"Wow. 12 days ago I began a silent meditation in the desert. We were totally isolated. No phone, no communication etc. We had no idea..."

"... what was happening outside the facility. Walked out yesterday into a very different world. One that's been changed forever. Mind blowing — to say the least. I'm getting messages from friends and family all around the globe and catching up on what's going on. Hope you and yours are ok. Sending positive energy to all. Stay inside. Stay safe."

Writes the actor Jared Leto on Instagram.

Maybe your life already involved so much isolation that the new requirements of social distancing only mean that other people are forced to be like you. The voluntary self-isolators among us may be able to give us some perspective of what we need to do.

I'm not so isolated that I was like Leto, not hearing the news. I'm watching the news — in my way — every day. But I keep a distance from people in real life — not as much as the new rules of social distancing require, but I don't have to change very much, and I am comfortable living this way and I don't have any immediate responsibilities that make it hard for me to tighten up the seclusion and contribute to the group effort.

Thinking about people like Leto who choose a 12-day silent meditation in the desert may be of some help in thinking how to use the solitary time that has been imposed on you. Perhaps you will sit quietly in your room and do nothing. Meditate!

It's a good idea not to watch the continual flow of news reports, many of which are designed to make you feel bad, to increase the difficulty of doing what you need to do.

Less rigorous than the Jared-Leto-silent-meditation approach to living in seclusion is the Althouse approach. I like it. I read things that feel valuable to me and I put some of my thoughts into words and accept interaction from strangers who read and write here and elsewhere. I have the great benefit of a companion here with me, someone to talk with in a comfortable and supportive way, to be calm with, to help and to be helped by. I care for my health — and that includes eating the right things in the right amount, going for a sunrise run and a midday walk, sleeping well, and not stressing out.

You can think about what you are missing, but maybe, too, you'll think about the things you were doing that you don't really miss. Simplify! Here's Thoreau on the subject:
Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb nail.... Simplify, simplify. Instead of three meals a day, if it be necessary eat but one; instead of a hundred dishes, five; and reduce other things in proportion.... The nation itself, with all its so called internal improvements, which, by the way are all external and superficial, is just such an unwieldy and overgrown establishment, cluttered with furniture and tripped up by its own traps, ruined by luxury and heedless expense, by want of calculation and a worthy aim, as the million households in the land; and the only cure for it as for them is in a rigid economy, a stern and more than Spartan simplicity of life and elevation of purpose. It lives too fast. Men think that it is essential that the Nation have commerce, and export ice, and talk through a telegraph, and ride thirty miles an hour, without a doubt, whether they do or not; but whether we should live like baboons or like men, is a little uncertain....

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