I’m in a very interesting place right now, one which has been fraught with struggle as well as blessed with perfection and liberation. What I’ve seen lately is that the more grounded and still I become, the easier it is for me to just “be” with others and listen to them. I’m finding that when people have somebody listening to them, they just go on and on and on and on about whatever is happening in their minds. I find that if I don’t assert myself into the conversation, then people will often talk endlessly. A hard part to digest is that many times they don’t ever ask about me.
Lately I’ve been going through something that feels related to much of the deeper inner spiritual work I’ve been doing in my life. The bottom line is that I feel very alone. Please read further before thinking that you understand, because it may be very different than what you would otherwise assume.
In my life lately, especially in the 7 months or so since returning from India, I have been much more able to simply be still. I don’t feel such an urge to talk or accomplish as much, being much more contented to simply be. I do still get things done and absolutely don’t feel lazy, but the capacity to be still, even in the midst of doing, has grown somewhat substantially.
This also can be extrapolated to my relationships with other people including my friends. The more I am with others without the need to say too much, the more they just talk and talk and talk and talk. Unless I assertively insert myself into the conversation and speak about things that I’ve been thinking about or that are important to me, they do not really show much interest or curiosity into my experience. People seem to be so engaged and involved in their own lives that they have lost their capacity for listening and balance in relationship. Perhaps you’ve heard the anecdote that since we have two ears and only one mouth that we should listen twice as much as we talk. My experience lately is that people seem to have about five or six mouths, and the reason I’m finding this out is that I am much more able to keep mine closed.
It’s an interesting place for me, because it actually has a couple of edges to it. The first edge has to do with the opening of a narcissistic wound for me, and the second has to do with the sublimeness of actually being alone.
As to the narcissistic wound, there is a very young part of me that has always wanted to be seen, seen for who I actually essentially am, and not just seen for who others want or need me to be. It seems I’ve been acting out some form of projection for others for much of my life in order to be liked/loved/protected/cared for. Parents can have a particularly insidious capacity for picking the parts of their children that they prefer, exaggerating them, and then dismissing the parts that they don’t like. It’s almost as if our personalities are for their service so they can feel better about themselves. So when I say, “Nobody Gives a Shit,” I’m being extreme in my phrasing for a reason. That is the narcissistically wounded part of me responding in anger and frustration. I realize that much of this is based on projection too. There is something in me that “believes” that no one gives a shit so that is what I begin to see. People have an uncanny ability to see whatever they believe and I know I’m no different. These words are also written from the wounded part so they are naturally more extreme than what I would normally say on a daily basis.
The sublime piece, however, is…….. well, sublime. It has to do with feeling Alone. The more I deepen and become aware of my presence within my experience, the more alone I actually feel. The further we travel down a path on our own, the more alone we naturally become, and I’ve been traveling down my particular path for some time now, and for better or worse (actually better I think) it has made me begin to realize the depth of the aloneness that is actually here. We can have many, many friendships or family relationships or lovers, but ultimately we are alone. We spend an inordinate amount of our time scrambling about trying to cobble together pieces of relationship to make us feel secure and loved and thus valuable and worthy. The further along the path one goes, the more we realize that we really are on our own. Now I’m not at all saying there is no room for relationship. On the contrary, what this realization of aloneness does is liberate relationships from the “need” aspect, and opens them up to just “Being.” Thus I think there is much more capacity for true loving relationships since they no longer have so much need associated with them.
As you can see. the alone I’m talking about here is not a literal aloneness. I am fairly certain that in my life that I will always be around people that I love and who love me, and I actually feel very blessed in that area. The aloneness I’m writing about here has more to do with a certain independence from others. An independence from having to be a certain way with others. An independence from having to be seen in a certain light, to be loved in a certain way. The more truly we become ourselves, and the more comfortable we become in ourselves, the more we can allow others to feel whatever they may about us and not have to do anything about it. That’s an important sentence so I’d suggest reading it again.
The aloneness, then, is actually liberation, a freedom to just be. Just be more and more whoever we truly are, independent of the relational pressures which may arise.
I just did a search in Google Images for the word Alone to find something to use to illustrate this entry. I was a little shocked by what I saw. The images of the word Alone were all sad, lonely, dejected, barren. It seems like as a culture we’ve learned to see Aloneness as something very negative. I personally find the concept very liberating. (I clipped that “Nobody Gives a Shit” image, but used my own photo taken a week or so ago of a friend of mine at Navarro Beach near my home).
If you made it to the end of this, thank you. This is a new experience for me and an important insight, and it is helpful for me to flush it out here.