The deeper into myself, the more alone I feel. There is only nothingness. And sometimes, looking into your eyes, I get the same feeling of a vast emptiness.
If it is natural—if being alone is basic, the very essence of my being—then how could the illusive idea of becoming one, of falling in love with somebody eternally, come into being in the first place? And why is it so painful to become aware that it is an illusion? Please clear my doubts.
You are the doubter and you are the doubt. There is no other doubt. First, when you say, “The deeper into myself, the more alone I feel,” if you have really been falling deeper you will feel aloneness but you will not feel “I am alone,” because then there are two things, I and aloneness. Then you are not alone. Then there is the experiencer and the experienced, the observer and the observed. Then you are not alone; the other is there—the experience is the other.
When you really fall deep into yourself, you will not find yourself; that is the whole thing to understand. It is only on the surface that the waves exist. If you go deeper into the ocean you will not find waves, or can you? How can you find waves in the depth? They exist only on the surface; they can exist only on the surface. They need winds to exist.
The ‘I’ can exist only on the surface because it needs thou, the wind of the thou to exist.
When you go deeper into yourself the winds are no longer there, thous are no longer there. How can there be ‘I’? I and thou exist in a pair, they are never divorced. Yes, you will find aloneness, but not I-ness. And aloneness is beautiful. Let me remind you again, the word alone means all one. That’s how it is constructed—all one. On the surface you are separate from all. In fact on the surface you are lonely because you are separate from the all. In the depth, when you have disappeared, there is no distinction between you and all. All is one, you are no longer, aloneness is.
You say, “The deeper I fall into myself the more alone I feel.” You must be imagining that you are falling deeper into yourself. The mind can go on playing games. It can play the game of being alone, it can play the game of being in prayer, it can play the game of being in meditation, but if ‘I’ remains then you can be certain it is a game, nothing real has happened. That’s why again the desire for the other will arise.
The ‘I’ cannot exist alone. It needs the other to support it, to feed it, to nourish it. It will bring you back to the other. That’s why when you are lonely you start thinking of your beloved, of your friend, of your mother, father, this and that, a thousand and one things.
You create imaginary ‘thous’. If a man is put in isolation for more than three weeks he starts talking to himself. He creates the whole dialogue. He himself is divided in two—I and thou. He becomes two so the game call be played. ‘I’ cannot exist separate from ‘thou’.
“The deeper I fall into myself, the more alone I feel.”
No, you must be feeling lonely. Never use these two words as synonymous. Loneliness is negative, aloneness is positive. Loneliness simply means you are missing the other. The other is absent; there is a gap in you. Aloneness means you are present; there is no gap in you. You are full of presence, you are utterly there. Loneliness is the absence of the other; aloneness is the presence of your eternal being.
You say “there is only nothingness.” No, if there is only nothingness then there is no problem. If there is only nothingness and nobody to know it, nobody to feel it, then there is no problem. Then from where comes the doubt? How can the doubter arise? No, you are there. That nothingness is bogus because you are there. How can it be nothingness? It is just your idea.
This used to happen in my family when I was a child. I was so lazy—I am still—I was so lazy, utterly lazy, that my family lost all hope with me. By and by they started forgetting about me, because I would never do anything. I would sit in the corner and just sit, either with closed eyes or with open eyes, but I was so absent to them that by and by they became oblivious to me.
Sometimes it would happen that my mother would need something from the market, vegetables or something, and I would be sitting in front of her and she would say, “Nobody seems to be present here.” She was just sitting in front of me and talking to me, “Nobody seems to be here. I want somebody to go and fetch vegetables from the market.” And I was sitting in front of her and she said, “Nobody is here.”
I was counted as nobody. Even if a stray dog would enter in the house I would allow it. I was sitting at the gate and the dog would enter and I would watch. And my mother would come rushing out and she would say, “nobody is here to prevent this dog” — and I was sitting there! By and by they had accepted that I was as if not. But that does not make much difference; I was there. I had seen the dog coming, I was hearing their words. I knew I could manage to go to the market-place and fetch vegetables for her. And I would laugh at the whole idea — that she went on saying that nobody was there.
That’s what is happening to you. You are there, and you say nothingness is. You are oblivious of yourself, you don’t take note of yourself, otherwise you are there. If you are not there, who is saying that nothingness is? Then there is nothingness when you are not there, then there is pure nothingness. In that purity is nirvana, enlightenment. That is the most valuable place to be, the most spacious place to be. It is the space everybody is searching for, because it is unlimited, infinite. And its purity is absolute. It is not polluted by anything; even you are not there. There is light and there is consciousness, but there is no ‘I’. ‘I’ is like ice, frozen consciousness. Consciousness is like melted ice, liquid, or, even better, even the water has evaporated, has become invisible.
And you say: “And why is it so painful to become aware that it is an illusion?”—the other. It is painful because the ‘I’ starts dying. To recognize the other as the illusion, to recognize love as illusion, is very hard, because then the I starts dying. If you drop the ‘you’, the ‘I’ cannot exist. And you don’t know the beauty of dropping the ‘I’. And you ask: “If it is natural—if being alone is basic, the very essence of my being—then then how could the illusive idea of becoming one, of falling in love with somebody eternally, come into being in the first place?”
It came only because of that—because aloneness is basic, essential. The Hindu scriptures say that God was alone. Just think; just visualize God alone and alone and alone for eternity. He became fed up with his aloneness, it was monotonous. He wanted to have a little play. He created the other and started playing hide-and-seek.
When you are tired of the play, when you become fed up with the play, you become a Buddha again. You again drop your toys. They are created by you, the value is imagined by you; you have put the value on them. The moment you withdraw your value they disappear, you are again alone.
The Hindu concept is tremendously valuable, significant. It says God was alone, it became monotonous, and he created the world, the other, just to have a little chitchat with the other, to have a little dialogue. Then again and again one comes and feels tired and bored with the other, disappears into oneself, again reaches to one’s nothingness and becomes a god.
You are all gods who are deceiving themselves. It is your choice. The day you choose not to be this way you will be free. It is your dream. Because of aloneness, because aloneness is the essential quality of your being, the other has been created.
You just try it, go for a few weeks to the mountains and sit alone and you will feel very good. Everybody is tired of relationship and fed up and bored. Go to the mountains and sit silently and you will feel so beautiful, but after three or four days, five days, seven days, three weeks, you will start thinking of the other. Your woman again starts being attractive to you. You forget all the nastiness and all the nagging. You forget all that she has been doing to you, you completely forget all. She is again beautiful, she is again lovely, she is again fantastic, mm?—you put value again.
Then you have to come down from the mountains to the plains, and for two or three days with the woman things are going beautifully — a new honeymoon and after two or three days things become difficult again, and again you start thinking how to meditate, how to be silent. This is how you go on. Just watch your consciousness and its fluctuations and through it you will know the whole process of existence, because you are a miniature existence.
The pendulum of consciousness goes on swinging between meditation and love, between aloneness and togetherness. And because all the religions of the world up to now have been either of love or of meditation, they were fragmentary, they were not total. I am giving you the total religion. I am not choosing.
For example, Buddha had chosen meditation. He gives you the love for meditation, no other love. He teaches you only to be alone, absolutely alone and nothing else. It is good, it is tremendously good for people who are tired and fed up with the world.
He was tired and fed up with the world. He was a king, he was not a beggar. He was tired of women. His father had brought all the beautiful girls from the kingdom for him. He had one of the most beautiful harems. If you get all the beautiful women of the world in your house, how long will you be able to live there? Just think of it: one is more than enough. Now all the beautiful women of the kingdom were there. It must have been maddening. If he escaped, it is no wonder. All the pleasures were arranged for him, every kind of pleasure was arranged for him. If he became fed up, it is no wonder. He moved to the other pole. The other was too much. He escaped into the jungle, he became alone.
There are religions which are religions of meditation — Buddhism, Jainism. There are religions which are religions of love—Christianity, Mohammedanism. And this has to be understood. Jesus is a poor man, so is Mohammed. This can’t be accidental. Mahavira is a king, so is Buddha. The two kings have given to the world the religion of meditation, and the two poor people of the world have given the religion of love.
The poor cannot be fed up with the other. The poor has not had that much of the other.
The poor hankers for the other. The other may be the woman or money or power or prestige or God; it makes no difference — the other is needed.
Christianity and Islam are both religions of prayer, love—love for God, prayer for God.In Buddhism, in Jainism, there is no place for God at all because there is no place for the other. Aloneness is enough. In Jainism and in Buddhism there is no existence of anything like prayer, the word has not been heard; they know only of meditation. Christianity knows nothing of meditation. These are not accidental things; they show something about the founders.
I am giving you a total religion, a religion which allows both. When you are feeling tired with the other, move into meditation, swing into meditation. When you are feeling tired of aloneness, swing into love. Both are good. Both are contradictory, but through contradiction great joy arises. If you have only one you will not have that kind of richness. The one can give you silence or can give you great joy, but both can give you something infinitely precious, incomparable. Both together, they can give you a silent ecstasy, a peaceful joy. At the innermost core you remain utterly silent, and on the periphery, the dance. And when silence dances or silence sings, that is the richest, the peakest of peaks. Hence my insistence for both.
George Bernard Shaw once at a party was sitting alone at the edge of the room. His hostess came over to him and inquired solicitously, “Aren’t you enjoying yourself?”
Shaw replied, “That’s all I am enjoying.”
He has hit upon a great truth, a great insight is there: one’s self is all anyone can enjoy.
Life starts taking the quality of silence. But if you can enjoy only yourself and never the other then you will miss the other dimension. One should be capable of enjoying oneself and the other too. That’s what I call the whole man, the holy man.
From The Diamond Sutra, Discourse #10
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