Some reflections on aloneness, desire, death:
We are all alone, and yet we are all connected. This is the paradox. These two form the rhythm of our lives.
To be alone is often mistaken for loneliness. To be a loner may be thought to be someone who doesn’t fit in, doesn’t concord with the surrounding crowds. Maybe it is the surrounding crowds who are really the lonely ones.
From birth, our primal connection to our mother is physically severed, and perhaps our instinct throughout our life is to continually seek a reunion with the womb – thus in many ways we may seek to replace that experience: friends, family, comforts, partners, drugs, pets, food, computers, music, and so on; anything to make us feel that primal connection again… it’s a big thing, seeking to reconnect with something outside of us, and yet…
All the while we are headed towards death, and not by choice, but by nature’s design. Death is the ultimate separation, many would believe. Some have said the first half of life is learning how to live, while the second half is learning how to die. Death we flee from. We will not admit it to ourselves, we make up religions to explain it, or things to ignore it; we will steer away from the topic and do everything we can in life to avoid it – we again seek to fill another hole with things in the world.
The black hole of death and the white hole of birth – how interesting this is.
But what of our wholeness?
Most dare not face death, except the mystics, who pass through it while alive, and tell us there is nothing to fear (and we do away with them and turn their words into a religion to keep our fear of death at bay again.) They say death is a great reunion. But are we ready? Not usually. Instead we want to get as much as we can here in this life – eat eat eat everything we eat! fair enough, we are carnal creatures (in part)… but the danger is that we again seek to fill ourselves with distractions and numbing realities, to avoid the inevitable sacred fact of death.
It’s funny also because we seem to really fear connection at some level or another. While we are not whole, we fear total communion with another being, while we seek it at the same time – it’s another paradox. Or we seek others and fear ourselves.
We have our comfort zones and our uncomfort zones, usually for good reason from a personal perspective. Still we are often confused about our desires.
Many people want that perfect other to fill their lack – another hole we seek to fill in – the reality is that other is not perfect themselves; they are their own person. You cannot really fill yourself up with other people, it may bring something for a short or long time, but then it goes, and you are left empty.
And who would want to be completely at one with another person anyway? All their quirks and qualities and habits and pain and joy and inner contents.
Definitely relationship can be immensely valuable when there is a conscious cooperation to work each towards one’s own wholeness, and to support that in the other(s). But we are often not even fully comfortable in our own skin, which brings me back to the original impetus here:
To be alone is not really to be seperate from everything else – that is not actually possible – but it is to find wholeness and contentment with who you are, without needing something outside yourself to fulfil your individuality. We no longer have a hollowness of character which we seek to bury and fill in with other people, or other contents beyond our own being. This I would describe as solitude – a kind of solace in your own being, regardless of whether people are around or not, unshakable among all life’s turbulence.
Some people can be amongst many people and still feel lonely. Others can be alone and feel lonely also. Loneliness is more about oneself than about other people. It is a call from within to look at oneself and heal one’s own wounds – not through other people, but through finding your own wholeness. A crowd of lonely people is bound to be deadening. While solitude is a great gift to oneself.
And yet connecting with other people in all kinds of ways is an essential part of life, and must not be neglected. We need this to grow. We need to challenge our comfort zones in healthy ways, but we need to grow beyond our need for particulars in other people, we need to face things that will teach us who we are, which on our own, we would not find. This may mean connecting with people who you do not like, who may be able to show you something you wouldn’t get from your own habitual crowds. In this way we can relate to others while we develop our own character towards greater wholeness, and simultaneously maintain our integrity and solitude. We can form deep, intimate, and lasting relationships without compromising ourselves.
With a strong sense of individual wholeness, connecting to others is not an attempt to fill a hole, but to contribute something to others. Not to save the world by pushing your stuff onto other fault-ridden people, but to benefit society in ways that are actually beneficial – which requires a good examination of your own actions and words.
When you are whole, naturally overflow occurs, and you can give to society, rather than simply take. This is autonomous freedom, beyond dependency. Whereas freedom to ‘do whatever you want’ may simply be a guise for running from death and seeking the womb again. We need to examine our motives with honesty and clarity, which can be done best in solitude. Everything catches up with us. And death is the ultimate clarity upon oneself.
Sometimes we need to spend time alone, sometimes we need to interact with others and grow through this. It is important to recognise what we need and not fight our natural currents. Everything has its place.