In a world getting busier by the minute it can be very appealing to get away from it all, to find somewhere out of range of WiFi, and perhaps even out of range of other people. So why is it that the bliss of such a place can wear off pretty quickly and we find ourselves calling friends and family to tell them what a great time we’re having? What is so scary about being alone?
“The night has not yet given way to the dawn, and the sky is still studded with departing stars. The river looks like a thin stream of silver. The sand is cool with dewdrops, and the wind is bitter with cold. A deep stillness prevails, and the sounds of birds every now and then only deepens it.
“Taking a friend with me, I have come to this solitary place rather early. The friend says that he feels fear in solitude, and the stillness feels overwhelming. If he keeps himself occupied somehow then it is fine; otherwise a strange kind of anguish and sadness overtakes him.
This anguish comes to everybody. Nobody wants to face himself. Looking within oneself, one feels puzzled. And because solitude leaves one alone with oneself, it is frightening. If you are entangled in the other, the self is forgotten. That is a kind of unconsciousness and an escape. Man keeps himself busy his whole life in this escape.
“But this escape is temporary: there is no way man can escape from his own self! All his efforts to escape are futile, because he himself is the one from whom he is trying to escape. How can one escape from oneself, and how can one run away from oneself? We can run away from everything, but not from our own self. Having run throughout our whole life, we will find that we have not reached anywhere. Hence, those who are intelligent do not run away from their own self; rather, they face themselves.
“If man looks inward he experiences an emptiness. There is an infinite nothingness within. Hence, becoming puzzled, he runs outward. He makes endless efforts to fill this emptiness. He wants to fill it up in the world, in relationships. But it cannot be filled in any way – it is impossible to fill it up – and this is his anguish and the failure of his life. Death shows this anguish very clearly: death throws him into this very emptiness from which he has been escaping his whole life. And that is why the fear of death is uppermost.
I say, fleeing from one’s emptiness is ignorance. It is through facing it, entering it, that life is attained. Reaching to this nothingness, we realize our nature.
“Religion is an entry into the emptiness. What man experiences in himself in utter aloneness is religiousness.”
To continue reading and see all available formats of this talk:
Osho, Seeds of Wisdom, Letter#,108