Saturday, April 20, 2013

Loneliness and aloneness...



How do we come to understand and respond to this experience of loneliness that seems to pervade much of contemporary life? We know that this longing for love, for truth, to touch the sacredness of a life of unguarded intimacy - that this longing is a doorway into the most unimaginable grace. What is this loneliness? Will it go away soon? Will it ever yield to the mysteries of our longing? Even if we've managed to hold it all together in a certain way, to take refuge in our spiritual practices, to pray, to forgive, to let go, to stay "in the now," to open our hearts, still there is that longing, to love and be loved, and to know the mysteries of the beloved, in a much, much deeper way. The reality of this longing sometimes appears very early in the morning, or very late at night, when the edges of egoic process become transparent, when we haven't quite yet scrambled to put ourselves together, to form the solid identities of what we have come to believe we are, whether neurotic or "awakened." From the beloved's point of view, these stories are the same, they are made of the same substance. Awakened, unawakened, enlightened, unenlightened, sane, neurotic, crazy, together, in pieces - these are all dreams in the landscape of the beloved.

We might differentiate between “aloneness” and “loneliness.” Aloneness is a very raw, alive, fully embodied, 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, fall apart for us, break open in love for us, or die for us; likewise, we for them. For the yogi or yogini who is called to the tantric journey, there is a way that they start to feel at home in this type of aloneness, in a way even welcoming it, knowing that to have one's life organized around love will inevitably result in a certain sort of unbearable vulnerability, tenderness, and sadness - they are willing to be so touched by this life, to be broken into pieces and reassembled again by love. Living in the very alive, shimmering, luminous, unprotected field of aloneness is so fragile, so unknown, so unbearably touching, always uncertain, forever without ground or reference point. Not even our favorite spiritual beliefs, identities, superstitions and beloved gurus can quite protect us from the Aloneness that was given to us. We come to know so clearly that this Aloneness is a doorway into the unknown, a portal into the cells and DNA which comprise this very heart that is beating inside the center of being.

In this reality, 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, and no longer be able to hide out from the movement of love, from the ways that the unknown is pouring into our lives. We realize that, without our conscious knowing, we have taken some unexplainable vow to turn all the way into the gift of this exposed heart, to be touched by whatever appears, to walk with another wherever love leads, willing to enter directly into sadness, into suffering, into darkness, into utter naked vulnerability, seeing that whatever form that could ever appear within this sacred body is lit up from within by an intelligence and creativity designed in the beyond. We then find ourselves guided only by the unknown, into the unknown, held only by love, carried by a certain kind of revolutionary, transformative, unyielding and very raw grace, following the stars around the galaxies.