Man is constantly escaping from himself; that is his whole activity. In business, chasing money, or in politics, chasing power, a constant need to be amused is there, to be entertained is there. Go to the football match or go to the cricket match or go to the races – but go somewhere. Join some club, some crowd, go to the movie, be a spectator somewhere or other, but don’t ever sit silently.
Why? What is the fear? Because the moment you sit silently, the first thing that one experiences is a tremendous loneliness – and fear arises out of it, and pain and anguish. When you sit silently for a few moments, you suddenly see that your whole life is just illusory. You are only believing that you have friends – because nobody is going to be with you when you die. You are only believing that you have a wife, a husband, children, father, mother, brothers. These are all just make-believes so that you are never allowed to know your loneliness.
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.
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.
And the person who is a meditator is religious; all others are just worldly. They may go to the churches, to the temples, to the synagogues – that doesn’t matter, that doesn’t mean a thing. That is again an occupation. Going to the temple, to the church, to the synagogue is an occupation. It is exactly the same as going to the Lion’s Club or the Rotary Club or to the movie or to the cricket match; it is the same, a religious kind of entertainment. You can go there, and you get involved in something, a ritual, a prayer, music, this and that.
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. They don’t mean the same thing, they are worlds apart.