Often I avoid being alone. I fear the pain of feeling isolated and separated. What can I do?
“The darkness of loneliness cannot be fought directly.
“It is something essential for everyone to understand, that there are a few fundamental things which cannot be changed. “
“This is one of the fundamentals. You cannot fight with darkness directly, with loneliness directly, with the fear of isolation directly. The reason is that all these things do not exist; they are simply absences of something, just as darkness is the absence of light.
“Now what do you do when you want the room not to be dark? You don’t do anything directly with darkness — or do you? You cannot push it out. There is no possible way to make any arrangement so that the darkness disappears.
“You have to do something with the light. Now that changes the whole situation; and that’s what I call one of the essentials, fundamentals. You don’t even touch the darkness; you don’t think about it. There is no point; it does not exist, it is simply an absence.
So just bring in light and you will not find darkness at all, because it was the absence of light, simply the absence of light.
“It was not something material with its own being, not something that exists — simply because light was not there, you got a false feeling of the existence of darkness.
“You can go on fighting with this darkness your whole life and you will not succeed, but just a small candle is enough to dispel it. You have to work for the light because it is positive, existential; it exists on it own. And once light comes, anything that was its absence automatically disappears.
Loneliness is similar to darkness.
“You don’t know your aloneness. You have not experienced your aloneness and its beauty, its tremendous power, its strength.
“In the dictionaries, loneliness and aloneness are synonymous, but existence does not follow your dictionaries – and yet nobody has ever tried to make an existential dictionary which will not be contradictory to existence.
“Loneliness is absence. Because you don’t know your aloneness, there is fear and you feel lonely, so you want to cling to something — to somebody, to some relationship — just to keep the illusion that you are not lonely. But you know you are — hence the pain.
“On the one hand you are clinging to something which is not for real, which is just a temporary arrangement — a relationship, a friendship. And while you are in the relationship you can create a little illusion to forget your loneliness.
But this is the problem: although you can forget for a moment your loneliness, just the next moment you suddenly become aware that the relationship or the friendship is nothing permanent.
“Yesterday you did not know this man or this woman, you were strangers. Today you are friends. Who knows about tomorrow? Tomorrow you may be strangers again, hence the pain.
“The illusion gives a certain solace, but it cannot create the reality so that all fear disappears. It represses the fear, so on the surface you feel good — at least you try to feel good. You pretend to feel good to yourself: how wonderful is the relationship, how wonderful is the man or the woman.
“But behind the illusion — and the illusion is so thin that you can see behind it — there is pain in the heart because the heart knows perfectly well that tomorrow things may not be the same. And they are not the same.
“Your whole life’s experience supports this — that things go on changing.
Nothing remains stable; you cannot cling to anything in a changing world.
“You wanted to make your friendship something permanent but your wanting is against the law of change, and that law is not going to make exceptions. It simply goes on doing its own thing. It will change everything.
“And perhaps in the long run you will understand one day that it was good that it did not listen to you, that existence did not bother about you and just went on doing whatever it wanted to do, not according to your desire.
“It may take a little time for you to understand. You want this friend to be your friend forever, but tomorrow he turns into an enemy, or simply says, ”Get lost!” and he is no longer with you.
“And then somebody else, who is far more superior, fills the gap, and suddenly you realize it was good that the other one got lost; otherwise you would have been stuck with him.
But still the lesson never goes so deep that you stop asking for permanence.
“You will start asking for permanence with this man, with this woman: “Now this should not change!” You have not really learned the lesson that change is simply the very fabric of life. You have to understand it and go with it. Don’t create illusions; they are not going to help. And everybody is creating illusions of different kinds….
“What I am trying to say is that every effort that has been directed toward avoiding loneliness has failed, and will fail, because it is against the fundamentals of life.
“What is needed is not something in which you can forget your loneliness.
What is needed is that you become aware of your aloneness, which is a reality.
“And it is so beautiful to experience it, to feel it, because it is your freedom from the crowd, from the other. It is your freedom from the fear of being lonely.
“Just the word “lonely” immediately reminds you that it is like a wound: something is needed to fill it. There is a gap and it hurts, something needs to be filled into it.
“Aloneness, the very word “aloneness” does not have the same sense of a wound, of a gap which has to be filled.
Aloneness simply means completeness. You are whole; there is no need of anybody else to complete you.
“So try to find your innermost center, where you are always alone, have always been alone. In life, in death, wherever you are, you will be alone.
“But it is so full, it is not empty, it is so full and so complete and so overflowing with all the juices of life, with all the beauties and benedictions of existence, that once you have tasted aloneness the pain in the heart will disappear. Instead, a new rhythm of tremendous sweetness, peace, joy, bliss, will be there….
“So I will not ask you to do anything about your loneliness. Forget loneliness, forget darkness, forget pain. These are just the absence of aloneness. The experience of aloneness will dispel them instantly. “
And the method is the same: just watch your mind, be aware.
“Become more and more conscious, so finally you are only conscious of yourself. That is the point where you become aware of aloneness….
“But always look whether anything that you are facing as a problem is a negative thing or a positive thing.
“If it is a negative thing, then don’t fight with it; don’t bother about it at all. Just look for the positive of it, and you will be at the right door.
“Most of the people in the world miss because they start fighting directly with the negative door.
“There is no door; there is only darkness, there is only absence. And the more they fight, the more they find failure, the more they become dejected, pessimistic — and ultimately they start finding that life has no meaning, that it is simply torture. But their mistake is they entered from the wrong door.
“So before you face a problem, just look at the problem: is it an absence of something? And all your problems are the absence of something. And once you have found what they are the absence of, then go after the positive.
And the moment you find the positive, the light — the darkness is finished.”
Excerpted and abridged from Osho,The Path of the Mystic, Talk #19 – The Bliss of Aloneness
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