these seekers do not return to “the norm” after withdrawing to find their inner solace.

You may view this as a stagnation or you may view it as an awakening. But this is not a pattern of behavior brought on by depression or by conceit but rather by reaching a sort of spiritual height, by raising one’s energy vibration. It stems from a desire to maintain a spiritual balance that we have reached, to not mingle our energies with the energies and behaviors of those who we fear may drag our vibrations and our awareness downwards.

At any rate if you think about it, many of the people that the rest of us seekers tend to seek out and rely upon for wisdoms and universal information are this type of spiritual hermit. They are the Masters. For don’t we all seek to walk without touching the ground?

But the problem develops under exactly that situation. We are incarnate beings. We cannot achieve ultimate spiritual form while we are each living here on the Earth in a human body. That is simply a fact.

From my own personal experience, I have always been a very social and outgoing person, not shy, not uncomfortable with meeting new people. After having been working on my spirituality by learning from others and participating in group activities for nearly 9 years, I reached a point where I needed to go “underground” so to speak and get some perspective on ME personally and where I fit into my chosen belief structure. This was not a depressing thing, on the contrary it was quite exhilarating.

Usually it starts with a thought: “I need to get away from all of this mundane chitter-chatter” or “Don’t these people even hear themselves speak? How can my family be so ignorant of what life is really about?” or “There must be more to life than this (job, class, budget, country, etc.)…I wonder what it is” or just plain…“Stop the world I wanna get off!” So you decide that a month, semester, year of going inside yourself is not only the potential answer to your problems but is actually being imperatively called for by your whole body, soul, even the universe itself.

We choose to put distance between ourself and the mundane, work-a-day, social pressures (and may even be kind enough to inform folks of it) to retire into a practice of daily meditating, disciplining ourself to keep a spiritual journal or doing some other act of daily spiritual dedication.

But what begins as a removal from social pressures, if continued over a prolonged period of time can become a detachment from formerly pleasing activities, the support of those who truly know us and even a shutting out of the natural world. We may forget the mountaintop and settle for the armchair, trading trees for books, people for meditations, interaction for epic movies.

Most folks don’t realize that their spiritual bent has become a personal problem until they find themselves canceling last minute on people and things that they care about. Say your best friend is having a baby, a baby that she has wanted for a very, very long time. You want, really want, to go to the baby shower, you just know it will be a fun time. You plan, crochet a crib blanket, write her a sweet poem to read at the shower. then as the day approaches you begin to get anxious…What will you talk about with her coworkers? What if you can’t make simple chatty conversation? Will you do something socially unacceptable and give away that you are “different?” Why are you going to this blatant nod towards consumer society anyway? Do you even want to go to this thing? Whose big idea was it anyway? Why don’t you just send her the gift?

That’s how it sneaks up on you…it’s perfectly rational and spiritually based, until it isn’t anymore.

I decided to nip this process in the bud when I found myself getting uncomfortable while in these simple social situations, when I noticed that I simply didn’t know the proper way to act around people when I met them, and when I realized that simply going out my front door so greatly improved my mood. If it could improve my mood so much, I must be lacking in the outdoors, the manifest human experience.

We were each put here in physical form in order to experience the world in a physical way while still learning to embrace our true spiritual nature. If we cash in the chips and leave either aspect behind then we are missing out on the vastly important lessons that we are meant to be learning. To embrace the spiritual aspects of ourself and loose the physical interaction with environment is to miss out on life and love, and love is the entirety of the universe.

Staring at the pixel and missing the bigger picture is a waste of our time in the museum.

So I must counsel all the spiritual seekers out there to feel free to take time for yourself but don’t loose your world in the process. If you think that you’ve reached a point where your spiritual seclusion is effecting your mental state, begin by doing a radical thing…talk to someone who you care for, who is not a spiritual seeker-type, about your problem. When they are done looking at you funny, a very interesting thing will happen, they will show you love, they will be grateful that you chose to share a bit of yourself with them. You may even begin to see that not all the folks in the mundane world are necessarily a burden to your spiritual enlightenment.

Some other simple steps that you can take are going out taking a walk everyday or joining a group. Get yourself out in the sunlight once a week, get yourself into a chatty situation, take a painting class or a dance class, go to a poetry reading or a knitting group. Once you realize that interacting with other humans, facing the challenges that it affords and building social skills are not things that you do for the benefit of other people but things that you do for your own benefit, you will have reached a good balance.

Do yourself and the universal creator a favor, make the best of both worlds while you’re here…for it is a gift to be incarnate along with all of the other light beings and all of your ancient relations, here in this time and in this place. ;)

  • enda

    Very interesting article. Thanks