“Before we can see properly, we must first shed our tears to clear the way.” Indian Proverb
The older I get (and I am definitely getting) the more I understand the advantage of keeping my own company. My conclusion to some of this great mystery here on planet earth is that people are lonely because they don’t know themselves. Loneliness implies that you are still seeking the “other”. That doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy friends, a community but without the ability to know yourself, there seems to be the eternal search to find the answer outside of yourself.
We ply ourselves with constant busyness. We never have time. We retire and get involved with all kinds of “activities” outside of ourselves. Entertainment of all types has become the biggest and fastest growing market in the world. Many people are too tired to do anything at the end of the day but sit and “watch” TV, a laptop, and iPad. We spend most of our time wandering in a world outside of ourselves. We call ourselves successful, effective and efficient. Even when we are alone, we spend it still wandering in the world outside of ourselves.
I remember many years ago there was a book called “Not to go within is to go without”. Great title. I have no idea who wrote it or, even, who read it. Just the title says everything. The thought of going within and wandering in the world of consciousness, silence–I mean silence, no gongs, no chants, no music–can be very off-putting to many. I can remember many years ago taking a Zen Buddhist meditation class in Chicago. One of the students found the whole thing uncomfortable. She told the Zen teacher, she couldn’t sit that long (probably 20 minutes). He asked her if she could sit 5 minutes. She said she thought she could do that and she did. I never forgot how crazy we have become that we can’t sit or find the time to sit 20 minutes and just go inside without any distraction.
As we age and friends and family members die or move away, we become more aware of our own vulnerability here on earth. The outside world becomes less satisfying. We watch older people begin to discard the things that in earlier days they couldn’t live without. They fought over them in a divorce, they clung to them as remnants of a past that literally has passed, they see aging as getting closer to the ferryman who waits at the River Styx. Sometimes they even hoard. But, if we can learn to watch life as if you are in a movie theater watching it from your chair, we realize this drama here is not real. It may sound real, it looks real, we cry in the movie theater because it feels so real but it isn’t real. We just have lived outside of ourselves for so long we forgot our rich inner world where it all began and where it all will return.
Once we can be very content with our own presence and within ourselves, peace, calm and a lack of fear begin showing up in our lives. We no longer search desperately for the “one” to save or fix us..or to be our life long companion. What is life-long anyway? Whose life? I also question the “lifetime guarantee” you hear on products you purchase. The question is whose life?
We basically are born alone and will die alone. In between the two you will try to be a part of something or someone else. That really doesn’t work as that “aloneness” is still there. It is as natural as love. Once we realize this, we can come to understand that aloneness is normal. That we never left the “Mother Ship”. We are tied through our consciousness to the One. As we become aware of this rich consciousness, we realize that there are many levels to it. As we grow in our inner awareness and our aloneness, we can understand others through genuine communication that speaks without words. We come to understand universal love and acceptance. We know we will return to our true home and to these others levels of consciousness.
I say to my clients “use this world but do not depend upon it”. “Be in this world but remember, you are not of this world.” Build your rich inner world by experiencing your aloneness and your own company. Be the standard bearer! Be the “love” you have been looking for.
I appreciate your comments and thank you for writing.
Thanks Gail a very thoughtful post; you are an excellent writer.
And another excellent article. You’ve nailed aloneness, no pun intended.
Gail, what a beautiful post. This goes literally right to the heart and soul. Thank you.
Your “getting older” has definitely given you Wisdom and your article reflects that. I have learned to be alone and not fret, especially when I’m writing or painting; being passionate about my interests. I used to feel depressed if I was alone as the world seems to tell and show us that being with others is the way to live. Thank you for telling us that being alone is to be valued and is natural.
Well said, Gail. Treasure thy self!
Thank you so much for this Gail! I am going through all the things you talked about. Moved to a different state and never felt so alone in my whole life!!
I love your blog – your topics and insights deeply resonate with me as did this one today – thank you 🙂