The bliss of aloneness
IT SEEMS THAT ONE OF THE GREATEST HURDLES THAT FACES A HUMAN BEING IS TO BE ALONE, TO STAND ALONE IN THE FACE OF THE OPINIONS OF THE WORLD, TO STAND ALONE IN THE FACE OF THE LIES OF THE WORLD, TO BE ABLE TO BE PHYSICALLY ALONE, AND, ULTIMATELY, TO BE ALONE WITHOUT EVEN OUR MINDS - THE COMPANION OF LAST RESORT.
WE REALLY KNOW WE ARE ALONE, WE KNOW WE WILL DIE INTO ALONENESS, WE KNOW THAT EVERY CONTACT OUTSIDE OURSELVES IS TRANSITORY - ONLY YOU REFLECT THE SILENCE OF THE STARS, THE SILENCE OF INFINITY, THE SILENCE OF ETERNITY - YET JUST BELOW THE HEART THERE IS A PAIN, A KNOT, A FEAR... THE FEAR OF BEING A LITTLE BOY WITHOUT FRIENDS, THE FEAR OF FAILURE AND REJECTION, AND THE PAIN OF PRETENDING I DON'T CARE.
EVERY TEAR I HAVE EVER SHED COMES FROM THIS PAIN: LOSS AND THE FEAR OF ISOLATION OR SEPARATION. HOW DO WE BREAK THIS BLACKNESS THAT SURROUNDS THE FEAR OF ALONENESS AND ALLOW THE BLISS OF ALONENESS THAT YOU RADIATE WITH EVERY SINGLE BREATH?
The darkness of loneliness cannot be fought directly. It is something essential for everyone to understand, that there are a few fundamental things which cannot be changed. This is one of the fundamentals: you cannot fight with darkness directly, with loneliness directly, with the fear of isolation directly. The reason is that all these things do not exist; they are simply absences of something, just as darkness is the absence of light.
Now what do you do when you want the room not to be dark? You don't do anything directly with darkness - or do you? You cannot push it out. There is no possible way to make any arrangement so that the darkness disappears. You have to do something with the light. Now that changes the whole situation; and that's what I call one of the essentials, fundamentals. You don't even touch the darkness; you don't think about it. There is no point; it does not exist, it is simply an absence.
So just bring in light and you will not find darkness at all, because it was the absence of light, simply the absence of light - not something material, with its own being, not something that exists. But simply because light was not there, you got a false feeling of the existence of darkness.
You can go on fighting with this darkness your whole life and you will not succeed, but just a small candle is enough to dispel it. You have to work for the light because it is positive, existential; it exists on it own. And once light comes, anything that was its absence automatically disappears.
Loneliness is similar to darkness.
You don't know your aloneness. You have not experienced your aloneness and its beauty, its tremendous power, its strength. Loneliness and aloneness in the dictionaries are synonymous, but existence does not follow your dictionaries. And nobody has yet tried to make an existential dictionary which will not be contradictory to existence.
Loneliness is absence.
Because you don't know your aloneness, there is fear. You feel lonely so you want to cling to something, to somebody, to some relationship, just to keep the illusion that you are not lonely. But you know you are - hence the pain. On the one hand you are clinging to something which is not for real, which is just a temporary arrangement - a relationship, a friendship.
And while you are in the relationship you can create a little illusion to forget your loneliness. But this is the problem: although you can forget for a moment your loneliness, just the next moment you suddenly become aware that the relationship or the friendship is nothing permanent. Yesterday you did not know this man or this woman, you were strangers. Today you are friends - who knows about tomorrow? Tomorrow you may be strangers again - hence the pain.
The illusion gives a certain solace, but it cannot create the reality so that all fear disappears. It represses the fear, so on the surface you feel good - at least you try to feel good. You pretend to feel good to yourself: how wonderful is the relationship, how wonderful is the man or the woman.
But behind the illusion - and the illusion is so thin that you can see behind it - there is pain in the heart, because the heart knows perfectly well that tomorrow things may not be the same... and they are not the same.
Your whole life's experience supports that things go on changing. Nothing remains stable; you cannot cling to anything in a changing world. You wanted to make your friendship something permanent but your wanting is against the law of change, and that law is not going to make exceptions. It simply goes on doing its own thing. It will change - everything.
Perhaps in the long run you will understand one day that it was good that it did not listen to you, that existence did not bother about you and just went on doing whatever it wanted to do... not according to your desire.
It may take a little time for you to understand. You want this friend to be your friend forever, but tomorrow he turns into an enemy. Or simply - "You get lost!" and he is no longer with you. Somebody else fills the gap who is a far superior being. Then suddenly you realize it was good that the other one got lost; otherwise you would have been stuck with him. But still the lesson never goes so deep that you stop asking for permanence.
You will start asking for permanence with this man, with this woman: now this should not change.
You have not really learned the lesson that change is simply the very fabric of life. You have to understand it and go with it. Don't create illusions; they are not going to help. And everybody is creating illusions of different kinds.
I used to know one man who said, "I trust only money. I trust nobody else."
I said, "You are making a very significant statement."
He said, "Everybody changes. You cannot rely on anybody. And as you get older, only your money is yours. Nobody cares - not even your son, not even your wife. If you have money they all care, they all respect you, because you have money. If you don't have money you become a beggar."
His saying that the only thing in the world to trust is money comes out of a long experience of life, of getting cheated again and again by the people he trusted - and he thought they loved him but they were all around him for the money.
"But," I told him, "at the moment of death money is not going to be with you. You can have an illusion that at least money is with you, but as your breathing stops, money is no longer with you. You have earned something but it will be left on this side; you cannot carry it beyond death. You will fall into a deep loneliness which you have been hiding behind the facade of money."
There are people who are after power, but the reason is the same: when they are in power so many people are with them, millions of people are under their domination. They are not alone. They are great political and religious leaders. But power changes. One day you have it, another day it is gone, and suddenly the whole illusion disappears. You are lonely as nobody else is, because others are accustomed to being lonely. You are not accustomed... your loneliness hurts you more.
Society has tried to make arrangements so you can forget loneliness. Arranged marriages are just an effort so that you know your wife is with you. All religions resist divorce for the simple reason that if divorce is allowed then the basic purpose marriage was invented for is destroyed. The basic purpose was to give you a companion, a lifelong companion.
But even though a wife will be with you or a husband will be with you for your whole life, that does not mean that love remains the same. In fact, rather than giving you a companion, they give you a burden to carry. You were lonely, already in trouble, and now you have to carry another person who is lonely. And in this life there is no hope, because once love disappears you both are lonely, and both have to tolerate each other. Now it is not a question of being enchanted by each other; at the most you can patiently tolerate each other. Your loneliness has not been changed by the social strategy of marriage.
Religions have tried to make you a member of an organized body of religion so you are always in a crowd. You know that there are six hundred million Catholics; you are not alone, six hundred million Catholics are with you. Jesus Christ is your savior. God is with you. Alone you may have been wrong - doubt may have arisen - but six hundred million people cannot be wrong. A little support...
but even that is gone because there are millions who are not Catholics. There are the people who crucified Jesus. There are people who don't believe in God - and their number is not less than Catholics, it is more than Catholics. And there are other religions with different concepts.
It is difficult for an intelligent person not to doubt. You may have millions of people following a certain belief system, but still you cannot be certain that they are with you, that you are not lonely.
God was a device, but all devices have failed. It was a device... when nothing is there, at least God is with you. He is always everywhere with you. In the dark night of the soul, he is with you - don't be worried.
It was good for a childish humanity to be deceived by this concept, but you cannot be deceived by this concept. This God who is always everywhere - you don't see him, you can't talk to him, you can't touch him. You don't have any evidence for his existence - except your desire that he should be there. But your desire is not a proof of anything.
God is only a desire of the childish mind.
Man has come of age, and God has become meaningless. The hypothesis has lost its grip.
What I am trying to say is that every effort that has been directed towards avoiding loneliness has failed, and will fail, because it is against the fundamentals of life. What is needed is not something in which you can forget your loneliness. What is needed is that you become aware of your aloneness, which is a reality. And it is so beautiful to experience it, to feel it, because it is your freedom from the crowd, from the other. It is your freedom from the fear of being lonely.
Just the word "lonely" immediately reminds you that it is like a wound: something is needed to fill it. There is a gap and it hurts: something needs to be filled in. The very word "aloneness" does not have the same sense of a wound, of a gap which has to be filled. Aloneness simply means completeness. You are whole; there is no need of anybody else to complete you.
So try to find your innermost center, where you are always alone, have always been alone. In life, in death - wherever you are you will be alone. But it is so full - it is not empty, it is so full and so complete and so overflowing with all the juices of life, with all the beauties and benedictions of existence, that once you have tasted aloneness the pain in the heart will disappear. Instead, a new rhythm of tremendous sweetness, peace, joy, bliss, will be there.
It does not mean that a man who is centered in his aloneness, complete in himself, cannot make friends - in fact only he can make friends, because now it is no longer a need, it is just sharing. He has so much; he can share.
Friendship can be of two types. One is a friendship in which you are a beggar - you need something from the other to help your loneliness - and the other is also a beggar; he wants the same from you. And naturally two beggars cannot help each other. Soon they will see that their begging from a beggar has doubled or multiplied the need. Instead of one beggar, now there are two. And if, unfortunately, they have children, then there are a whole company of beggars who are asking - and nobody has anything to give. So everybody is frustrated and angry, and everybody feels he is being cheated, deceived. And in fact nobody is cheating and nobody is deceiving, because what have you got?
The other kind of friendship, the other kind of love, has a totally different quality. It is not of need, it is out of having so much that you want to share. A new kind of joy has come into your being - that of sharing, which you were not ever aware of before. You have always been begging.
When you share, there is no question of clinging. You flow with existence, you flow with life's change, because it doesn't matter with whom you share. It can be the same person tomorrow - the same person for your whole life - or it can be different persons. It is not a contract, it is not a marriage; it is simply out of your fullness that you want to give. So whosoever happens to be near you, you give it. And giving is such a joy.
Begging is such a misery. Even if you get something through begging, you will remain miserable.
It hurts. It hurts your pride, it hurts your integrity. But sharing makes you more centered, more integrated, more proud, but not more egoistic - more proud that existence has been compassionate to you. It is not ego; it is a totally different phenomenon... a recognition that existence has allowed you something for which millions of people are trying, but at the wrong door. You happen to be at the right door.
You are proud of your blissfulness and all that existence has given to you. Fear disappears, darkness disappears, the pain disappears, the desire for the other disappears.
You can love a person, and if the person loves somebody else there will not be any jealousy, because you loved out of so much joy. It was not a clinging. You were not holding the other person in prison.
You were not worried that the other person may slip out of your hands, that somebody else may start having a love affair...
When you are sharing your joy, you don't create a prison for anybody. You simply give. You don't even expect gratitude or thankfulness because you are not giving to get anything, not even gratitude.
You are giving because you are so full you have to give.
So if anybody is thankful, you are thankful to the person who has accepted your love, who has accepted your gift. He has unburdened you, he allowed you to shower on him. And the more you share, the more you give, the more you have. So it does not make you a miser, it does not create a new fear that "I may lose it." In fact the more you lose it, the more fresh waters are flowing in from springs you have not been aware of before.
So I will not tell you to do anything about your loneliness.
Look for your aloneness.
Forget loneliness, forget darkness, forget pain. These are just the absence of aloneness. The experience of aloneness will dispel them instantly. And the method is the same: just watch your mind, be aware. Become more and more conscious, so finally you are only conscious of yourself.
That is the point where you become aware of aloneness.
You will be surprised that different religions have given different names to the ultimate state of realization. The three religions born outside of India don't have any name for it because they never went far in the search for oneself. They remained childish, immature, clinging to a God, clinging to prayer, clinging to a savior. You can see what I mean: they are always dependent - somebody else is to save them. They are not mature. Judaism, Christianity, Islam - they are not mature at all and perhaps that is the reason they have influenced the greatest majority in the world, because most of the people in the world are immature. They have a certain affinity.
But the three religions in India have three names for this ultimate state. And I remembered this because of the word aloneness. Jainism has chosen kaivalya, aloneness, as the ultimate state of being. Just as Buddhism chose nirvana, no-selfness, and Hinduism chose moksha, freedom, Jainism chose absolute aloneness. All three words are beautiful. They are three different aspects of the same reality. You can call it liberation, freedom; you can call it aloneness; you can call it selflessness, nothingness - just different indicators towards that ultimate experience for which no name is sufficient.
But always look to see if anything that you are facing as a problem is a negative thing or a positive thing. If it is a negative thing then don't fight with it; don't bother about it at all. Just look for the positive of it, and you will be at the right door.
Most of the people in the world miss because they start fighting directly with the negative door.
There is no door; there is only darkness, there is only absence. And the more they fight, the more they find failure, the more they become dejected, pessimistic ... and ultimately they start finding that life has no meaning, that it is simply torture. But their mistake is they entered from the wrong door.
So before you face a problem, just look at the problem: is it an absence of something? And all your problems are the absence of something. And once you have found what they are the absence of, then go after the positive. And the moment you find the positive, the light - the darkness is finished.
IF WE HAVE ALWAYS BEEN OUT OF THE BOTTLE, HOW DID OUR MINDS EVER GET CONTROL AND FOOL US THAT WE WERE IN?
The mind is capable of doing many things which look almost impossible. For example, you are out - you have never been in the bottle - but you can project your ideas into the bottle. You can find something in the bottle with which you can become attached: you want it, you are ready to struggle for it. You are out, but your mind has entered into the bottle.
The mind is just a thought wave; the bottle cannot prevent it. It can become attached to something in the bottle. It can become so deeply attached that a strange thing happens: you are identified with the mind and the mind becomes identified with something in the bottle - a beautiful diamond...
There are many things which get caught up in the bottle. You are out of the bottle, but the mind has the capacity to move through walls because it is only a thought.
Every day you listen to the radio, and you don't ask how these thought waves enter into your house from thousands of miles away. They go on crossing the mountains, the oceans, the clouds, and they reach - passing through your walls and closed doors - inside your room. You just need a certain mechanism to catch them and to make them manifest themselves. Your radio is nothing but an instrument which makes them loud enough so that you can hear them; otherwise, even now when we are not hearing them, they are passing. All kinds of waves are passing here, in all kinds of languages from all the stations of the world.
The Russians are doing their thing, the Americans are doing their thing - and it is all happening just around you in your room. But just because they are subtle waves, unless you translate them through a radio mechanism and make them loud, you will not be able to hear them.
It happened once in the second world war that one man was hit very badly in his head by a bullet.
The bullet was taken out, but some strange changes happened in his head. He started hearing the nearest radio station twenty-four hours a day - without a radio! Now he had no way to stop it - all kinds of advertisements, all kinds of news, day in, day out. He told the doctors that this was happening, and they said, "You must be mad! How can it happen? We don't hear it. Nobody hears it. Unless you have a radio you cannot catch the sound."
But the man insisted so much that finally they had to pay attention to him. They said, "Yes, okay.
Then you tell us what you are hearing." And he repeated it. It was news time and he repeated the whole news! They were shocked, because they had heard the previous bulletin and it was exactly the same.
Then they tried it again with somebody listening to the radio in the other room and taping whatever was said. They told him, "You go on speaking out loud whatever you are hearing." They also taped what he said. He was listening to the local station!
The bullet had somehow changed his system of hearing and he had to be operated on. Although he had a unique quality, it was impossible to sleep - and who wants to hear twenty-four hours...? But that gave the idea to scientists that it is possible that one day we will not need radios, just a small mechanism which can be attached to the ear. And on that small mechanism you have all the radio stations. You can just turn to the radio station and pick it up. There is no need to have a big radio, just a small radio.
Or there is even the possibility of putting a small radio station within your brain, with a remote controller that you can keep in your pocket. You can push the button for any station you want.
Nobody will know what you are hearing, and you can enjoy it, alone without disturbing anybody; you can put it off whenever you want. All those waves are coming in...
In the same way your minds are caught in things which are in the bottle. You are identified with the mind, and mind has the capacity to enter the bottle. In this indirect way the goose enters the bottle, and all the time it is only identification. You are only identified with it, you have not become it. So in reality you are out of the bottle, but you have become so identified with it that you feel you are in the bottle. That story is very psychological and very significant, because it is the story of man.
Somebody is identified with his money: then although the money is in the safe, his mind is inside the safe and he is identified with his mind, so in a certain psychological way he is also inside the safe.
In India it is the wisdom of the common people that wherever you find some treasure buried deep in the ground... And in India that was the only way to keep it safe. Banking had not happened yet, so people used to put all their treasures deep in the ground. Mostly it would be under their bed; on top they were sleeping and deep down the money was buried.
Whenever you find such a treasure... and every day treasure is found, because for thousands of years Indians have been doing that. Whenever you are making a new house or an old house is being dismantled you are bound to find treasures. Strangely, with every treasure you always find a big snake sitting around it. The treasure may be in a mud pot and the snake will be sitting around the pot, his head just on top of it. The common wisdom is that it is the man who buried the treasure...
after dying he became a snake to protect it because that was his last thought while he was dying - what will happen to his treasure after he is dead?
There is a possibility of there being some truth in it, because without exception a snake is always there; otherwise snakes have nothing to do with treasures. They don't eat money, they have no interest in money. But why should snakes be protecting treasures? There is a possibility that the common wisdom of the people has a certain truth in it - that the man was so attached that he could not leave it. So that was the only way - because only snakes can live underground near the pot where the treasure is. And snakes are dangerous; they can protect it. They can kill anybody who tries to take the treasures.
Now this man who may have become a snake to protect his money is still out of the bottle, but his mind has gone so far inside the bottle and he is so identified with his mind that you can say he is also in the bottle.
That's why the master says, "The goose is in the bottle, and you have to bring the goose out, without killing it and without breaking the bottle." And the goose is so big that it is filling the whole bottle. The master does not leave you any chance to bring the goose out of the bottle for the simple reason that he wants to remind you that the goose is already out. It is just the identification with the goose that is inside. And when you become identified with anything, in some way you become part of it.
I have known about people, particularly in India... a man and his wife become so identified with each other that they almost become one. It is becoming rare; it used to happen more in the past. Still, once in a while it happens that the wife and husband die together. The husband dies. Suddenly the wife's heart stops - seeing her husband die. It is just impossible for her to think of being without her husband. Or the husband dies because he cannot think of being without his wife. They have lived together for sixty, seventy years... because in India child marriage was the usual thing.
Just a few decades ago it was made illegal, but still it happens. And because everyone's mind accepts it - even the policeman, the magistrate - although it is written in the law, nobody is caught.
In every village, every year child marriages happen.
And when children - a five-year-old girl, a seven-year-old boy - get married so early they are so fresh, so delicate. They don't understand anything about marriage but they become great friends, very intimate. They live together, they play together, they collect things together. Before they become sexually aware, near the age of fourteen, they have already lived seven years, eight years together.
And a deep intimacy happens in childhood which never happens again, because you will never have such pure, such delicate minds.
And then for sixty years or seventy years they have been together. And the question of divorce has simply not entered the Indian mind, although the law allows it. It is simply not part of the Indian heritage. So once in a while a couple is so identified that they have almost entered into each other's life. They are outside it, but they have entered into a certain rhythm so that if one dies, the other dies too.
Now scientists have been working and they have been very surprised. The findings are of great importance. There are two kinds of twins: one-egg twins and two-egg twins. A woman rarely releases two eggs - only one egg is released every month - but once in a while a woman releases two eggs; then two sperms will enter into those eggs. If the eggs have been separate then the twins will not look exactly alike, they will look a little different. You can see the difference because in fact they are not identical twins; they are two separate persons, just born at the same time.
But the one-egg twins are a great phenomenon. They grow together for nine months in the mother's womb; for nine months their hearts beat together. Everything is together; for nine months there is no separation of any kind. These twins are exactly the same. It is very difficult, even for their father and mother, to recognize who is who.
And the strange thing that I wanted to say to you is, that although now they are separate, after nine months of being so close, they have become so deeply identified in their minds that if one falls sick the other falls sick. And it has been found... one may be in India and the other may be in China - it doesn't matter, the distances makes no difference. If one is suffering from a cold in India, the other is suffering from a cold in China - at exactly the same time. They will suffer, and at exactly the same time their colds will disappear.
And these twins which are born from one egg always die within three years of each other. Nobody knows why it is exactly three years, but more than that they cannot live separately. And they may be living in separate countries without knowing about the other. It is not a question of knowing, it is something deeper. They have entered into each other's being, not visibly. If one dies, the other is bound to die within three years at the most... most probably immediately.
In the Soviet Union they have done many experiments on these phenomena, particularly on animals.
They will take a young rabbit far out to sea where it is thousands of feet deep, and they will torture the child there. The mother is on the shore thousands of feet away, and she cannot in any way know what is happening to the child, but she immediately starts becoming sad, worried, nervous. And if the child is killed, she dies too. They are separate but something seems to be entering into each other, and that is an identification.
So your question is asked by many people. They cannot understand the story because the story is a koan, it is not a story. They wonder because the goose cannot enter the bottle, cannot grow in the bottle, and even if it is possible for the goose to grow in the bottle then the answer seems absolutely meaningless. The master accepts the answer that the goose is out, that it has never been in - and the whole story was that the goose is put into the bottle, it grows in the bottle, becomes big and fills the whole bottle.
In fact in no other language does anything like the koan exists. It is not a puzzle, it is not something that you can solve. Puzzles exist in every language; this is a totally different thing. If it were a puzzle then there would be some way to bring the goose out without breaking the bottle, but it is not a puzzle.
It is made absolutely clear to the disciple that the bottle cannot be broken and the goose cannot be killed. You cannot kill it and take it out in parts - and still the goose has to be out. It is a meditation for the disciple to meditate on, day in, day out. It takes months.
Even though he knows the answer, that does not mean that he can go to the master and say, "The goose is out." He will get a good hit on his head if it is intellectual. Because it is written in the books, the answer is written in the books; everybody knows the answer. No, he has to realize the answer himself. That means he has to realize that his awareness is outside of the mind, and it has never entered the mind; it was only an identification. But even while he was identified with the mind, in reality the awareness was out.
So we are in the world, and yet we are not. In reality, we are not. Try it in some other ways. You are miserable: just try to look into it. You are in misery, but are you really in misery or out of it? And you will be surprised to find that although the misery is there, you are out of it. You are angry: try to see whether you are really in it or out of it, and you will always find yourself out.
And if you start finding yourself out of these things, these things will start dying in your life. They will lose their power over you. You will attain a greater freedom from all emotions, sentiments, thoughts.