A student comes up to me and says ‘Swaminiji, even after listening to Vedanta I still feel I am very lonely. My loneliness drives me to seek friends and I sometimes end up making wrong choices of friends – sometimes toxic and harmful. I am not able to draw boundaries. I become dependent on these friends for their appreciation and approval and am not able to extricate myself from these relationships even after experiencing much emotional abuse”.
To a person who is not committed to Self-enquiry, I might say go to a counsellor – the counsellor will help you to see through this, so you can make better choices next time.
However, when this pattern of behaviour becomes evident to a committed student of self-inquiry, we have to use our recognition of the truth that Vedanta reveals to first examine if our conclusion on which this feeling is based is right and then examine if we want to continue to give life to a belief that is false.
Our knowledge of Vedanta and recognition of its truth can help us to see the fact, that this feeling of loneliness is born of false conclusion. A feeling based on a false conclusion can keep you imprisoned in it, all because you, the consciousness have given it life by believing in it. A false belief must be seen as false and let go of. One’s commitment to truth demands that one give it up – in fact the more you see it as false the more easy it is to give it up.
So what is the false belief behind the feeling of loneliness?
One is that ‘I am this body-mind which is separate from all others and the world around’.
Well everybody has this conclusion so everyone must be lonely then. That is fairly true – everybody has this false conclusion, except wise people who see the truth. However for some people the feelings based on this conclusion are very heavy, because they might not have received enough support and care when they were children, so the feelings of loneliness became hardened as the conclusion that ‘I am lonely, I am all alone, I am unsupported.” Some may even conclude that “I cannot manage on my own.”
So first step is to show the person that at the level of their body and mind, in fact they are NOT separate from the world or others. This body has a symbiotic relationship with the world. For example the body breathes in oxygen given out by the trees and gives out carbon-dioxide which is used by the trees. Again one’s body is a put together of flesh, bones, blood, fat, muscle etc... so is the body of others made of the same constituents. If you truly analyse the body you find that it is made of particles of energy – in fact the whole world is nothing but particles of energy. So the basic constituents of the body, whatever model you take, is the same as the constituents of any other body. How is this body really separate from the body of the world? In fact this body is a part of the world.
No, at the mind level, I feel lonely, I feel misunderstood, un-understood, unsupported and alone!!
Did you feel lonely as a child? Yes... very lonely.
Yes, this feeling of loneliness is an old, old impression which is left in the sub-conscious mind and it is holding you hostage because you believe in it. Once you believe in it, the sub-conscious mind is very powerful ... it will create situations for you which you will again interpret in the same way and strengthen your belief.
Is it really true that nobody understands you or is this a belief you picked up[ in childhood?
Do you understand yourself?
What is your relationship with the Lord? The Lord is ever the impartial and all-accepting (loving) witness to your every thought, emotion, feeling, decision, action. Have you given attention to understanding and recognizing the presence of the Lord in your life? How can you be lonely if you recognize the presence of the Lord in your life? The Lord understands you even if you imagine that nobody else does.
The feelings of deep loneliness brings to light that there is a conclusion of separation from the world and the Lord and it is time to pay attention to this and be free of this debilitating conclusion.
Do you want to be free? How deeply have you invested in this conclusion of separation?
Finally the master-stroke to free yourself.
Have you observed this feeling of loneliness?
Observing the feeling, you are not the feeling ... you are indeed distinct from the feeling as the one who perceives the feelings.
You are consciousness, awareness and in your light of awareness, these feelings are revealed. Are you consciousness or are you loneliness? You can’t be both.
Are you clear about this? One is the perceiver and the other the perceived. How come you have mixed it all up?
You are consciousness, satyam, independent and changeless. You illumine and enliven every thought, decision, feeling, sensation, activity, the body and the world . You give life to them. None of these can be separate from you, the one who gives life to them, and yet who is independent of them.
Why are you giving life to a false belief? You are consciousness, you are not loneliness. Loneliness is only an old old samskara based upon a false conclusion. The knowledge of your truth has the power to destroy the false conclusion and in its wake you stop giving reality to your old old samskara.
Can you see this? If you can’t see it immediately, trust in this ancient knowledge and give attention to finding out the truth.
If you can ... STOP giving reality to the old conclusion of separation and the feelings of loneliness. Stay as consciousness, whole, undivided and complete. Live from this truth. Refuse to subscribe to your false conclusions and samskaras.
Om Tat Sat