Here’s how one man is taking ‘isolation’ and ‘self-quarantine’ to an extraordinary level, and he’s sharing how you can integrate this thousand-year-old practice into your own lives during this unprecedented time of staying at home.
Following several months on the road with his musical Brother Sun, Sister Moon, from late December 2019, through March 2020 just before the coronavirus led the United States into self-isolation, NY Times Bestselling Author, Teacher, Musician James Twyman enters a tiny, stone, 200 sq. foot enclosure in order to focus solely on prayer and healing our world amidst great division and the pandemic.
“No one knows exactly when the ‘anchorite’ tradition began, but during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries an anchorite (female: anchoress) was walled up inside a small enclosure attached to a local church where they would dedicate themselves to prayer for the rest of their lives. In most cases, before entering the enclosure, a bishop administered the sacrament of last rites knowing that the man or woman would never step into the open air again.”
Taking social distancing, pandemic-related isolation and quarantine to a very different level, Twyman is reinventing the ancient tradition. He leaves his worldly creature-comforts behind for an entire year, beginning Friday, August 14, as he closes himself into a tiny, stone enclosure in Ajijic, Mexico in hopes to bring more light and healing to the world. Just prior to entering the small enclosure, which consists of two tiny rooms and a small window to greet anyone seeking spiritual direction, James will hold a celebration and blessing of his anchorite experience attended by people from the local community.
“So many people are living in fear today, and that’s why we need positive examples to amplify the good that is emerging during this difficult time. Nothing is going back to how it was before, but if we take advantage of the shifts we’re experiencing today we can initiate a new way of being that is more centered and more honoring of others.” This is what New York Times bestselling author, teacher and musician James Twyman shares regarding his decision to become what may be the world’s only modern-day anchorite.
“…if we take advantage of the shifts we’re experiencing today we can initiate a new way of being that is more centered and more honoring of others.”
The obvious question of the rest of us is — why? “I hope to inspire others to find ways they can go deeper into their own spiritual experience, and embrace a simplified life unencumbered by the addictions of the common world. I hope the strangeness of my decision provokes others to look for ways to live more contemplative/prayerful lives, especially while many of us are being forced to isolate at home.”
Twyman realizes that most people will have a hard time understanding the value of such a dramatic lifestyle. “The life of a contemplative is centered on praying for all of humanity. In that sense, each day I’ll be spending many hours focused on extending those prayers. A few things others can gain from my year-long anchorite experience, are:
● In my case I’ll pray the monastic office four times a day — morning, midday, evening and night prayer — with set times for meditation, exercise, meeting with others, etc. I recommend that people set aside a particular time every day to pray or do yoga — whatever helps them connect with their spirit.
● The key is to be consistent. Most people have a hard time keeping practice unless they set aside the same time every day.
● Make it a priority. If we prioritize our meditation time we’ll be more likely to follow through.
● Include highest intentions or prayers for yourself, your loved ones, the world.
● Include small practices like lighting a candle, incense, playing meditative music. These things tell our busy minds that now is the time for quiet prayer.
● Remember that during this quiet time you are renewing your spirit, even as you send any prayers or good thoughts
● Find or create a small, quiet space or room in your home that is dedicated to this spiritual renewal of quiet replenishment for yourself — and for others if you send prayers or intentions out. You don’t need to close yourself in to a small space for a year as I am doing.
“In most religions we find what’s sometimes called the “Holy Fool” — a man or woman who goes against the current of the world/society and chooses a radical path that most people believe to be crazy. I am choosing a similar path, yet I know very few are going to choose the life of such radical contemplative, but we can all use more silence in our lives. If my decision inspires that in other people, I’ll feel like my year of solitude was a success.”
Twyman will continue to teach and guide during live ZOOM sessions six days a week at 10:30 AM EST for his Namaste Community worldwide. There will also be special events and concerts streamed live. Visit www.JamesFTwyman.com and join the email list to get the links. You may mail any letters or communication to James Twyman, ℅ Angel Flores #5, Ajijic, Jalisco Mexico 45920
James Twyman is the NY Times bestselling author of 16 books including The Moses Code and Emissary of Light. He has also recorded more than 18 music albums including the Billboard chart bestseller, I AM Wishes Fulfilled along with Dr. Wayne Dyer; as well as produced or directed seven feature films. With a home base still in Portland, OR, James resides in Namaste Lake Chapala in Ajijic, Mexico. Here, he teaches daily and has begun a tiny house portion of his beautiful, sprawling grounds where people visit, live and even enjoy retirement.