So many spiritual teachers across the generations have taught about aloneness. Because of this, aloneness is a hot topic in the spiritual field. But most people have confused the idea of being alone in the world with being alone with oneself. And as a result, many of these teachings on aloneness are doing more harm than good.
You will hear things like: “If you want to learn to be strong, learn to enjoy being alone”. And “Aloneness simply means completeness.” And “For those on the spiritual path, being alone, keeping a distance from people and becoming silent are not issues, these are opportunities.” And “With completeness there is no need for companionship.” And “A being that is whole, needs nothing and no one.” And “Aloneness is your nature. You were born alone; you will die alone. And you are living alone without understanding it, without being fully aware of it. And in true awakening, you are sufficient unto yourself.” You get the picture.
As a biological species, people can only thrive when they have connection. This is a basic human need. It is true that a being can develop spiritually to the point where they fully perceive their connection with all things in existence, thus proving that loneliness is a perception. But people who perceive life this way, do not perceive themselves to be alone because they experience no isolation. They experience no aching, fearsome loneliness. And the reality is that most people are not there. What most people need is the feeling that they are not alone in the world by developing a sense of togetherness and closeness and intimacy with other people. And expanding their sense of connection and oneness from there. Trying to un-need this need of connection and closeness is rather abusive. And unfortunately, this is where most people take spiritual teachings on aloneness. They think that to become spiritually developed and to awaken is to accept aloneness, adapt to it and become ok with it, so as to become an island unto themselves. They are in the active practice of spiritually justified separation.
This is very different than someone who is in resistance to being alone because they cannot be with themselves. The fear of being alone in this respect has nothing to do with whether or not you have other people in your life to connect to. It is about how integrated you are with yourself. It is about the deep, unresolved pain that you carry within you that you don’t want to be with. It is about whether there is peace internally between your internal “parts”. It is about your self-concept. It is about a lack of self-love. It is about a poor relationship to your own capabilities and confidence. It’s about what you associate solitude with. This type of resistance to aloneness is really a fear of being with yourself. And it is a resistance to isolation; and the aching, fearfulness and consequences that come with it.
From a more objective perspective, a being that is so integrated that they have no problem being alone with themselves, and who perceives the whole world as something they are intimately connected to and part of, is not a being that is separated, isolated, alone or lonely. This is true even if there are no people around them in a given moment. A person that is convinced that the reality is that they are (and always will be) separate and alone, must adapt to that. They do so by coming up with spiritual justifications for it being right to be alone. They do this so that they are "fine" being alone. This is a person that is separated, isolated, alone and lonely. They just don’t perceive themselves to be, because they have found creative ways to cope with it. We need to take care not to mistake the two. One is in alignment and the other is very much out of alignment. Unfortunately, people mistake the two all the time.
A great many spiritual teachers (especially when they come from cultures where there is a trend of family enmeshment trauma) experience aloneness as freedom and as the only way to have a sense of self and personal truth. They feel it to be a relief from pressure and the other negative aspects of their social backgrounds. And so they come up with teachings which glorify aloneness as well as teach that the ability to be alone is a virtue.
So many more spiritual teachers have come from relational traumas that made them realize they could only rely on themselves . And so, they connected to the spiritual realms rather than to other people. They then created many truths about self-sufficiency and aloneness to justify and back up the adaptation they made in response to their own relational pain. To learn more about this, you can watch my video titled; Spirituality, The Great Coping Mechanism.
If you want to be in alignment regarding aloneness, this is my suggestion: Treat the state of being that is aloneness as a tool. We may call this tool solitude. Instead of thinking about it as a push away towards others, think of it as having focused quality time with ourself. Use it as a tool to integrate. Use it as a tool to tap into and focus completely on your internal truth. Use it as a tool to become aware of and resolve the pain that you are carrying within you. Use it to develop your sense of self love, confidence, capability and self-esteem. Use it to un-do your negative associations with solitude.
At the very same time, realize that being with yourself or experiencing the state of solitude has nothing to do with whether or not you have incredibly close, connection and people with you in your life. Aloneness is a perception. There is not a moment that you are alone. You are connected to and part of all that is. And you are living in an interdependent universe. No being is an island unto themselves. And just like water and air, connection with others is a basic need. If you love yourself, you want your needs to be met. So, you will seek out connection and closeness with others because doing so is to act in your own best interests.
Deep, intimate, closeness and connection with others is not inherently a contradiction to the experience of solitude. You may not be occupying the same space as another person in a given moment. And in that moment, retaining a perception of connectivity, it is possible to not feel separated or isolated or lonely. Instead, it can be the opportunity for focus, intimacy, understanding and connection with yourself.