Being Alone (Not Lonely) Is a Blessing

People fear loneliness which is not the same as aloneness. Being alone is completely different from being lonely. Aloneness is wholeness which is ever complete, whereas, loneliness is perpetuated by the belief in separate existence. When I think of myself as an individual living a separate life in the vastness of this universe, everything will appear daunting. However, when I know that only “I AM,” then I am completely integrated with everything in the universe.

This integration or oneness has been called Yoga by the ancient scriptures. It comes only in aloneness. The problem is that we are always lonely but never alone. If you observe carefully, you are always with your thoughts, and your thoughts are usually concerned with “me and my story.” “This or that happened to me.” This entity “me” is at the root of our afflictions. It is the sense of personal identification as a separate entity in the world.

While at the level of appearances, the separation seems solid, but the appearances themselves are not that solid. They change constantly. Who I was twenty years ago is not what I am today. Who I am today will not be the same after twenty years. So when we are trapped in the clutches of the thinking or “me”-mind, we see ourselves as separated from others; therefore, all of our actions come from that belief which further exacerbates separation; and hence, suffering.

Loneliness comes from a deep sense of personal identification. Unfortunately, the modern society and education system breeds the pandemic of loneliness, the effects of which are usually felt almost immediately. The moment we begin to operate in survival mode (which is the characteristic feature of the Ego) we see the world as a cut-throat competition.

We wish to fulfill our dreams by outsmarting others. It is precisely why even the so-called successful people and overachievers suffer from depression and anxiety. While they gain the skills to crush their competition, they learn to live constantly in survival mode. Their confused sense of self seeks happiness in fleeting pleasures and fake validation. The sense of personal identification is a false image that keeps us trapped in the never-ending cycle of chasing happiness. The pursuit of happiness then itself becomes unhappiness.

The reason we don’t like to be alone is because we have overinvested in this false image “me.” I am this. I am this. I have to achieve this. I want to get rid of that. Attain that. Get money. Get enlightened. Become spiritual. The obsession with this false image and the corresponding pursuit of perfecting the same becomes a life of endless pain and suffering.

So do we drop the image? Leave our professions? Become hermits? No. Live your life without the sense of separate existence. The peace of unity once seen reflects in all aspects of your life from relationships to work. It eradicates the anxiety of achievement-oriented thinking and brings peace and harmony to daily living. For this to happen, your aloneness has to be complete. Aloneness, not loneliness.

The problem is that we are so identified with the world (which usually is born out of a limited perception) and we remain preoccupied with the given roles. We remain so engrossed in “becoming” that we forge to “be.” Sometimes, nothing needs to be done for everything to happen.

In aloneness, there is an unfiltered perception of What-Is rather than What-Should-or-Should-Not-Be. The thoughts, feelings, and sensations are witnessed for what they are rather than what they should or should not be. In other words, when alone, things are seen for what they are because there is no individual observer of any phenomena. The trouble is that we are so scared of letting go of identifications with our roles.

As Nisargadatta Maharaj says there is no possibility for the real to emerge till you cling to the unreal. What is the worst that would happen? Death? How will you truly ever live without dying? Death is an inevitable fact – not that of the body but of the thinking or “me”-mind. In aloneness, there is no “you” but the pure presence which reveals the love of unity.

This love brings about an end to hate, resentment, malice, spite, condemnation, ill-will, jealousy, cynicism, and more. It brings out and enhances the creative aspects of our personality. We still identify with roles and actively engage but we never get involved in things.

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Jagjot Singh
Jagjot Singh

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