You said the other day that we are born alone, we live alone, and we die alone.
Yet it seems as if we are constantly seeking to relate to others; in addition, we are usually attracted to being intimate with one person in particular. Would you please comment?
“The question that you have asked is the question of every human being. We are born alone, we live alone, and we die alone.
“Aloneness is our very nature, but we are not aware of it.
“Because we are not aware of it, we remain strangers to ourselves, and instead of seeing our aloneness as a tremendous beauty and bliss, silence and peace, at-easeness with existence, we misunderstand it as loneliness.
“Loneliness is a misunderstood aloneness. Once you misunderstand your aloneness as loneliness, the whole context changes.
Aloneness has a beauty and grandeur, a positivity; loneliness is poor, negative, dark, dismal.
“Everybody is running away from loneliness. It is like a wound; it hurts.
“To escape from it, the only way is to be in a crowd, to become part of a society, to have friends, to create a family, to have husbands and wives, to have children. In this crowd, the basic effort is that you will be able to forget your loneliness.
“But nobody has ever succeeded in forgetting it. That which is natural to you, you can try to ignore – but you cannot forget it; it will assert again and again. And the problem becomes more complex because you have never seen it as it is; you have taken it for granted that you are born lonely.
“The dictionary meaning is the same; that shows the mind of the people who create dictionaries. They don’t understand at all the vast difference between loneliness and aloneness.
Loneliness is a gap. Something is missing, something is needed to fill it, and nothing can ever fill it because it is a misunderstanding in the first place.
“As you grow older, the gap also grows bigger. People are so afraid to be by themselves that they do any kind of stupid thing. I have seen people playing cards alone; the other party is not there. They have invented games in which the same person plays cards from both sides.
“Somehow one wants to remain engaged. That engagement may be with people, may be with work…. There are workaholics; they are afraid when the weekend comes close – what are they going to do? And if they don’t do anything, they are left to themselves, and that is the most painful experience.
“You will be surprised to know that it is on the weekends that most of the accidents in the world happen. People are rushing in their cars to resort places, to sea beaches, to hill stations, bumper to bumper. It may take eight hours, ten hours to reach, and there is nothing for them to do because the whole crowd has come with them. Now their house, their neighborhood, their city is more peaceful than this sea resort. Everybody has come. But some engagement….
“People are playing cards, chess; people are watching television for hours. The average American watches television five hours a day; people are listening to the radio…just to avoid themselves.
“For all these activities, the only reason is – not to be left alone; it is very fearful. And this idea is taken from others.
“Who has told you that to be alone is a fearful state?
Those who have known aloneness say something absolutely different. They say there is nothing more beautiful, more peaceful, more joyful than being alone….
“But any relationship that is created because of the fear, because of the inner hell of being left alone, cannot be satisfying. Its very root is poisoned. You don’t love your woman, you are simply using her not to be lonely; neither does she love you. She is also in the same paranoia; she is using you not to be left alone.
“Naturally, in the name of love anything may happen – except love. Fights may happen, arguments may happen, but even they are preferred to being lonely: at least somebody is there and you are engaged, you can forget your loneliness.
Love never grows out of fear….
Excerpted and abridged from Osho, The Golden Future, Talk #6 – Loneliness Is Aloneness Misunderstood
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