Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Finding home in our aloneness...


Several of you have recently shared a deep experience of loneliness that you’ve been feeling, wondering if it would ever go away, wanting so sweetly for it to yield to the deep longing for love that has been placed into the center of your hearts. In speaking with you and feeling into my own experience around this, it seems important to differentiate between “aloneness” and “loneliness.” 

Aloneness is a very raw, alive, vulnerable reality and experience – the realization that despite our connection with others and with life as it is, we do appear to make this journey alone. No one can have our experiences for us, love another for us, open our hearts for us, or die for us; likewise, we for them. The true yogi is at home in this type of aloneness, which has a tinge of sadness to it… living in this field is so fragile, so unknown, so unbearably touching, always uncertain, forever without ground or reference point. Not even our favorite spiritual beliefs and superstitions and beloved gurus can quite protect us from the Aloneness that was given to us. 

We know that at any moment our hearts may break, we may fall in love in the most excruciating way, meet deep waves of feelings and sensations. We realize that, without our conscious knowing, we have taken some unexplainable vow to turn all the way into the sacred preciousness of this life, willing to enter directly into sadness, into suffering, into darkness, guided by a love from beyond. 

“Loneliness,” on the other hand, is usually borne out of a resistance to our present experience – to feelings of grief, sadness, hurt, shame, and so forth. When we are not able to meet these feelings and sensations, and are not able to stay with them and metabolize them within our own experience, we feel cut off from Life, lonely, and disconnected. Our sweet friends only want to be met, only want one undistracted, unguarded, and unprotected moment of our time, to share their gifts with us. Will we, can we somehow open the door when they arrive? 

For many spiritual people, in my experience, this sort of embrace of direct experience is something they have learned as a conceptual goal. But what I’ve noticed is that there is often a hidden agenda lurking in the background. I’ll sit with this feeling of sadness or grief or shame or fear, but secretly because I’ve been told that’s what I’m supposed to do and that the feeling will likely go away if I do so. This of course is still a subtle resistance, and thus still the foundation of the experience of loneliness, cut-off-ness. We all yearn and long to meet whatever arises in this sacred body and mind. And we become lonely when we are not able. 

It is so sweet. Being human is such a fragile situation. Our friends sadness and grief and jealousy and raw wide open vulnerability are sent away, out the back door of our hearts, and into a lonely forest. This is sad. Please, don’t go, friends! Stay close! Let us somehow allow these ones in, that they may reveal the most precious path from loneliness to the every-luminous grace-field of true Aloneness.