Life is nothing but an opportunity for love to blossom. If you are alive, the opportunity is there–even to the last breath. You may have missed your whole life: Just the last breath, the last moment on the earth, if you can be love, you have not missed anything–because a single moment of love is equal to the whole eternity of love.
We are born alone, we live alone, and we die alone. Aloneness is our very nature, but we are not aware of it. Because we are not aware of it, we remain strangers to ourselves, and instead of seeing our aloneness as a tremendous beauty and bliss, silence and peace, at-easeness with existence, we misunderstand it as loneliness.
Loneliness is misunderstood aloneness. Once you misunderstand your aloneness as loneliness, the whole context changes. Aloneness has a beauty and grandeur, a positivity; loneliness is poor, negative, dark, dismal.
Everybody is running away from loneliness. It is like a wound it hurts. To escape from it, the only way is to be in a crowd, to become part of a society, to have friends, to create a family, to have husbands and wives, to have children. In this crowd, the basic effort is that you will be able to forget your loneliness.
But nobody has ever succeeded in forgetting it. That which is natural to you, you can try to ignore–but you cannot forget it; it will assert again and again. And the problem becomes more complex because you have never seen it as it is; you have taken it for granted that you are born lonely.
The dictionary meaning is the same; that shows the mind of the people who create dictionaries. They don’t understand at all the vast difference between loneliness and aloneness. Loneliness is a gap. Something is missing, something is needed to fill it, and nothing can ever fill it because it is a misunderstanding in the first place. As you grow older, the gap also grows bigger.
People are so afraid to be by themselves that they do any kind of stupid thing. I have seen people playing cards alone; the other party is not there. They have invented games in which the same person plays cards from both sides.
Somehow one wants to remain engaged. That engagement may be with people, may be with work… There are workaholics; they are afraid when the weekend comes close–what are they going to do? And if they don’t do anything, they are left to themselves, and that is the most painful experience.
You will be surprised to know that it is on the weekends that most of the accidents in the world happen. People are rushing in their cars to resort places, to sea beaches, to hill stations, bumper to bumper. It may take eight hours, ten hours to reach, and there is nothing for them to do because the whole crowd has come with them. Now their house, their neighborhood, their city is more peaceful than this sea resort. Everybody has come. But some engagement..
People are playing cards, chess; people are watching television for hours. The average American watches television five hours a day; people are listening to the radio… Just to avoid themselves. For all these activities, the only reason is–not to be left alone; it is very fearful. And this idea is taken from others. Who has told you that to be alone is a fearful state?
Those who have known aloneness say something absolutely different. They say there is nothing more beautiful, more peaceful, more joyful than being alone.
But you listen to the crowd. The people who live in misunderstanding are in such a majority, that who bothers about a Zarathustra, or a Gautam Buddha? These single individuals can be wrong, can be hallucinating, can be deceiving themselves or deceiving you, but millions of people cannot be wrong. And millions of people agree that to be left to oneself is the worst experience in life; it is hell.
But any relationship that is created because of the fear, because of the inner hell of being left alone, cannot be satisfying. Its very root is poisoned. You don’t love your woman, you are simply using her not to be lonely; neither does she love you. She is also in the same paranoia, she is using you not be left alone.
This seeking to relate to others is nothing but escapism. Even the smallest baby cries to find something to do; if nothing else, then he will suck his own big toes on his feet. It is an absolutely futile activity, nothing can come out of it, but it is engagement. He is doing something. You will see in the stations, in the airports, small boys and girls carrying their teddy bears; they cannot sleep without them. Darkness makes their loneliness even more dangerous. The teddy bear is a great protection; somebody is with them. And your God is nothing but a teddy bear for grown-ups.
You cannot live as you are. Your relationships are not relationships. They are ugly. You are using the other person, and you know perfectly well the other person is using you. And to use anybody is to reduce him into a thing, into a commodity. You don’t have any respect for the person.
“In addition, ” you are asking, “we are usually attracted to being intimate with one person in particular.”
It has a psychological reason. You are brought up by a mother, by a father. If you re a boy, you start loving your mother and you start being jealous of your father, because he is a competitor. If you are a girl, you start loving your father and you hate your mother because she is a competitor. These are now established facts, not hypotheses. And the result of it turns your whole life into a misery. The boy carries the image of his mother as the model of a woman. He becomes conditioned continuously. He knows only one woman so close, so intimately. Her face, her hair, her warmth–everything becomes an imprint. That’s exactly the scientific word used; It becomes an imprint in his psychology. And the same happens to the girl about the father.
When you grow up, you fall in love with some woman or with some man and you think, “Perhaps we are made for each other.” Nobody is made for anyone. But why do you feel attracted toward one certain person? It is because of your imprint. He must resemble your father in some way; she must resemble your mother in some way.
Of course no other woman can be exactly a replica of your mother, and anyway you are not in search of a mother, you are in search of a wife. But the imprint inside you decides who is the right woman for you. The moment you see that woman, there is no question of reasoning. You immediately feel attraction; your imprint immediately starts functioning-this is the woman for you, or this is the man for you.
It is good as far as meeting once in a while on the sea beach, in the movie hall, in the garden, because you don’t come to know each other totally. But you are both hankering to live together; you want to be married, and that is one of the most dangerous steps that lovers can take.
The moment you are married, you start becoming aware of the totality of the other person, and you are surprised on every single aspect–“Something went wrong; this is not the woman, this is not the man”–because they don’t fit with the ideal that you are carrying within you. And the trouble is multiplied because the woman is carrying an ideal of her father– you don’t fit with it. You are carrying the ideal of your mother-she does not fit with it. That’s why all marriages are failures.
Only very rare marriages are not failures–and I hope God should save you from those marriages which are not failures, because they are psychologically sick. There are people who are sadists, who enjoy torturing others, and there are people who are masochists, who enjoy torturing themselves. If a husband and wife belong to these two categories, that marriage will be a successful marriage. One is a masochists and the one is a sadist–it is a perfect marriage, because one enjoys being tortured and one enjoys torturing.
But ordinarily it is very difficult to find out in the first place whether you are a masochist or a sadist, and then to look for your other polarity… If you are wise enough you should go to the psychologist and inquire who you are, a masochist or a sadist? And ask if he can give you some references which can fit with you.
Sometimes, just by accident, it happens that a sadist and masochist become married. They are the happiest people in the world; they are fulfilling each other’s needs. But what kind of need is this? They are both psychopaths, and they are living a life of torture. But otherwise, every marriage is going to fail, for one simple reason: The imprint is the problem.
Even in marriage, the basic reason for which you wanted to have the relationship is not fulfilled. You are more alone when you are with your wife than when you are alone. To leave a husband and wife in a room by themselves is to make them both utterly miserable.
This whole effort–whether of relationships or remaining busy in a thousand and one things–is just to escape from the idea that you are lonely. And I want it to be emphatically clear to you that this is where the meditator and the ordinary man part.
The ordinary man goes on trying to forget his loneliness, and the meditator starts getting more and more acquainted with his aloneness. In former tines he left the world, he went to the caves, to the mountains, to the forest, just for the sake of being alone. He wants to know who he is. In a crowd, it is difficult; there are so many disturbances. And those who have known their aloneness have known the greatest blissfulness possible to human beings–because your very being is blissful.
After being in tune with your aloneness, you can relate; then your relationship will bring great joys to you, because it is not out of fear. Finding your aloneness you can create, you can be involved in as many things as you want, because this involvement will not be running away from yourself anymore. Now it will be your expression; now it will be the manifestation of all that is your potential.
Only such a man–whether he lives alone or lives in the society, whether he marries or lives unmarried makes no difference–is always blissful, peaceful, silent. His life is a dance, is a song, is a flowering, is a fragrance. Whatever he does, he brings his fragrance to it.
But the first basic thing is to know your aloneness absolutely.
This escape from yourself you have learned from the crowd. Because everybody is escaping, you start escaping. Every child is born in a crowd and starts imitating people; what other are doing, he starts doing. He falls into the same miserable situations as others are in, and he starts thinking that this is what life is all about. And he has missed life completely.
So I remind you, don’t misunderstand aloneness as loneliness.
Loneliness is certainly sick; aloneness is perfect health
I would like you to know that your first and most primary step toward finding the meaning and significance of life is to enter into your aloneness. It is your temple; it is where your God lives, and you cannot find this temple anywhere else. You can go on to the Moon, to Mars..
Once you have entered your innermost core of being, you cannot believe your own eyes: You were carrying so much joy, so many blessings, so much love… And you were escaping from your own treasures.
Knowing these treasures and their inexhaustibly, you can move now into relationships, into creativity. You will help people by sharing your love, not by using them. You will give dignity to people by your love; you will not destroy their respect. And you will, without any effort, become a source for them to find their own treasures too. Whatever you make, whatever you do, you will spread your silence, your peace, your blessings into everything possible.
But this basic thing is not taught by any family, by any society, by any university. People go on living in misery, and it is taken for granted. Everybody is miserable, so it is nothing much if you are miserable, you cannot be an exception.
But I say unto you; You can be an exception. You just have not made the right effort.
The first and foremost thing is to be loving toward yourself. Don’t be hard; be soft. Care about yourself. Learn how to forgive yourself–again and again and again-seven times, seventy-seven times, seven hundred and seventy-seven times.
Learn how to forgive yourself. Don’t be hard; don’t be antagonistic toward yourself. Then you will flower. And in that flowering you will attract some other flower. It is natural. Stones attract stones; flowers attract flowers. And then there is a relationship which has grace, which has beauty, which has benediction in it. And if you can find such relationship, your relationship will grow into prayer, your love will become an ecstasy, and through love you will know what God is.