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Chapter 2: Aloneness Is the Last Achievement

People have tried to find many ways of avoiding it. Some have left the world. Why are you so afraid of the world? The fear of the world is really fear of love, because when others are there, the possibility is there that you may fall in love with someone. There are so many beautiful souls around, so many attractions; you may get caught somewhere. Danger - escape! A few have escaped to the monasteries, a few have escaped in other ways. A few have escaped into marriages. That too is an escape. The monastery is an escape, and marriage is also an escape - to avoid love.

One never knows what will be the outcome of a love affair. It is always on the rocks. It is never convenient, it is never comfortable. It may bring you moments of joy, but it brings hell also. It is painful growth, but all growth is painful. One never grows without pain. Pain is a part, an essential part. If you avoid the pain you also avoid the growth.

Many have settled somewhere. A few have settled in ambition, have become politicians. They are not worried about love. They say they have great things to do in the world. They are worried about power: they use power as an escape. A few are buried in their monasteries, a few are buried in their families: marriage, children, this and that, but I rarely come across a man who has faced the challenge of love, the greatest storm there is. But one who has faced it, grows. He comes out of it one day, clean, pure, mature.

So you ask, “Cannot one enjoy life alone?” You can be happy alone, but you cannot enjoy. You can be happy, in a way, because there will be no disturbance, no turmoil, no conflict. Your happiness will be more like peace, less like enjoyment. It will not have any ecstasy in it. Joy is very ecstatic; joy is very much like dance. Happiness is like the singing you do in your bathroom - the bathroom singing - it is very lukewarm; you can do it alone. You always do it in your bathroom because you are alone. But singing and dancing with other people, getting completely possessed by it, is joy. Joy is a shared phenomenon; happiness is a non-shared phenomenon.

People who are miserly always look for happiness, not for joy - because joy needs sharing. You cannot be joyful alone. A certain atmosphere is needed, a certain climate is needed: a certain whirlwind of people, persons, consciousness, is needed. Alone you can be happy, at the most.

And remember, happiness is not a very happy thing.

Joy is really moving high. Joy is the climax, like peaks; happiness is a plain ground: one moves comfortably with no fear of any fall anywhere - no valley around, no danger. You can walk with your eyes closed. You know the path. You have been moving on that path, this way and that. You can move completely unconsciously.

Joy needs consciousness. Have you ever moved into the mountains and just by the side, a great valley is yawning? You become alert. That is one of the beauties of mountaineering. It is not really the joy in the mountain; the joy is in moving in danger, constant danger. Always there is death around; the valley is waiting to swallow you at any moment. Once you lose your footing, you are gone forever. Because of that danger one becomes very sharply aware, like a sword. That awareness gives joy.

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