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Chapter 1: Flight of the Alone to the Alone

Everyone is lonely: the husband, the wife and the child. But they are without compassion, without sympathy; they live without loving attitudes because they are using others as an escape. The wife uses the husband as a means of escape from her aloneness, and because of this there is possession. The wife is afraid that if her husband forgets her, if he leaves her, then she will become lonely - he has become an escape for her. She is not aware of her aloneness, she does not want to be aware of it, so she becomes aware of her husband instead. She becomes possessive, she clings. And the husband clings in his own way, too: his wife is an escape from his aloneness.

We are alone. The moment this realization is there - that man is alone - then there is no escape, because then you know that no escape is possible. It is just a wish. There is no escape! The wife is just as lonely with her husband as she was without him. But we create illusory escapes, illusions of togetherness. Our families, our nations, our clubs, groups, and organizations - this whole society is an escape from our aloneness.

How ugly it is that no one thinks himself worth living with! If you are alone in your room you are bored with yourself. One bored person goes to another bored person, and together they try to transcend boredom. Mathematically, the possibility is just the opposite: the boredom is doubled. Now each bored person will be doubly bored and will think that it is the other who is at fault somehow. Each will object to the other and there will be conflicts.

A yogi, a person who has come to yoga, has come to know this naked fact, that it is everyone’s nature to be absolutely alone and there is nothing to be done about it; one has to live alone with it. Once this awareness is accepted, there is an explosion. Now there is no need to escape because now there is no escape. He has begun to live with himself and now he can live alone but will not be lonely. He will not go to the mountains, he will not go to a cave, because now he knows that wherever he is, even in the marketplace, even in a crowd, he is alone. Now everyone looks different to him - everyone is alone! Then compassion follows, compassion for everyone’s absolute loneliness.

When there is compassion for others, the yogi experiences meditation. This realization is a doubleheaded arrow: one end pointing to meditation, the other pointing to compassion. In your innermost world there is meditation and in your outer relationships there is compassion.

Buddha has used two words: prajna and karuna, because basically religion is concerned only with these two words. Prajna means meditation, the peak of knowing, and karuna means compassion. Prajna, meditation, is the flame, and karuna, compassion, is the light that spreads out and fills the whole world. Both come simultaneously - they are one.

Don’t think in terms of this yoga or that yoga, this religion or that religion; that whole thinking is basically wrong. Think in terms of existence, life. Begin to live each moment that comes to you: live it totally, live it in total aloneness. Live life moment to moment. Be open: open to the unknown. Accept things as they come. Denial and non-acceptance are the only atheism. Acceptance - a yes-saying spirit that says yes to everything, that welcomes everything unconditionally - is religiousness.

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