When I’m on my own I feel separate, lonely, and miserable. I love myself only when I am with others. When I’m alone I feel ashamed and dislike myself, and I judge myself as if through the eyes of others.
“It is not only you. The way children are brought up is the cause of this whole misery. No child is accepted as he is. He is rewarded if he follows the directions of the parents, the teachers, the elders. Those directions may go against his nature, because those directives were not made by him or for him. Somebody five thousand years before made those principles, and they are still being used in raising the children.
“Naturally, every child is displaced. He is not in his own self. He is not himself; he is somebody else. That somebody else is given to you by the society, by others.
“So when you are lonely, and there is nobody to dictate to you, you simply relax in your nature. There is no need to perform anything, because there is nobody who is seeing. And that relaxing into your own nature makes you feel guilty. You are going against your parents, against the priest, against the society; and they have told you that you, in yourself, are not right. And you have accepted it. It has become a conditioned thing in you.
“Whatever you do on your own is always condemned, and whatever you do following others is always praised.
“In your aloneness there is nobody else there. Naturally, you need not act; you need not be a hypocrite. You simply relax into what you are; but your mind is full of the garbage given by others.
“So when you are with others, the others are dictating to you; and when you are alone, the mind that has been created by the others, is making you feel ugly, guilty, unworthy.
“That’s why people don’t want to be alone. They want always to be with someone else, because with someone else they cannot relax into their nature. The presence of the other keeps them tense. The other is there, judging every moment, every action and gesture that you are going to make.
“So you simply perform a certain act that you have been told is right. And then your mind feels good: it is according to the conditioning. Your mind feels happy that you did well; you are great.
“People need crowds. This is the psychological reason why they always want to belong to Hinduism, to Christianity, to Mohammedanism, to this country, to that country, to this race, to that race. And even if that does not suffice, they create rotary clubs, lion clubs.
“They cannot be alone. They have to be surrounded by people continuously. Only then, they can keep the tension alive, the act alive. In the crowd, they cannot be themselves.
“Alone, why do you feel afraid? To be alone is one of the most beautiful experiences. You are no more bothered by others; you are no more forcing yourself to do something which is expected.
“Alone, you can do what you want to do. You can feel what you want to feel. All that you need is to become detached from your mind.
“Your mind is not your mind. Your mind is only an agent of the crowd you belong to. It is not in your service; it is in the service of the crowd. The crowd has put a detective in your mind who goes on forcing you, even if you are alone, to perform according to the rules.
“The whole secret is to witness the mind; allow your nature and say clearly to the mind, ‘You are not mine. I came into the world without you. You have been given to me later on by education, by example. You are something alien; you are not part of my nature. So at least when I am alone, leave me alone.’
“You have to learn to say, ‘Shut up!’ to the mind, and allow your nature full freedom.
“You will be immensely surprised what beauties you have, what innocence, what perceptiveness. And once you have learned that the mind can be put aside, and you can be really alone – because with the mind you are not really alone; all those voices of your parents and teachers and priests and the politicians are recorded in the mind; the mind simply goes on repeating them.
“It is a very great strategy played by society against the individual.”