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Love and loneliness will actually go together.
You see, love is forever a movement. Love is an attraction, a pull. We all feel that irresistible urge and it is so quick, spontaneous, and comes without preparation, planning or warning that we hardly have the time to know about its origins, or about the possible expanse it may take. It just happens.
Often you know the source of the attraction. Often it is not so mystical, often it can be resisted. Yes, it does happen that way too, but then the next wave arrives. If you get over one attraction towards anything-anybody, the next round of attraction starts. Objects keep varying, the tendency to be attracted remains. Are we one on this? Has this been your experience?
Today we may be attracted to one thing, tomorrow that thing may lose its shine but that does not mean that one would not be attracted. When I say attraction, I just mean the tendency of the mind to be drawn towards something. That something could be an object, a material object, a person, a thought, a place, an idea, a concept, money, religion, man, woman, house property, enlightenment, anything – the tendency to be attracted remains.
The mind wants to reach somewhere. The mind very well knows that it is not alright as it is. A feeling of being lost remains. A feeling of being stranded, even abandoned remains. One does not feel quite at home and if one does, one often discovers that the feeling is fleeting.
So, there is that aspect of love in which there is clearly an object that you love. And then there is the continuity of love, the stream of love in which objects keep coming and going, in which persons keep coming and going, moods keep coming and going, thoughts keep coming and going but the attraction remains. Today you are attracted to the left, tomorrow you may be attracted to the right. Left has changed to right but the mind is still attracted. And a point may come when one is attracted neither to the left nor to the right. One feels like going up or down or just keeps standing but still an attraction towards something has remained. Now, one is attracted towards just standing still.
Classically, these are the two types of love that mystics have talked of: love that is with respect to an object, and Love that is perineal. Love that is objectless, in the sense, that is has space for an infinite number of objects to come and go. So, essentially objects do not matter in that because had objects mattered, then the mind would have found refuge and finality in some object. But the mind stops at no object. Objects keep coming and going, the mind still remains restless. The thirst does not get quenched. So, this love has been called as love for something beyond objects because the entire stream of objects, the entire stream of time fails to fructify this love, to bring it to a final contentment.
Mind keeps moving, looking for something unknown. But because the mind can never really know the unknown, so the mind does what it can – looking around for the unknown, it keeps hoping for the unknown in the known.
One does not know what one has lost. One does not know what one is looking for, but still there is an urge which is almost a suffering, a feeling of loneliness, a feeling of deprivation, a feeling of homelessness. So, something has to be done about it. The mind does not know what to do, so it does what it can do – it wanders. Now, wandering is not really a solution, but when you are desperate for something, then you do all that is within your powers, even if what you do is surely going to prove ineffective.
I saw a kid, he was walking, and one of the fingers in his leg hit a stone, and he stumbled. The impact must have been deep. He started running and he ran for nothing less than 20-30 meters. Limping, he started running. Now, obviously running is no cure for pain. Have you watched this happen? You get hit, and you start moving fast. Now, that running is no cure for pain but that is what you can do, so you do that. Knowing fully well that it won’t help the pain, you still run. That is what the mind does. It knows that running is no cure for the pain it experience but the mind knows nothing except running, so it runs. And in the process of running, it sometimes reaches one person, sometimes the other, and something else, and then something else, some books, some ideology, some fancy thought, some place, relocation, change of job, another marriage, detachment.
The mind runs, because there is pain.
Man is thus born to keep running. Man is thus born to love. There is nobody who is not a lover. Your love may make you run in different directions but that does not make us separate, or different beings. One may seek satisfaction in reading, the other may seek satisfaction in drinking, the fourth may seek satisfaction in travelling, the fifth in raising money, the sixth in carnal pleasures, the seventh in meditation techniques, the eighth in something else — that does not make these eight fundamentally any different from each other.
We all are just the same; we all are lovers.
To love is to search for that final Peace.
To love is to look for that ultimate full stop. And unless that full stop comes, we will not stop.
Obviously that’s the definition of full stop. Unless that full stop comes, we will keep limping, and we will keep running because it is hurting. It is hurting quite bad. Man’s life is nothing but this movement from place to place, from person to person.
If you look at the smaller picture, you’ll feel that one is caring for his family, you may feel that one is studying to gain a degree, you may feel that one is a responsible employ, you may feel that one is an inspiring sportsman, you may feel that one is a good writer, or painter, or artist, or doctor, or architect, or an engineer. You may feel that one loves to travel, so one is going from country to country, you may feel that one has thirst for knowledge, so he is reading book after book, but behind all this there is just the thirst of mind waiting for its final redemption. Unless its final redemption comes, you can keep travelling to all the countries of the world, visit all cities and villages — large and small, have relationships with all men and women, and animals, and places, cultivate all kinds of fancies that you can, but you will not stop. No man will be the last. No woman will be the last. No ideology will be permanent. No state will last. You will remain, forever, a searcher; an anchorless wanderer.
Loneliness is Love.
To be lonely implies that you are being pulled.
To be lonely implies that loneliness hurts, and if it hurts, you want to cure it, you want to get rid of it.
This want to get rid of loneliness itself is Love.
Are you getting it?
However, there is a catch.
The catch is that when one is lonely, then one may get so intimidated by one’s loneliness that one may not dare to come close to it. That one may not dare to probe deeply into it, and go to the roots of it. And if one doesn’t go to the roots of feeling of his loneliness, he will feel that loneliness is a shallow phenomena which can be treated with superficial ointments.
So one will say, “I am feeling lonely, let me call up someone.” And one will think that a little bit of electronic socialization will do the trick. Or one may say, “I keep feeling lonely, let me get married.” Or one will say, “Let me change cities, and move to another place where my community, or my friends live.” Or one may just say, “Let me switch on the television, or visit the shopping mall.”
This happens when one is afraid. This happens when one is not courageous enough to understand his own thoughts and feelings. And that requires no wizardry. That requires plain, old-fashioned courage.
“Yes, there is something that I am missing, but what is it? Am I really missing that T.V. show? Seriously!” But one behaves as if the T.V. show was the reason why you were feeling uneasy. So, he switches on the television. One behaves as if a walk around the park, or a new dress, or a bout of physical intimacy will help relieve the situation permanently. “I am feeling a little queasy. Alright, let’s have some sex.” That will put you to sleep, but then the same cycle will be repeated the next day. This is when loneliness is not understood. This is when mind is taken as something to be afraid of.
Then one tries short cuts. Then one tries being a doctor unto himself, and that is quackery. Ever seen those guys at some pharmacy who go there and try to prescribe themselves out of their ailments? They would stand there and ask the retailer, “Which drugs are in circulation these days?” And he would say, “This and this…” He would say, “Okay, fine. Alright, give me that one.” As if they are ordering food from the menu. And often, patients are less scared of the disease, and more scared of knowing about the disease.
Do you not know of people who would not get themselves tested in a pathology? They would continue to live with their condition but what they cannot bear is looking at the reports from the pathology, reports that declare them to be patients. They don’t want to be declared abnormal. They don’t want their numbers to be highlighted in red. “As long as it is not coming in front of me, as long as it is not coming in front of the conscious mind, I can at least pretend I am alright. So, let it not be certified in black and white, or in red that I am a patient. After that it will be not so easy to deceive myself. So, let that report not arrive.”
This is how scared we are of our own condition. This is how scared we are of pathology reports, and mirrors. A mirror is a report from the path lab, you look at yourself. Most of us are tremendously afraid of mirrors. Most of us would not want risk of talking to someone who holds up a mirror to them. Most of us would rather look at photoshopped material. I understand Photoshop is probably getting a little out of date, there are newer applications these days, you know what I mean.
If you can go to the roots of your own loneliness, then you will not be duped into running after objects, then you will not be tempted to give yourself superficial treatments.
On the weekend after a lunch, you went off to sleep, and when you wake up after a few hours it is dark and you feel an inexplicable uneasiness. You do not know what has happened. When you went to sleep it was bright, and now it is dark. And it is weekend. You are not in your office. You are not surrounded by people, and there is nothing to do. You are not surrounded even by work.
Have you felt the tremendous scare that these moments pose?
That is loneliness.
And if you cannot live with these moments, you’ll pick up the mobile, call up your boyfriend and say, “Can we meet over dinner?”
You have given yourself a cheap solution.
Do you see this?
Or you would pick up the mobile phone and start looking at some website. “Okay, so what is happening in the football league? What is happening in the presidential elections?” Is it really the presidential elections that you care for?
No, you are just deceiving yourself.
Or you may start thinking about something. Thought is a great way to escape. Or you’ll go, and make yourself a drink, or a cup of tea. You’ll give yourself something to do. Or if you are spiritually oriented, you’ll go and pick up some religious text, book of wisdom. But what we will not do is look squarely at what is happening. That we will not do, because that is dangerous; dangerous to our ways of living, dangerous to our patterns.
I asserted, “Loneliness is love,” but that assertion is of no use unless loneliness is understood. Loneliness might be love, but it would remain a love unfulfilled, unless loneliness is understood, unless one has the fearlessness, and the faith to go into direct contact with the feeling of loneliness. “Yes I am feeling lonely, and I will not run away from it. I may shiver, I may tremble, I may feel a great discomfort, yet it does not pay to escape this.” ‘Love’ and ‘loneliness’ are together, but love would reach its climax, its finality, its dissolution, only if one understands his loneliness.
Loneliness craves for its dissolution, and that is called Aloneness.
Loneliness craves to reach its end, and that is called Aloneness.
And in that aloneness, even Love does not exist.
In that aloneness, there is no reaching, no arriving, no achieving.
And hence, nothing to get attracted to.
Even love disappears; it’s gone.
Love requires that at least a minimum separation is there between you and that which you love. Love requires the existences of ‘two’ even if the ‘two’ are deeply intimate. But ‘twoness’ must be there for love. In aloneness, that ‘twoness’ itself is gone. Now, whom would you love? You are one with the beloved. Whom to love? Only the beloved remains. To whom does one offer his love now?
Please take every single feeling of discomfort, of disquiet as a signal that there is something that beckons you, and that something is not a thing. So, you better not try out things. There is something that is calling you but that which is calling you is not a thing. So, do not deceive yourself with one thing or the other.
Things will not suffice.
Nothing that the mind can conceive of would suffice. Your next great idea would again fall flat. Your next big hope would again be dashed. You would be disappointed once again. So, don’t place your hope in things. Don’t place your hope in thoughts. Don’t place your hope in yourself. Whatever you are doing, or can possibly do is not only insufficient but actually, detrimental to your own interests.
The more you live in the impression of finally reaching something that completes your destiny, the more you will keep away from your destiny.
Your destiny, obviously, is aloneness; is contentment; is a realization that not only have you arrived but actually there had been never any departure.
Do not castigate loneliness. Do not calumnies it. Everybody is lonely.
And that is great news.
And do not unnecessarily lionize aloneness. Aloneness is not a concept. Aloneness is not a state. Aloneness is total disappearance. What are you praising it for? We are lonely beings.
Let us be reconcile to that. Let us accept that.
There is nobody who is at any given point too far away from crying. There is nobody who is too far away from breaking down. Oh! we have trained our tears to not to be disobedient. So, they don’t make unrequited appearances. We are social beings you see. We very well know the right place where to discharge any of the bodily fluids, including tears. One should not discharge in the open, even from the eyes. We are cultivated people you know.
But look at your face. Look at the face of your neighbour, look at the face of your child, or husband, or wife. And if you have not trained yourself to be totally insensitive, you will know what the entire misery of this world is about. And that’s not something to feel bad about. That only shows that we are not totally dead yet. That only shows that, that which is calling us has not yet given up upon us.
If that which calls us would give up upon us, you would not feel what you feel. You would become accustomed to suffering. The very fact that we dislike suffering, that we suffer in suffering is proof that something beyond suffering is constantly calling us. That is proof that suffering is not our nature. And that is proof that one need not get adjusted to living a lukewarm life.
Nothing less than the total, the final, the ultimate beckons us. So, there is no need to compromise. And if you compromise, that would be such a pathetic compromise because it would give you nothing. You were distraught before the compromise, and you would remain distraught after the compromise. What’s the point of this compromise? So, don’t compromise, and keep moving. And when I say keep moving I mean keep in touch with your loneliness.
Those who suppress their loneliness become victim of suppression, those who keep in touch with their loneliness come up with great creativity. Beautiful songs have risen out of human melancholy. People talk of songs written in joy. I say that all songs that have any truth in them have actually risen from the honest depth of man’s suffering.
One who has never suffered can never write a song.
One who has never wept can never sing a song.
All art arises from the artist’s inner turmoil.
If you shelve that turmoil, if you lock it away, there would be no art in your life.
There will be nothing fluid, and real in your life.
And one of the worst culprits in this dimension are the so-called ‘spiritual people’. They have been told that to suffer is weakness. They have been told that suffering is sin. So, they wear a rotten mask of joyful appearance. You go to so many of these so-called spiritual places, and you will find people walking around with smiles because they have been told that unless you are smiling, you have reached nowhere in your spiritual pursuit. They have been told that Joy is akin to pleasure.
Poor are they, because they have no experience of Joy that lies in the total depths of despair. They do not know the Truth that shines when you are in total darkness. They do not know the realization that occurs when you have been beaten, bruised, cheated, deceived, totally and badly. They do not know the great fun that lies in tears.
Do not wear those masks.
Whom are we trying to please with our smiling faces?
Who are we cheating?
Does that help?
Honestly, directly, simply, without pretense know where you stand. And wherever we stand, we stand at a point that is distant from the home. We all are lonely. We all are loving beings. Loneliness is not a blemish. Loneliness is not an insult. Loneliness and desire are very close. To desire is not a humiliation, but in many spiritual circles it is. So, what do you do? You turn to hypocrisy. With desires still burning in your mind, you say, “Well you know, I have no desires.” Or you seek backdoor entries to forbidden places to satisfy your desires. “It should not be seen that I am still desirous.” Because all that matters is whether you are being seen. So, ultimately, all propaganda is for others. All the masks are for others.
Don’t be so cleaver. In fooling others, first of all, you fool yourself. In deceiving others, first of all, you are deceiving yourself. You may do something that nobody else is able to see, but kindly tell me, how would you do something that even you are not able to see? You may cut off everybody else from knowing what you do or who you are, but there would still be one entity that would know what you do and who you are.
AP: Yourself. So, in deceiving others, you’ll have to inevitably deceive yourself first. Don’t try that smartness. At least to yourself, honestly, simply confess. There may be no need to sing about it in the markets. There may be no need to wear a banner proclaiming your loneliness or a car sticker or a hat or a t-shirt or a Facebook status. I don’t know if they have that option, “Feeling lonely” Do they have that option?
That should have been a default option.
You are not reduced if you are lonely. You are not belittled. I repeat: it is not an insult, not an offence to be wanting, to be desirous, to be lonely, to be seeking, to be searching. It only shows that you are still human, that you have not been taken away totally by machines, that you are not yet totally programmed, that something of the mystical still lives in your heart. You do not need to act macho. You do not need to act superhuman. We all are little fragile beings and in that lies our glory. We are already glorious but by rejecting our littleness, we subject ourselves to ignobility. By rejecting ourselves, we act as if something is offensive about our very existence, as if ‘to be’ is crime.
You may be down in the dumps, and there is nothing wrong about it. But to pretend that you are flying when you are actually being flayed—that is hypocrisy. And that would perpetuate your suffering.
You might be the worst social offender, you might have broken laws, you might not have kept your vows, you might have not completed your degrees, you might be economically unproductive, you might not be knowledgeable, and you might not be an expert in any field — that does not matter.
Existence has no care for your achievements.
The sun would still shine upon you. The rose would not turn its face away from you. The moon would still be available to you. Existence is not anthropomorphic. It does not believe in mad-made ways. The society may say that you do not look pretty, but if you go and look at your face in a pond, in a pool, in a lake, the lake would not despise you. The lake would welcome you just as it welcomes the beautiful moon. So, it does not matter where you stand, what people think of you, and what is your social standard. It does not matter even what you think of yourself. You are an accepted child of the universe.
The universe accepts you just as much as it accepts a ‘Buddha’. It gives them no special favors. And it does not discriminate against you. Even in your worst hour, you may find that a butterfly comes, and quietly sits upon your shoulder. The judge there is pronouncing you guilty of the most heinous offences and the butter fly is quietly sitting upon your shoulder, not at all bothered by what man made laws are proclaiming you to be.
Do you get this?
Equally they might be crowning you the most beautiful woman in the universe, but that does not deter the crow from dropping a little bit of blessings on your forehead. May be that is his way of accepting that you are so beautiful.
I am repeating this: It’s a very simple thing. Nothing complicated about it. There is nothing at all wrong about being whatever you are — tall, short, good, bad, man, woman, qualified, unqualified, read, unread, achiever, non-achiever. Everything is just okay. It is not even okay, it is irrelevant.
The universe is indifferent to your qualifications. What is not okay is hiding, pretending, rejecting, suppressing. Loneliness is alright. Pretending that you are not lonely is not alright. Trying cheap substitutes for the real one is not alright. Living in self deception is not alright.
Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: Love and loneliness The transcription has been edited for clarity.
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