Thursday, April 3, 2014

The tender yoga of aloneness

There are times throughout the day when a very familiar sense of loneliness can begin to color your world. You wonder if it will ever go away, when it will yield to your deep longing for connection, and why all the work on yourself has not yet transformed the despair. The feeling of loneliness is a reminder of separation, and has a way of cutting into the aliveness of immediate experience.

The reality of Aloneness, on the other hand, is utterly raw and very alive. Despite our connection with others, we are asked to make the journey of the heart alone. No one can experience life for us, love and be loved for us, embrace and feel our tender broken heart for us, or die for us; likewise, we for them.

The yogi of Aloneness is at home in this type of environment—and in fact welcomes it—knowing that organizing her reality around love will almost always trigger the experience of tender vulnerability and penetrating sadness. Living in the burning alive field of aloneness is so open, so unknown, and unbearably touching; it is always uncertain and forever without ground or reference point. It reveals the truth that we can never truly look to the known to tell us who we are or anything about the nature of love.

Within the mandala of purifying aloneness, we know that at any moment our hearts may break, that we may fall in love in the most excruciating way, and that we may be asked to meet deep waves of feeling and sensation. We know that as we open in this way, we will no longer be able to avoid the terrors of intimacy, the surety of utter exposure, and the reality of crushing aliveness. We realize that, without our conscious knowing, we have taken some unexplainable vow to turn all the way into the preciousness of this life, willing to enter directly into such tenderness, into suffering, into the darkness, and into naked vulnerability – guided only by the unknown and by a love from beyond. It is not easy to live in such an open and unguarded way, but here we are; we have come here to give our hearts to others and to this world.

Though related, the experience of "loneliness" is usually borne out of a resistance to our present experience – a turning from feelings of grief, sadness, hurt, vulnerability, and shame. When we are unwilling to meet these ones, and are not able to stay with them, hold them, and metabolize them within our own somatic immediacy, we feel cut off from life, lonely, and disconnected. We yearn and long, at the deepest levels, to meet whatever guests appear in this sacred body, for we intuit that each is a special doorway Home. And we become lonely when we are not able to do so. 

It is so bittersweet, really. Being an open-hearted human can feel so fragile. Our friends sadness, grief, jealousy, hopelessness, and raw vulnerability are so often 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 keep the door open to these ones, day-by-day crafting a warm home and safe refuge for our own wholeness. For in doing so, the path from loneliness to Aloneness will become illumined, and we will provide safe passage for love in this world.