"Romance is perhaps the most common cover-up for the sense of alienation. If we are lonely, it must make sense that we need a special someone! And so we look for someone to take away that feeling of loneliness. A boyfriend, a girlfriend, a lover, someone, anyone! We have reduced them to a mere cover up for our sorrows – no different from the misuse of alcohol or the noise of our television.
When we are with someone, we can take our mind off that background sense of disharmony. Suddenly, our existence seems to have meaning. “I am not alone!” You exclaim, as you cuddle, hug, and kiss. “I have someone who needs me, who wants me! I am beautiful, I am wanted, I am worthy! I am no longer alone!”
And yet, a mere cover-up is all they will ever be.
If we can never not be alone, what then?
All I can offer is a change of perspective.
Aloneness is beautiful, it is grand. Loneliness is sorrowful, it is despair.
On the surface, they look the same. But in reality, they are worlds apart.
Aloneness is our nature. Loneliness is us running away from it.
You are alone. Why make it into a problem? Relax into your loneliness; into your sadness. Just feel it. Relax into it, and then you’ll find that your sadness has its own sacredness. Being alone is the perfect chance for you to go deeper into yourself. See all your subtleties, face yourself squarely, and gaze at all the parts you don’t want to. Bring it all up into the light of your awareness, and accept them.
Don’t run from your aloneness, for it is always there. Celebrate being alone, delight in yourself, dance in your aloneness. If you can’t, then you will forever be running away. Love yourself. It is the only way.
We go off into the city, into the office, into the nightclubs, to run from our aloneness. The teachers, the gurus, the Zen masters – they go off into the mountains so they can get better acquainted with it.
So what? Then what? Once you delight in yourself, then – and only then – can you truly delight in the other. It’s a paradox, one of the biggest ones in the world. Only when you no longer need a lover; that is when you can find romance. Anything else is a sham, a pale imitation.
A sham. That’s what the entire game of romance is. Who is our “romance” really about? Us, and us alone. We say – I love you. But what we really mean is – Please love me. Manipulation is all it is.
Manipulation to fill our gaps, so we can feel loved, to feel needed. In fact, we have come to confuse the two words – being needed, to us, is the same as being in love!
A friend of mine was complaining to me about something very strange. Her husband had begun to discover the joys of aloneness. He had become meditative, more content and quietly joyful. He loved and laughed when he was with her, but he was also beginning to enjoy his solitary time. He was starting to see that there was nothing lacking, that he no longer needed her to feel complete.
And she began going insane. She became worried; her suspicions began overwhelming her. Why is he so content, so happy? What was he doing in his solitary walks in the park? Is there another woman? She followed him, but he did nothing wrong – he just walked.
“Why?” she wailed. “What is going on?” Why was she upset? That would be a better question.
Neediness is so common that we think it’s a sign of romantic love. But neediness is simply that – neediness. And this need will never be satisfied, for nobody – no matter how sweet, handsome, beautiful, gentle, extravagant, and attentive – can ever love your ego the way it wants to be loved.
At most, you will be satisfied for a period of time – the “honeymoon” phase, when you are “in love”, when everything seems perfect and beautiful. Your existence seems to have meaning, for someone needs you and loves you.
Then one day your needs and insecurities – all symptoms of the basic, primordial sense of fragmentation – raise their heads again. Or maybe it just seems that way – they had always been there, we just forgot about them for a while. And that’s when the arguments start, for we think it is the fault of the other person.
But it is not their fault. No one can take away our primordial sense of separation except us. But we don’t know that, and so we go on complaining and pulling strings. We forget that the only way to be satisfied is to be satisfied in yourself.
Lonely people cannot Love; they can only pretend to, for they have nothing to give. They only give a plastic love, in the hope that someone will give real Love in return. Everything becomes a giant game; a chess match.
But when you no longer need to be needed, when you truly stop wanting to be wanted, that’s when your loneliness changes into aloneness. And you begin to see Love."