The first question:
never been on the “inside,”
never felt “at one” with another,
why such a loner all my life?
Life is a mystery, but you can reduce it to a problem. And once you make a mystery a problem you will be in difficulty, because there can be no solution to it. A mystery remains a mystery; it is insoluble – that’s why it is called a mystery. Life is not a problem.
And that is one of the most basic mistakes we all go on committing: we immediately put a question mark. And if you put a question mark on a mystery you will be searching for the answer your whole life and you will not find it, and naturally it brings great frustration.
My observation of you is that you are a born meditator. Rather than making it a problem, rejoice! Not to belong is one of the greatest experiences of life. To be utterly an outsider, never feeling to be a part anywhere, is a great experience of transcendence.
An American tourist went to see a Sufi master. For many years he had heard about him, had fallen in deep love with his words, his message. Finally he decided to go to see him. When he entered his room he was surprised – it was an utterly empty room. The master was sitting; there was no furniture at all. The American could not conceive of a living space without any furniture. He immediately asked, “Where is your furniture, sir?”
And the old Sufi laughed and he said, “And where is yours?”
And the American said, “Of course I am a tourist here. I cannot go on carrying my furniture.”
And the old man said, “So am I a tourist for only just a few days and then I will be gone, just as you will be gone.”
This world is just a pilgrimage – of great significance, but not a place to belong to, not a place to become part of. Remain a lotus leaf, as Kabir says.
This is one of the calamities that has happened to the human mind: we make a problem out of everything. Now this should be something of immense joy to you. Don’t call yourself a “loner.” You are using a wrong word, because the very word connotes some condemnation. You are alone, and the word alone has great beauty. You are not even lonely. To be lonely means you are in need of the other; to be alone means you are utterly rooted in yourself, centered in yourself. You are enough unto yourself.