When You Feel Lonely, It's Time to Discover Aloneness

Could you explain the difference between loneliness and aloneness?

“Loneliness is a negative state of mind. Aloneness is positive, notwithstanding what the dictionaries say. In dictionaries, loneliness and aloneness are synonymous. They are synonyms; in life they are not. Loneliness is a state of mind when you are constantly missing the other; aloneness is the state of mind when you are constantly delighted in yourself. Loneliness is miserable, aloneness is blissful. Loneliness is always worried, missing something, hankering for something, desiring for something. Aloneness is a deep fulfillment, not going out, tremendously content, happy, celebrating. In loneliness you are off center, in aloneness you are centered and rooted. Aloneness is beautiful. It has an elegance around it, a grace, a climate of tremendous satisfaction. Loneliness is beggarly. All around it there is begging and nothing else, it has no grace around it. In fact, it is ugly. Loneliness is a dependence; aloneness is sheer independence. One feels as if one is one's whole world, one's whole existence.”

Osho, Come Follow to You, Vol. 4, Talk #6

When I’m on my own I feel separate, lonely, and miserable. I love myself only when I am with others. When I’m alone I feel ashamed and dislike myself, and I judge myself as if through the eyes of others.

“It is not only you. The way children are brought up is the cause of this whole misery. No child is accepted as he is. He is rewarded if he follows the directions of the parents, the teachers, the elders. Those directions may go against his nature, because those directives were not made by him or for him. Somebody five thousand years before made those principles, and they are still being used in raising the children.

“Naturally, every child is displaced. He is not in his own self. He is not himself; he is somebody else. That somebody else is given to you by the society, by others.

“So when you are lonely, and there is nobody to dictate to you, you simply relax in your nature. There is no need to perform anything, because there is nobody who is seeing. And that relaxing into your own nature makes you feel guilty. You are going against your parents, against the priest, against the society; and they have told you that you, in yourself, are not right. And you have accepted it. It has become a conditioned thing in you.”

Osho, From Death to Deathlessness, Talk #40

“Whenever you are alone, that loneliness erupts, surfaces. Suddenly you start feeling yourself a stranger in a vast world, an abysmal world, infinite. And you are there, just a tiny speck of dust – although conscious, but so tiny, so helpless, so powerless, and all alone. That creates pain, panic, anguish. You rush back into some activity, you start doing something or other that keeps you away from this truth.”

Osho, The Secret, Talk #6

“Loneliness is similar to darkness. You don't know your aloneness. You have not experienced your aloneness and its beauty, its tremendous power, its strength. In the dictionaries, loneliness and aloneness are synonymous, but existence does not follow your dictionaries – and yet nobody has ever tried to make an existential dictionary which will not be contradictory to existence.

“Loneliness is absence. Because you don't know your aloneness, there is fear and you feel lonely, so you want to cling to something – to somebody, to some relationship – just to keep the illusion that you are not lonely. But you know you are, hence the pain.”

Osho, The Path of the Mystic, Talk #19

But the pain of loneliness hurts. What can I do about it?

“If one starts allowing this pain… Let it be. Note that there is pain, but don't do anything about it. Let it be. An old habit is disappearing… it hurts. Slowly, slowly you will see your inner sky changing – from darkness to light, from loneliness to aloneness. Aloneness is the joy of being yourself. Loneliness is the misery of missing the other. Aloneness is positive, loneliness is negative.”

Osho, The Secret, Talk #6

“Loneliness is a misunderstood aloneness. Once you misunderstand your aloneness as loneliness, the whole context changes. Aloneness has a beauty and grandeur, a positivity; loneliness is poor, negative, dark, dismal.

“Everybody is running away from loneliness. It is like a wound; it hurts. To escape from it, the only way is to be in a crowd, to become part of a society, to have friends, to create a family, to have husbands and wives, to have children. In this crowd, the basic effort is that you will be able to forget your loneliness.

“But nobody has ever succeeded in forgetting it. That which is natural to you, you can try to ignore – but you cannot forget it; it will assert again and again. And the problem becomes more complex because you have never seen it as it is; you have taken it for granted that you are born lonely.”

Osho, The Golden Future, Talk #6

“There are only two types of people: one, who escape from their loneliness – the majority, the ninety-nine point-nine percent, who escape from themselves; and the remaining point-one percent is the meditator, who says, ‘If loneliness is a truth, then it is a truth; then there is no point in running away from it. It is better to go into it, encounter it, see it face to face, what it is.’

“Meditation means going into your loneliness wholeheartedly, to discover it, to investigate it, to inquire into it. That's what meditation is all about.”

Osho, The Secret, Talk #6

“This whole effort – whether of relationships or remaining busy in a thousand and one things – is just to escape from the idea that you are lonely. And I want it to be emphatically clear to you that this is where the meditator and the ordinary man part.”

Osho, The Golden Future, Talk #6

What will happen if I go on encountering my loneliness?

“Meditation means you are not escaping anymore. Although it hurts, but you are not escaping. It is painful, but you are not escaping. If it is there, you have to face it, to inquire as deeply as possible into it, because it is your reality. And by knowing it deeply you will become a man of wisdom.

“What you are feeling is the first step of meditation. You are encountering your loneliness. If you go on encountering it, if you are courageous enough and you go on encountering it and you don't start escaping, then loneliness one day changes its color: it becomes aloneness. And that is the moment of great mutation, when loneliness become aloneness.”

Osho, The Secret, Talk #6