I previously wrote an article on how to overcome loneliness where I discussed what loneliness is, the ins and outs of it, the kind of repercussion loneliness brings, and some ways to minimize it. In this article, Imma discuss how we can learn to live alone and still don’t freak out and live a happy life. Consider this an extension to the loneliness article.
Well, before I start rambling my fairy tale, ask yourself, do you even believe that you can learn to live alone, as in alone alone? When I say alone, I mean no person to talk to and no objects (mobiles or pc) to keep yourself occupied with. Just you and your heart and your mind and your soul and your 206 bones.
One thing is pretty clear, if we can learn to live alone and be comfortable with it, then it surely gives us an undue advantage over others who’d freak out when they are all by themselves. You’d be able to live happily with everyone else too if you are comfortable living alone. So you might as well learn to live alone.
The Current Scenario
The harsh reality of today’s world is that, since so many people are not comfortable with being alone, they look for objects or people or something external to fill that void within.
And it might look like they have this huge network of people to connect with and all the fancy objects to keep themselves occupied with, but somewhere deep down, they are only getting farther and farther away from themselves, getting lost in the infinite void within.
The Internet has kinda amplified this predicament. While everyone seems to be connected with everyone else at a superficial level, they are only getting more and more secluded from within.
And the reason is that we never really learned to live alone. Because if you yourself can’t enjoy your own company, then it’d be pretty damn hard for you to let someone or something else make you happy, like really happy. Learning to live alone, in today’s world, is not just a matter of competence or fad, it’s a goddamn necessity.
You have to learn to live alone to feel complete from the inside, you have to learn to live alone to make some real connections on the outside, you have to learn to live alone to actually live a meaningful and fulfilled life.
If you don’t, then no matter how many friends you make in the outside world, or how much wealth or material success you amass, you’d remain hollow from the inside. Learning to live alone is a prerequisite to living a good life.
Try this Experiment
CAUTION: This experiment doesn’t need any expert supervision. You can safely and securely do this experiment at your home or wherever the hell you are at. Although it can drive you crazy when you see how grave the problem I am talking about is.
So, here it is:
All you have to do is go someplace quiet where you won’t find anyone to disturb you and just spend an hour there. No mobile, laptops, pcs, books, or anything. Just you. Don’t try to move much(preferably just sit down). I mean I don’t want you to start your dance practice or your opera practice while alone. I just want you to see how comfortable you are doing nothing.
Go ahead and do give it a try once you finish this article.
Chances are that the majority of you won’t even bother paying any attention to it, and the handful that does give it a genuine try, 99% of even those will go bananas within the first 10 min only.
Your mind will keep dragging you to get up and check your mobile or call someone or do something. You’d feel irritated and would look for some kind of excuse to just get out of that ‘hell’ in any way possible. And even if you could somehow manage to bear that ‘painful phase’ through, you’d be bombarded with your heartbreaking memories that will again act as a cue to distract yourself to stop them.
Now ain’t that a shame?
If you can’t stand your own self for even a handful of minutes, then how in the world can you expect someone or something else to keep you satisfied? You might be the most interesting person on the planet for your friends and relatives, but if you can’t spend an hour alone with yourself, then you are one hell of a boring person.
From Loneliness to Solitude
Those are familiar terms but just to give a quick recap, solitude is when you enjoy being alone and love your company while loneliness is when you want to be around people but for whatever reason you end up being alone and in turn, get miserable because of it.
Now, what’s happening is that since more and more people are becoming dependent on other people or objects or stuff, they are in turn becoming more and more likely to get lonely after a while.
If you couldn’t do the above-mentioned experiment, then you’d know where to put yourself on the loneliness scale of 1 to 10, 1 being the state of solitude and 10 being lonely af.
So, how do we go from loneliness to solitude?
#1 Get connected with reality
The more you see the reality without any filter and get connected with it, instead of getting connected with what’s going on in your mind, the more peaceful and happy you are gonna be being alone.
You see, one of the biggest problems we face is our inability to look at reality the way it actually is. And this is the number 1 reason why people are miserable and unfulfilled and incomplete.
Furthermore, to make up for this void, people, instead of fixing their reality comprehending mechanism, rely on other people and objects to keep themselves distracted. That’s how they keep dodging the 8the ball. Little do they know that the faster they start focusing on the 8th ball, the greater is their chance of winning.
The logic behind it is simple. Everyone has different things going on in their minds. Right at this freaking moment, each and every single one of you are bombarded with different kinds of thoughts.
Some might be thinking about this article, some might be forming different opinions about me, and some might only be reading this for the sake of it but mentally would be elsewhere.
And hear this: whenever you get connected with something that’s not the same for everybody, you cut yourself off and become lonely. Since we hold on so dearly to our thoughts—and every person has a different set of thoughts—all that only pushes us to become more and more secluded and lonely.
Now you know why you feel lonely from within, even if you are surrounded by a group of people.
The interesting thing is that reality is the same for everyone, it’s only the perceptions(our thoughts) about the reality that is different. And if we can see this through and consequently learn to absorb reality without any filters, then that’s when something magical can happen.
#2 You already are connected
Oh yes, you read that right. You don’t even have to try to get connected with everyone in order to feel fulfilled and happy. You already are connected with the Universe in a way that you can’t separate yourself from it even if you want to.
The Sun, the moon, the stars, the oceans, the trees, humans, other animals, every goddamn thing, we are all connected with each other and how. And those who are connected are happy and at peace. I don’t have to lay down the science behind it, the fact that before the Big Bang we all were a single block(singularity), and after it happened we were born out of it. It’s actually pretty straightforward to comprehend.
You absorb the sunlight, you breathe oxygen, you drink water, you eat food, you absorb the necessary minerals and vitamins—you literally have the entire universe inside you. And the fundamental contents inside you, are the same as any other human.
It is the same energy that’s reverberating in all of us. You are a part of me, and I am a part of you. We are all interconnected and interdependent. Even the way our mind works is also the same. The algorithm is the same, only the inputs keep changing for different people at different times.
It’s only at the level of our thoughts that we have learned to distinguish ourselves from each other. The notion of oneness has somewhat been buried in our own race of survival and greed, thanks to materialism and an egoistic culture.
Only when you realize that your actions are not just gonna affect you, but the whole universe—and consequently the actions of the universe will affect you—can you actually overcome the shadow of loneliness and devote yourself to the right purposes.
And hey, to feel the gravity of the fact that we are all connected and to actually experience it, you don’t have to do any advanced meditation or read a bunch of scriptures. Just go out in the wild, in the woods or a park, or simply at the roof of your house and observe your surroundings. As you lose your ego and dissolve your sense of ‘I’ in the abundance of the universe, at that moment everything will start making sense.
You will see yourself in everyone, and everyone in yourself. So, even if you want to, you can’t actually be lonely. You have just forgotten who you are in the hustle-bustle of life, but thankfully I am here to remind you of just that.
#3 Change your outlook, change your life
When you do see the sense of what I am talking about your whole life will change for good.
When you see for yourself who you really are, you not only never feel lonely ever again, you also imbibe the abundant mentality.
Nowadays, relationships are becoming really shallow and hollow from the inside. Both the parties want something from the other and want to possess each other. People reek of desperation and do stupid things because they are empty from the inside. This whole possessiveness thing breeds due to loneliness only.
People don’t love each other, they just get superficially attached to each other. It essentially becomes a namesake relationship where the mandate is “I will scratch your back if you scratch mine.” It almost seems as if it’s not a relationship but a business transaction, a mere quid pro quo.
But, if you deeply understand the fact that we are all fulfilled and connected with the universe in such a way that we can’t actually stay lonely in reality, then that’s when your relationships blossom like a fresh flower.
Now there actually is a possibility for real love to exist. It’s only when you yourself are complete that you are capable of seeing the other person for who he actually is, instead of how you want them to look. That’s when you’d realize that the other person is not separate from you, but actually just an extension of you.
There will be real love and compassion and comfort in such relationships, as you are not connecting for the sake of connecting nor do you want someone to “complete you”.
Now you would neither desperately look for anyone to feel fulfilled, nor would you stay in a toxic relationship that’s causing more harm than good, just because you were afraid you’d be all alone if you get out of it.
I am not saying that you’d be impervious to anything or anyone. All I am saying is that you’d be acting from a position of strength and not from a position of weakness or helplessness or desperation.
#4 Let People come to you
The grim reality of the modern world is that those who are all desolate and desperately want someone in their life are more likely to be lonely. Whereas if you actually enjoy solidarity and are doing pretty well all by yourself, then nobody would be willing to leave a person like you.
Can you see the irony?
The lonely will get even more lonely, while those who know how to be happy alone will attract more people.
And it’s no rocket science to understand why this happens.
Ask yourself, when you are going through a bad phase in life, who would you rather go to? A person who himself is all lonely and hopeless who would further depreciate your mood or someone who’s full of life and energy and a positive enthusiasm? Pretty straightforward now, isn’t it?
Everybody is looking for some positivity and happiness in their own different ways. You just can’t get around this fact and you’d have to be fulfilled from the inside or you’d be in for a bumpy ride. Two negatives might make a positive in maths, but in the real world, two negatives aren’t gonna make a positive.
Only someone who himself is happy is capable of making you happy, only someone who himself is free is capable of giving you freedom, only someone who loves himself is capable of giving you love, only someone who himself is rich is capable of giving you money. Does that make sense to you?
Now, don’t misunderstand me, I am not trying to demean you or make fun of your loneliness. I am just giving you the harsh facts of reality which you’d have to face sooner than later. So, better do something about it before it’s too late.
And the funny thing is that there is no other permanent way of overcoming loneliness than to mend your understanding and uproot this weed from your mind that you are separate from the universe. I can bombard you with the quick tips and tricks, but those aren’t gonna hold up for long. You have to fix the way you see the world and the way you see yourself to actually be happy even while alone.
#5 The Beginning of Solitude
You begin the journey of solidarity with the realization that the way you are currently living needs some immediate change. If you are unable to be with yourself for even an hour without feeling the need to distract yourself or diverting your attention to someplace else, then you need to tell yourself that you have got some fixing to do.
But if you choose to overlook that fact and are content with your present life situation, then nothing will change. Most people are not strong enough to accept this fact.
So, if you are aware that you need to change something. The next step involves paying your full-blown attention to every little thing happening around you and seeing the fact that you already are connected with the Universe.
Look at how you are absorbing the rays of the Sun when you stand beneath it, drink the raindrops falling from the sky onto your palms and acknowledge the fact that you just became the cloud that was up in the atmosphere a few minutes back, see how you are intaking the oxygen from the trees and plants around you and realize the interconnectedness of it all.
When you start noticing things this way then you automatically stay in meditation all the time and you essentially enter a new dimension altogether. For most people, even meditation has regressed into just a fancy way to distract themselves from the underlying problem.
Oh and one of the side benefits of paying attention to the little things like this is that you get comfortable with being all by yourself. That’s how you begin your journey of solidarity.
Slowly and gradually, you work your way up and you become so aware and focused on everything you do that the joy of performing even the tiniest of activities and just experiencing it fully makes you fall in love with your own company.
The thing to keep in mind is that you are not supposed to get attached to the ‘feel good’ experience that will come as a result of focussed attention because no experience is ever permanent.
#6 We are social beings, ultimately
Now having said all of that, some people will misapprehend what’s being talked about here. No guys, I am not telling you to leave everything behind and go to the Himalayas to enjoy solitude, that’s dumb. Getting secluded from society isn’t a very wise decision.
The whole idea of learning to live alone is to enjoy the company of others better. See, we are social beings for a reason. We need a tribe to thrive.
But when people find a circle, they do it from a position of desperation and loneliness and neediness, to fill an already existing void in them, to pin all their problems onto the other person, to let the other person know that it’s their responsibility to make them happy.
All I am saying is that, when you learn to be happy alone, you’d approach people from a position of strength and abundance and love, to help people grow and become better, to share values and ideals and principles and thrive together, to exchange laughter and multiply happiness, to spread love.
Just because you know how to live alone and are happy, doesn’t mean you ought to live alone forever. But you also don’t wanna be totally dependent on others for every damn thing and hate your own company. The path in between is the ideal path.
Look at the history of the world, even the present, all the great leaders, the creative geniuses, the beautiful artists, the business titans, the one thing they all have in common to a certain degree is that they are super comfortable spending some time alone.
Even Tesla once said, “Be alone, that’s the secret of invention. Be alone, that’s where ideas are born.” And that’s totally true.
Your best ideas always come to you when you are all by yourself, and not when you are in the middle of a get-together in a busy and noisy restaurant.
And besides, you are the person you are gonna spend your entire life with, so it only makes sense for you to make peace with yourself and learn to enjoy your own company.
You don’t have to be one with the universe, you already are inseparable from the universe. Acknowledge, and you will never be lonely.