From Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, “Meditation and the Kabbalah” (Samuel Weiser or Jason Aronson editions), pp. 309-310. This is an abridgement of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov’s key lesson on secluded meditation, Likkutei Moharan I, 52 (“HaNe’or BaLaylah” / “One Who Remains Awake At Night”). We have slightly edited the text for this website.
Hisbodedus and Nullification of Ego
You must include yourself in God's unity, which is the Imperative Existent. You cannot be worthy of this, however, unless you first nullify yourself. It is impossible to nullify yourself, however, without Hitbodedut-meditation.
When you meditate and express your spontaneous thoughts before God, you can be worthy of nullifying all desires and all evil traits. You will then be able to nullify your entire physical being, and become included in your Root.
The main time to meditate is at night. This is a time when the world is free from mundane concerns. Since people are involved in the mundane by day, you will be held back and confused, so that you will not be able to attach yourself to God and include yourself in Him. Even if you yourself are not so involved, since the world is concerned with worldly vanities, it is difficult for you to nullify yourself.
It is also necessary that you meditate in an isolated place. It should be outside the city, or on a lonely path, or some other place where other people are not found. For wherever people are found, they are involved in the mundane world. Even though they may not be in this place at that time, the very fact that they are usually there can confuse one's meditation, and then one cannot nullify himself and include himself in God.
You must therefore be alone, at night, on an isolated path, where people are not usually found. Go there and meditate, cleansing your heart and mind of all worldly affairs. You will then be worthy of a true aspect of self -nullification.
Meditating at night in an isolated place, you should make use of many prayers and thoughts, until you nullify one trait or desire. Then make use of much meditation to nullify another trait or desire. Continue in such a time and place, proceeding in this manner, until you have nullified all. If some trace of ego remains, work to nullify that. Continue until nothing remains.
If you are truly worthy of such nullification, then your soul will be included in its Root, which is God, the Necessary Existent. All the world will then be included in this Root along with your soul.