He said, “You are right, we have time, but you don’t know what you have done to me. I was also thinking that when I am retired I will feel relaxed for the first time in my life. My father died when I was young, and since then I have been working continuously, becoming richer and richer. And I had a hope that one day I will retire and relax and will not have any worries of the world. And when you told me, ‘Now it is time – you have enough…. What more do you need? Your girls are married, you don’t have a son – for whom are you earning now? You may live twenty years, thirty years – for that you have too much. You could live with what you have for three hundred years. You retire!’”
He said, “I understood, because I have been deep down always hoping to retire, and when it came from you, I said, ‘This is the moment to take the jump.’ But you have created a trouble; now I am lonely. I have never felt it before. And I am so utterly lonely that I am angry at you. How can I relax in such loneliness? And if this loneliness continues, I don’t think I can survive twenty or thirty years. It is becoming colder and colder, and darker and darker. And I am feeling absolutely cut off from the world.”
“But,” I said, “you have your wife.”
He said, “That is another trouble. I had never felt so lonely in her presence as I feel now. I was so busy in my businesses that I would come home late and she was always quarreling, nagging, asking for this and asking for that. There was no time to feel each other. Now the whole day I am sitting at home, and when I see her I know: just as I am alone, she is alone. And two alonenesses do not help in any way; on the contrary they make each other more clear.”
He said, “I will come to Mount Abu, but I would like some friend to be with us; otherwise three weeks or three months, just living with my wife” – and he loved the woman – “will be too much, intolerable.”
I realized his situation and I told him, “Now, you have listened to my first advice which has created the trouble for you; but it has not created the trouble – the trouble was already there. Your businesses were just keeping you occupied so you were not aware of it – now you are aware of it. Now take my other advice: go deeper into it rather than escaping. It is your reality – there is no way to escape from it.
“It is just like your shadow – the faster you run, the faster your shadow runs. Wherever you go, the shadow goes. It is simply stupid to fight with the shadow. Rather, sit silently and let the whole feel of being alone envelop you. In the beginning it may be fearsome. You may feel you are falling into an abysmal depth. It will be dark, and you may feel that it may become darker if you go deeper into it.
“But I say from my own experience that the more you know it, the more you love it. It is your privacy, it is your individuality. It is something which cannot be trespassed by anyone. It is your privilege. And there is nothing wrong in being alone.
“But never use the word lonely because lonely automatically suggests the need for somebody else. Lonely is a sick word. Use the word alone; alone has a health of its own.” I told the man, “And if you can do that then there is no need for any other meditation, this will be your meditation – just be alone. Even in the crowd remember that you are alone, don’t forget it. Your whole life you have tried to forget it; now remember it.”