Alone, Yet Not Alone!
By Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
For The Bali Times
If you think nobody loves you, know for sure that you are loved. The earth loves you; thatâ€™s why it is holding you upright. The love of the earth is its gravitational force. The air loves you; thatâ€™s why it moves through your lungs even when you are sleeping. The Divine loves you very dearly, deeply. Once you realize this, you will never feel lonely.
Someone’s company cannot fill your loneliness. Even if it does, it is very short-lived. You can still feel lonely in spite of being in company. In a real sense, loneliness can only be filled by being alone. If you could be comfortable being alone for some time, then you will not feel lonely. When you don’t feel lonely, you can spread joy to people around you.
People run after parties and celebrations, but for the one who does not run after them, parties and celebrations follow him wherever he or she goes. If you run after parties, loneliness comes to you and if you are in the solitude of the Self, parties surround you.
If you enjoy being with your Self, you will not be a boring personality. If you are lonely, then you can be boring to others. And that will make you more lonely! And if your own company bores you, how much more boring must you be to someone else?
Those who are in company all the time look for the comforts of solitude and those who are in solitude feel lonely and want to be in company. Everyone is looking for a perfect balance. That perfect balance is like a razorâ€™s edge and can only be found in the Self. If you take out some time, say one week in a year, to be with yourself and observe our own thoughts and emotions, then you will get a sense of what quietness means.
From time to time, keep a little distance from whomsoever close to you and take some time off for your own space. From the moment you wake up in the morning, you are always with people and your mind is caught up in worldly thoughts. So sometime during the day, sit for a few minutes and get into the cave of your heart. Then you will not feel lonely even when you are alone.
Live your life well. If you are useful to people all your life, there will be hundreds and millions of people to take care of you. Mother Teresa and Acharya Vinoba Bhave, for example, were sick in bed for a long time. Do you think there was nobody to give them company? There were hundreds waiting to take care of them and all they did was to be useful to people around them.
When you make service your sole purpose in life, it eliminates fear, brings focus in your mind, purposefulness in action and long-term joy. Every time you are unhappy or miserable or lonely, you are just coming in touch with your own boundaries. It is limitation and boundary that is the real cause of your disturbance. You are peaceful and happy until come in contact with your boundaries. The moment you come in contact with it, the mind goes on a trip and you move out of your centre. At that moment what can you do? You can just be grateful and pray for peace. That very moment, you will start smiling and however hopeless the situation is, you will walk through it.
Learn and unlearn from the past and move on with creative zeal and enthusiasm. The trying time brings out the best out of you. The rewarding time gives the best of the world to you. Life is a combination of both.
The author is an internationally revered spiritual leader from India and the founder of the Art of Living Foundation. You are welcome to send your comments and feedback on the article to firstname.lastname@example.org