Never been on the ‘inside’,
Never felt ‘at one’ with another,
Why such a loner all my life?
Life is a mystery, but you can reduce it to a problem. And once you make a mystery a problem you will be in difficulty, because there can be no solution to it. A mystery remains a mystery; it is insoluble – that’s why it is called a mystery. Life is not a problem.
And that is one of the most basic mistakes we all go on committing: we immediately put a question mark. And if you put a question mark on a mystery, you will be searching for the answer your whole life and you will not find it, and naturally it brings great frustration.
My observation of you, Madhura, is that you are a born meditator. Rather than making it a problem, rejoice! Not to belong is one of the greatest experiences of life. To be utterly an outsider, never feeling to be a part anywhere, is a great experience of transcendence.
An American tourist went to see a Sufi Master. For many years he had heard about him, had fallen in deep love with his words, his message. Finally he decided to go to see him. When he entered his room, he was surprised – it was an utterly empty room! The Master was sitting; there was no furniture at all! The American could not conceive of a living space without any furniture. He immediately asked, “Where is your furniture, sir?”
And the old Sufi laughed and he said, “And where is yours?”
And the American said, “Of course I am a tourist here. I cannot go on carrying my furniture!”
And the old man said, “So am I a tourist for only just a few days, and then I will be gone, just as you will be gone.”
This world is just a pilgrimage – of great significance, but not a place to belong to, not a place to become part of Remain a lotus leaf, as Kabir says.
Madhura, this is one of the calamities that has happened to the human mind: we make a problem out of everything. Now this should be something of immense joy to you. Don’t call yourself a ‘loner’.
You are using a wrong word, because the very word connotes some condemnation. You are alone, and the word ’alone’ has great beauty. You are not even lonely. To be lonely means you are in need of the other; to be alone means you are utterly rooted in yourself, centered in yourself. You are enough unto yourself.
You have not yet accepted this gift of God, hence you are unnecessarily suffering. And this is my observation: millions of people go on suffering unnecessarily.
Look at it from another perspective. I am not giving you an answer, I never give any answers. I simply give you new perspectives to see, new angles.
Think of yourself as a born meditator who is capable of being alone, who is strong enough to be alone, who is so centered and rooted that the other is not needed at all. Yes, one can relate with the other, but it never becomes a relationship. To relate is perfectly good. Two persons who are both alone can relate, two persons who are both alone cannot be in relationship.
Relationship is the need of those who cannot be alone. Two lonely persons fall into a relationship. Two alone persons relate, communicate, commune, and yet they remain alone. Their aloneness remains uncontaminated; their aloneness remains virgin, pure. They are like peaks, Himalayan peaks, high in the sky above the clouds. No two peaks ever meet, yet there is a kind of communion through the wind and through the rain and through the rivers and through the sun and through the stars. Yes, there is a communion; much dialogue goes on. They whisper to each other, but their aloneness remains absolute, they never compromise.
Be like an alone peak high in the sky. Why should you hanker to belong? You are not a thing! Things belong!
You say, “Never belonged, never been on the inside.”
There is no need! To be an insider in this world is to get lost. The worldly is the insider; a Buddha is bound to remain an outsider. All Buddhas are outsiders. Even if they are in the crowd, they are alone. Even if they are in the marketplace they are not there. Even if they relate, they remain separate. There is a kind of subtle distance that is always there.
And that distance is freedom, that distance is great joy, that distance is your own space. And you call yourself a loner? You must be comparing yourself with others: “They are having so many relationships, they are having love affairs. They belong to each other, they are insiders – and I am a loner. Why?” You must be creating anguish unnecessarily.
My approach always is: whatsoever God has given to you must be a subtle necessity of your soul, otherwise it would not have been given in the first place.
Think more of aloneness. Celebrate aloneness, celebrate your pure space, and great song will arise in your heart. And it will be a song of awareness, it will be a song of meditation. It will be a song of an alone bird calling in the distance – not calling to somebody in particular, but just calling because the heart is full and wants to call, because the cloud is full and wants to rain, because the flower is full and the petals open and the fragrance is released . . . unaddressed. Let your aloneness become a dance.
And Madhura is a dancer. And I am utterly happy with you, Madhura. If you stop creating problems for yourself . . . I don’t see that there are real problems. The only problem is, people go on creating problems! Problems are never solved, they are only dissolved.
I am giving you a perspective, a vision. Dissolve your problem! Accept it as a gift of God, with great gratitude, and live it. And you will be surprised: what a precious gift, and you have not even appreciated it yet. What a precious gift, and it is lying there in your heart, unappreciated.
Dance your aloneness, sing your aloneness, live your aloneness!
And I am not saying don’t love. In fact, only a person who is capable of being alone is capable of love. Lonely persons cannot love. Their need is so much that they cling – how can they love? Lonely persons cannot love, they can only exploit. Lonely persons pretend to love; deep down they want to get love. They don’t have it to give, they have nothing to give. Only a person who knows how to be alone and joyous is so full of love that he can share it. He can share it with strangers.
And all are strangers, remember. Your husband, your wife, your children, all are strangers. Never forget it! You don’t know your husband, you don’t know your wife. You don’t know even your child; the child that you have carried in your womb for nine months is a stranger.
This whole life is a strange land; we come from some unknown. source. Suddenly we are here, and one day suddenly we are gone, back to the original source. This is a few days’ journey; make it as joyous as possible. But we do just the opposite – we make it as miserable as possible. We put our whole energies into making it more and more miserable.
From The Guest, Discourse #11, Q1
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