We sometimes speak of knowing how to ” isolate ” ourself in the Buddhist philosophy, but still it is necessary to understand the real sense. The great masters explain it in 3 levels of isolation:

1) ISOLATE OUR SENSES When we are aware that something arouses in us a mental disturbance (anger, jealousy, attachment, fear, etc.), he can be good to isolate ourself temporarily to work on it to decrease the power of the disturbance (for example, an alcoholic who wishes to abandon the alcohol can isolate himself temporarily from places of consumption). Of course, it is temporarily only a respite giving, but there does not live the real solution. We can see many cases where people “remove themself from the world ” for months, even years, but make no real internal transformation.

2) ISOLATE OUR SPIRIT : It is here that the real sense of the isolation begins. Rather than to go away simply from what disturbs us, we make the work on ourself,  by decreasing the power of a mental disturbance by the meditation, so that in contact of what usually caused us fear, anger, attachment, we remain serene and master the situation without falling under the influence of the emotion. It can ask sometimes for a long training based on a knowledge, an analysis and deep meditation.

3) ISOLATE OUR SPIRIT OF THE EGOCENTRIC THOUGHT : The deepest of all, the isolation treated in the teachings of Mahayana is to manage to release the spirit of any calculated intention, egocentric, to cultivate in contrast the altruistic thought of love and universal compassion. We isolate our spirit from the selfish tendencies and we move it constantly closer to thoughts and altruistic intentions.

From Jason simard