We are born alone and we die alone. No one can experience this with us or for us, even while we all go through it. Yet, we fear this experience of being alone.
What does it mean to be alone? The word’s latin origins are solus, sole, only, one. To be one with everything and everyone is the true lover’s aim: oneness. But in our fear of being alone, it seems we are actually afraid of oneness. We are afraid of ourselves.
So we distract ourselves. We run from ourselves. We seek that which is outside of ourselves for love and support: the lift and release of a glass of wine, the heaviness of a full meal, the warm embrace of another, chocolate melting on the tongue, even a spiritual text…In all of these we run from ourselves and from our aloneness. We think we will find refuge from the world. We want the pre-birth experience of utero. We want to be fully held in love, supported by a life force bigger than us. But this life force, this love and support is within us. It is found only when we are truly alone, when instead of reaching for the remote or the phone, we get in touch with the channels of energy, the ecosystems of sensation and emotion churning inside us. When we notice the silence beneath the sound, and find the stillness within our own bodies and being.
In this moment, we face the fear of being alone, and we find that not only are we alone—soly, one—we are also loved and supported by everything around us. We stop discriminating. We stop making ourselves too small and our idea of love too narrow. We stop seeking love in one form and forgetting to see it in the millions of forms it is being offered in this moment.
The oxygen entering through the nostrils, given to us by the sprawling oak trees that line the streets. This is love and support.
The beat of the heart, a mysterious pulse of energy, a cosmic spark of life that animates us. This is love and support.
Each and every cell that knows exactly its work and place. It does not question what to do or if it is good enough. It holds the knowledge of every one of our ancestors from the beginning of time. Their love and support.
The ground beneath our feet. The gravity that holds us in place while the plant turns and loops wildly in space around the sun. The love and support of Mother Earth.
This life force, all around us and in us, is the love we seek.
Look no further than your own breath and being.
And in being alone you will be one with everything, connected to your true self. Don’t be afraid to be alone. To be alone is the greatest gift we can give ourselves. Even while we sit at the dinner table with friends chatting and clinking their silverware against the plates, while we walk the aisle of a busy grocery store, while we listen to the day’s stories of our beloved. We can find ourselves. We can find the still point. We don’t lose ourselves in the chaos of the world around us, in the memories of the past or the fantasies of the future. We stop grasping for the comfort or seeking a place to hide. We enter the world more fully, more authentically because we are no longer afraid of it, afraid of ourselves.
Instead, we shift to a way of looking at the world that sees its goodness and beauty everywhere and in everyone. We live among the gods, those who also know how to live alone while holding space for us. We see love everywhere, in the blue sky and blooming flower, so that we no longer have to look for it. We feel it in the smile we offer to a stranger. We feel it in our fingertips as we type an email to send out to the world. We find it in the moment we decide to sit on the cushion or move on the mat.
Love is here. Now. It is in our aloneness, in the very place we wanted to run from.
So we stop running.
We stand in love. Stay in love.
We fall in love with ourselves and within ourselves. In this place that is protected, dark, and small, bound by flesh and bone. And in entering this place, we open to the entire universe. We try to find balance in the space where form meets emptiness.
Like birth and death, we must be here alone. No one can experience this with us or for us, even while we are this, like waves in an ocean. We are love. We are alone.
To be alone is to be in love.
Now, dear one, enter this space of love. Go into your breath, your body. Bring your attention to the sensations and feelings within you.
Receive the support of your breath, the support of the earth beneath you.
This sense of truly being alone, and at the same time connected, is how we love ourselves.
With each inhale, receive. With each exhale, surrender.