Being Alone and in Relationship with Others
Sometimes I find an image on the Internet without going in search of it. Sometimes the image comes to me through a “Tweet” or flashing passed my screen as I search for some unrelated information. Today’s image is one of those gifts that appear as it was passed from one viewer to the next to the next – a dynamic found on Tumblr. I was sent to the site of Aphrodite where I found the photo with an accompanying text:
“…We leave our homeland, our property and our friends. We give up the familiar ground that supports our ego, admit the helplessness of ego to control its world and secure itself. We give up our clingings to superiority and self-preservation…It means giving up searching for a home, becoming a refugee, a lonely person who must depend on himself…Fundamentally, no one can help us. If we seek to relieve our loneliness, we will be distracted from the path. Instead, we must make a relationship with loneliness until it becomes aloneness.” (Chögyam Trungpa, The Myth Of Freedom And The Way Of Meditation)
These are heavy words, the words of the “Hero’s Journey” that C.G. Jung calls individuation. The image is perfect in terms of showing the isolation of one on a path for only one. In a previous post I talked about the idea of the “crooked road” that is the only way to get from here to there which is curiously the straightest path through the wilderness, the swamplands. As I read these words I wonder at what losses must yet come on my own journey to healing.
Like most people, I am a lonely person even though I am surrounded by people who love me and whom I love. I am lonely because I am trapped in a body, a mind and inner shadows that hide the essence of who I am from myself as well as those around me. The only way through loneliness is to become one with my body, my mind and my inner shadows rather than be isolated from these key aspects of self. Then as Chögyam Trungpa tells us, I become alone rather than lonely.
Because I am in a separate body with a separate mind and heart I can never bridge the distance to lose this “aloneness.” I try, as do most others, by falling in love, making love, becoming a spouse, a parent and a grandparent – but the distance remains.
When I finally reach the goal of “aloneness” then, and only then, will relationship with others be full and nourishing to both myself and to those others.