“We find it difficult to be alone without any activity. It means it is not easy to tolerate our consciousness. Different types of entertainment are designed to enable us to escape from ourselves.” – Nisargadatta Maharaj
Have you ever wondered why you sometimes feel lonely or isolated, even in a group of familiar people? And then, paradoxically, why is time alone sometimes fulfilling and nurturing? Have you asked yourself: why am I so lonely?
When you mindfully consider it, do you find that everything beyond your skin is “other”? Are you limited to your private world and confined by your body? Is individuality a barrier? Can individuals really “touch” one another?
Can you remember the last time you felt at one with life? What were you doing? What was your quality of Being?
I’ve realized that loneliness, isolation, and anxiety are not as clear-cut as they first seem. Their roots go far deeper than merely having too much stress or not enough social contact. Alternatively, realizing our aloneness can be a catalyst to reflect, to meet and understand ourselves, not just as a person, but as a seamless part of life itself.
In my non-duality book, ‘Living The Life That You Are’, I point to the reality that we’re ultimately not individuals but expressions of the One Life, and as such, unified with wholeness. Aloneness is synonymous with oneness. Aloneness is not merely a social predicament. It is our essential nature. What’s more, it’s a nature from which we are estranged.
Fundamentally, the root of suffering is our perceived separateness from life, which means that we experience life through the eyes of duality rather than from a non-dual perspective. It’s our sense of disconnection that triggers this outward seeking. This agitated neediness only creates more division and suffering, bearing little fruit. When we’re outsiders trying to get into a contradictory world that refuses to meet our desires, we start to feel existentially anxious. We might start asking big questions like “Who am I?” Far from being a disaster or something to fear, this is the start of radically mindful inquiry which calls for courage and earnest questioning.
By making friends with my yearning for wholeness and learning to inquire into the nature of myself and the world with greater focus and discernment, it became apparent that what I had been searching for was Self- intimacy. Reexamining separateness is the heart of this book— it is a journey of discovery that I am sharing here, in these pages. We won’t just focus on loneliness and isolation, but they are relevant experiences to explore because our encompassing sense of separateness has a powerful influence on our daily lives.
This nonduality book, ‘Living The Life That You Are’, uses offers an informal and playful Self-remembrance approach, an approach which gradually presented itself to me on my bittersweet journey. Additionally, I’ll give you practical, simple meditative inquiries designed to bring greater clarity. I call this approach “radical mindfulness”, which is nothing other than the readiness to , observe, acknowledge, and question our experience without censorship.
Mindfulness means to focus Awareness onto what’s taking place in the present moment. Non-duality is a way of seeing life that is free of limitation and separateness. I invite you to question everything, not necessarily to gain more answers but to release your assumptions. Radical mindfulness will help bring you back to your essential Aliveness, to true connection, a deeper knowing. Radical mindfulness, instead, is the way to Self-intimacy— locating and continually returning to our Aliveness and our shared radical aloneness, the loving oneness of life, which unveils the indescribable non-dual Source that we are.
This is true mindfulness: the art of Seeing beyond the mind (duality) to fullness (non-duality—which is so full, so all- inclusive it’s also empty because it’s All There Is). As we experientially assimilate the viewpoint of life seen from Deep Knowing and realize the essential perfection of every form and expression, we unite with and communicate that truth.
In this nonduality book we’ll investigate loneliness with fresh eyes and consider a new, radical perspective of aloneness. We look more at our apparent separateness, and I introduce the various “modes of life” I’ll be referring to. We see how through “restless inadvertence”— the state of being switched on mentally but switched off spiritually— we’ve become seemingly cut off from life. Finally, we inquire into key aspects of our suffering: desire and fear, and we explore how imagination shapes our perspective of life. Because of desire and fear, which we’ll explore in detail, we misconstrue aloneness as loneliness. Existence gets distorted by concepts and projections and from these springs the cycle of desire and fear: solitary confinement by way of an obscured lens. But if we’re mindful and examine it in depth, aloneness can also be experienced as a capacity that’s full of possibility, not a deficit in need of repair.
I invite you to take a deeper look at anxiety and loneliness, and begin to encounter our essential Aliveness or Beingness. Finally, we explore the various aspects of radical mindfulness— the art of seeing ourselves with eyes of clarity and compassion as the One Life. I offer a set of mindfulness and inquiry qualities and skills for a more discerning focus, which I’ve arranged by the mnemonic acronym SEER CRAFTS:
Embracing and releasing experience
Receptiveness to truth
Remembrance of Self
Fullness and emptiness
In the book we’ll explore our natural unity (or as Nisargadatta Maharaj puts it ‘Nisarga Yoga’) with life in which we are deeply connected and harmonized with everything. We then get more of a handle on what it means to be radically alone and how this kind of aloneness is synonymous, not with isolation, but with oneness. Lastly, we discover that the final step beyond oneness is “Deep Knowing”— a profound, yet ordinary meeting with our indescribable, unlimited, eternal Self.
When you inquire into your constructed world, not taking it as absolute truth, you’ll see that it’s an illusory sphere through which you filter your private and public experience. Let’s explore the potential of focus as a way to meet the dilemma of loneliness and aloneness. Specifically, we’ll inquire how, as mortal islands floating in apparent isolation, we can shift our Awareness to the universal life. This is the heartbeat of authentic connection.
We can reconnect with and give attention to ourselves wherever we are and whoever we’re with. We’re not deficient in any way whatsoever, so there’s no need to seek beyond ourselves— equality is the supreme order of things. This self- intimacy can be transformative. It’s this phenomenon which opened my eyes to there being another, more profound way of looking at loneliness, isolation, aloneness, and our deeper existence.
My nonduality books invite you to come to know yourself as inherently complete and flawlessly connected with your Source. Through radical mindfulness, you’ll embrace a wider perspective by shifting and broadening your focus.