Loneliness is a valuable teacher, leading us into the truth of our being, and into a life of deep love and caring for what is. If we are open, that is.
How to get the most out of these Wisdom Quotes:
Put aside everything you think you already know.
Open your mind and heart to receive something new.
Take your time going through each point.
Return to any points that particularly touch you.
In the coming days, listen carefully to the wisdom within you.
1. Recognize the Fear
"Do you know what loneliness means? Some of you may be unfamiliar with that word, but you know the feeling very well.
You try going out for a walk alone, or being without a book, without someone to talk to, and you will see how quickly you get bored. You know that feeling well enough, but you don't know why you get bored, you have never inquired into it.
If you inquire a little into boredom you will find that the cause of it is loneliness. It is in order to escape from loneliness that we want to be together, we want to be entertained, to have distractions of every kind.
Being inwardly lonely we become mere spectators in life; and we can be the players only when we understand loneliness and go beyond it.
After all, most people marry and seek other social relationships because they don't know how to live alone. Not that one must live alone; but, if you marry because you want to be loved, or if you are bored and use your job as a means of forgetting yourself, then you will find that your whole life is nothing but an endless search for distractions.
Very few go beyond this extraordinary fear of loneliness; but one must go beyond it, because beyond it lies the real treasure."
~J. Krishnamurti, Think on These Things
"Your whole life is nothing but an endless search for distractions."
Look within and see your reaction to this statement. Do you agree with it? Are you offended by it? Do you dismiss it as untrue?
As you sit with this curiosity, become aware of any resistance in your being and relax into it by breathing. Let there be a space between the real you and the personality of you that you're exploring.
In this stillness, notice all the distractions in your life that are keeping you from knowing yourself more deeply. Notice all the things that make you forget yourself. Notice in love and wisdom.
2. No Need to Escape
"You know, there is a vast difference between loneliness and aloneness. Some of the younger students may still be unaware of loneliness, but the older people know it: the feeling of being utterly cut off, of suddenly being afraid without apparent cause.
The mind knows this fear when for a moment it realizes that it can rely on nothing, that no distraction can take away the sense of self-enclosing emptiness. That is loneliness.
But aloneness is something entirely different; it is a state of freedom which comes into being when you have gone through loneliness and understand it.
In that state of aloneness you don't rely on anyone psychologically because you are no longer seeking pleasure, comfort, gratification. It is only then that the mind is completely alone, and only such a mind is creative.
All this is part of education: to face the ache of loneliness, that extraordinary feeling of emptiness which all of us know, and not be frightened when it comes; not to turn on the radio, lose oneself in work, or run to the cinema, but to look at it, go into it, understand it.
There is no human being who has not felt or will not feel that quivering anxiety. It is because we try to run away from it through every form of distraction and gratification - through sex, through God, through work, through drink, through writing poems or repeating certain words which we have learnt by heart - that we never understand that anxiety when it comes upon us.
So, when the pain of loneliness comes upon you, confront it, look at it without any thought of running away. If you run away you will never understand it, and it will always be there waiting for you around the corner.
Whereas, if you can understand loneliness and go beyond it, then you will find there is no need to escape, no urge to be gratified or entertained, for your mind will know a richness that is incorruptible and cannot be destroyed."
~J. Krishnamurti, Think on These Things
It seems we have a built-in urge to run away from the feeling of loneliness, yet how does this running away serve us?
Krishnamurti shares with us that it is in confronting the pain of loneliness that we can understand it and finally go beyond it, to a place where we are alone, yet not suffering from loneliness.
How do we confront the pain? By not running away from it. By being still with it. By acknowledging it. By allowing it. It's such a strange thing to do that we may feel at a loss where to start. Start by noticing the tendency to run away.
Re-read the last paragraph of the quote. Understanding loneliness is not something you do with your intellectual mind. Be present with that "uncomfortable" feeling that we call loneliness and discover what's on the other side of it.
3. Recognize the Expectations
"First, you need to see that it’s a thought and a belief, and a belief is not real because beliefs change, thoughts change.
You experience a loneliness so, go into the loneliness to feel what that loneliness is and, when you go into the loneliness, some insights may come to you and you will see.
Everyone, as a human being, may experience loneliness but, if you have this real desire and you want to have this partner, ask yourself: why do I want to have this partner? Is it so I can feel somehow complete? Do you somehow think and believe that you will be complete when you have a partner?
If you have a belief that something outside of you is going to fulfill you, to make you complete, you’re not going deep enough within to find the presence and the consciousness, the stillness within you.
Don’t judge yourself for that because we all do it, all of us. I’ve been there so many times that I ended up choosing the wrong guy.
Look at why you want a partner in your life. Is it that somehow you will feel good, feel complete, feel whole? When you first meet, you might feel like that but, after a while, you’re going to end up resenting that partner because they’re not going to be able to fulfill you. They’re going to be human, they’re going to get angry with you or upset, you may end up fighting with them - or maybe you’ll be so present, you won’t end up fighting with them - but it still won’t be perfect.
We go through life and our society informs us and tells us through the media, through television, that we need to have a partner, we need to have a “certain” partner even, but it doesn’t fulfill you, it doesn’t complete you.
Look at all your conditionings about what you think a relationship should be like. What do you think a man should be like? What do you think a woman should be like? And then drop it all because, if you have those expectations, you’re not having a true relationship with another human being - you’re having a relationship with an idea in your head.
Look at all those expectations and see what they are. Just let them go and really be in the moment. Being in your true self is independent and not identified or attached to anything outside of you."
~Kim Eng, from the video: How to Deal With Loneliness
"Look at all your conditionings about what you think a relationship should be like. What do you think a man should be like? What do you think a woman should be like? And then drop it all..."
Do you see how, when there is any kind of expectation, you're having a relationship with an idea rather than a person? This explains how we see one another differently, and how one person can admire someone, while another person can't stand them.
No matter how many times we hear that we don't need another person to complete us, that we are already whole, there is still a vast difference between believing this and knowing it to be true. The former is based on thought, unsteady and unreliable, while the latter is intuitive and unwavering.
As you read these quotes and notes, keep your heart open. Notice the mental narrative of "should" and "shouldn't" and be aware of any pressure you're putting on yourself. Change will happen naturally when you have an insight, and the best way for that to happen is to stay open and relaxed. Allow yourself to be just as you are until you experience the shift in perspective you hope for.
4. Find the Space Around the Longing
"In the absence of a partner, it is possible to notice a certain sense of lack on the level of form and yet have a lot of spaciousness around that sense of lack.
Yes, you can feel there is a longing, but the longing does not consume you. The longing has not taken possession of you and made you into an unhappy person, a totally unfulfilled and bitter person.
The longing is there but the longing that arises from the particular form of you exists within a spaciousness. That is the transcendent dimension, and who you are is not the unfulfilled longing. Who you are is the presence or the stillness around it. That is the shift. So, the longing may persist but you can live with it.
However, if you are no longer trapped in the longing, it’s also quite possible that a change will come into your life, particularly if the intense neediness goes. "I need somebody," - then everyone you meet can feel the neediness, and when you’ve given somebody you’ve just met your phone number, and then you’re waiting for them to call, they’re less likely to call when the neediness is there.
They’re more likely to call when a certain spaciousness is there. I’d love this person to call me but he or she may not and, again, there’s a spaciousness around it.
Of course, you can take action towards meeting somebody.
So find that place where the polarities are not there anymore, in the being, the I am-ness, that’s deeper than the form, and go there as much as you can. It may not totally free you of the longing but that’s okay. The longing will just become a thing that’s no longer overwhelming and then take action and see what happens."
~Eckhart Tolle, from the video: Dealing With Loneliness
Here, Eckhart differentiates between a longing that is overwhelming and consuming, and a longing that has space, stillness and presence around it.
We focus so much on taking or not taking action when it comes to finding a partner, but what matters more is the source of the action or non-action.
Are you guided by a longing surrounded by spacious wisdom, or plagued by a longing filled with sadness and frustration? Notice the difference in your experience. Find the stillness in the moment and allow your longing to be held in love and understanding.
Then, from the this deeper dimension of yourself (beyond the stressful thoughts and feelings) you can be empowered to go through life with a different energy rather than one of unfulfilled longing.
5. Go to the Core of the Feeling
"What is the nature of friendship, of love? Could it be that, that very experience called love, is the recognition that what we are is one?
And that the reason we feel lonely is because we have limited ourself, we have allowed ourselves to believe that what I am is a sensation, or a collection of sensations and thoughts?
And I have isolated myself. I have built a wall around myself and, for that reason, I don’t feel this connection. I’ve separated myself from the other and, therefore, I feel lonely. In other words, could it be that this feeling of loneliness is a result of this superimposed limitation on ourself?
Therefore, the remedy for this feeling of loneliness is to discover, "What am I?" essentially.
Rather than to cure the feeling of loneliness by reaching for an object or a substance or a relationship or an activity or a state of mind - to go to the core of the feeling, which is, I am finite, I am temporary, I am separate...
If you discover that you are not something temporary or finite, not only will it put an end to your loneliness, or at least, uproot your loneliness in time, but it will also uproot all your other feelings of fear and anxiety and sense of lack because all these feelings revolve around the same belief: "I, awareness, am temporary and finite."
So, rather than trying to cure or alleviate the feeling, explore the one on whose behalf the feeling is rising."
~Rupert Spira, from the video: Why do I feel lonely?
Day after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year, here in the Wisdom Quotes Cafe, we are discovering who we really are.
This is always at the core of our explorations because, when you see that almost everything you believe about yourself isn't true, a strong illusion crumbles away to reveal something too mysterious and magnificent for words. Your true nature.
As you explore your thoughts and feelings of loneliness, allow them to guide you more deeply into yourself, into a connection with the essence of your being.
6. Discover a Different Way
“When someone tells you, “I love you,” and then you feel, “Oh, I must be worthy after all,” that’s an illusion. That’s not true. Or someone says, “I hate you,” and you think, “Oh, God, I knew it; I’m not very worthy,” that’s not true either.
Neither one of these thoughts hold any intrinsic reality. They are an overlay. When someone says, “I love you,” he is telling you about himself, not you. When someone says, “I hate you,” she is telling you about herself, not you. World views are self views—literally.”
“We end up putting so much attention onto our image that we remain in a continuous state of protecting or improving our image in order to control how others see us.”
“If you demand in some subtle way to be loved, even if you get love, it is never enough. In the next moment, the demand reasserts itself, and you need to be loved again. But as soon as you let go, there is knowing in that instant that there is love here already.
The mind is afraid to let go of its demand because the mind thinks that if it lets go, it is not going to get what it wants - as if demanding works. This is not the way things work.
Stop chasing peace and stop chasing love, and your heart becomes full. Stop trying to be a better person, and you are a better person. Stop trying to forgive, and forgiveness happens. Stop and be still.”
“Awakeness, when it’s allowed to be experienced, is a deep love and caring for what is. Love is always throwing itself into the moment, here and now, fully abandoning itself into now. To be in relationship in this way is simple. It is humble. It is very intimate. Then you can meet another person in a whole different way.”
There is so much for us to see in Adyashanti's words.
Firstly, the illusion of love, when we take another's words to mean something about ourselves. Secondly, the illusion of image, when we give so much attention to how we want others to see us. Thirdly, the shackles of demand, when we are not okay with this moment as it is, and we feel restless and upset because of it. And finally, a glimpse at a whole different way of being in relationship to others.
"Stop and be still," is the ultimate guidance. The shift from the world of the mind to the world of now. is so simple, yet we have deceived ourselves that it is difficult and unrealistic. All it takes is one conscious breath to return to presence. In that moment, the glitter in the snow globe of our experience stops swirling around and starts to settle i.e., attention is taken away from thought, and wisdom appears as clarity and peace in the midst of our circumstances.
Loneliness is a valuable teacher, leading us into the truth of our being, and into a life of deep love and caring for what is. But only, as I like to remind you, if you are open.