The Silence of Aloneness

Osho on Aloneness



 Deva Maya, you do not understand me at all. It is not a question of understanding right or wrong — you don’t understand me at all. I have NOT told you that a sannyasin has to be ready to live a lonely life. What I had told you was: a sannyasin knows how to live alone. And to be lonely is totally different from being alone. Not only different, they are opposites. They are as far away from each other as the sky and the earth; the distance is infinite between them. To be lonely means a negative state: you are hankering for the other, you are longing for company, you are missing the crowd. You cannot tolerate yourself; you feel yourself intolerable. You are bored with yourself — that’s what being lonely means — utterly bored.

To be alone is totally different: it is utterly ecstatic. To be alone means a positive state. You are not missing the other, you are enjoying yourself. You are not bored by yourself, you are intrigued. A great challenge comes from your innermost core. You start a journey of interiority. When there are others you are occupied with them, your consciousness remains focused on them. When you are alone, your consciousness moves inwards. When you are with others you have to be an extrovert — your consciousness turning upon itself, showering upon itself. When you are with others your light shows their faces; when you are alone your light shows your own original face.

Maya, you have not understood me. I had not told you that to be a sannyasin means “to be ready to live a very lonely life.” From where did you get this idea of living a very lonely life?

Certainly one has to be able to live alone, but to live alone does not mean that you cannot relate; on the contrary, a man who can live alone becomes so full of joy, becomes so brimful, that he HAS to relate. He becomes a raincloud — he has to shower. He becomes a flower so full of fragrance that he has to open its petals and allow its fragrance to be released to the winds.

A person who knows how to be alone becomes so full of song that he has to sing it. And where can you sing a song? You can sing a song only in love, in relating, in sharing with people. But you can share only if you have in the first place.

The problem is that people don’t have any joy in their being and they are bent upon sharing it. Now, two miserable people bent upon sharing their joys with each other — what is going to happen? The misery will not be doubled, it will be multiplied. That’s what people are doing to each other: husbands to wives and wives to husbands, and parents to children and children to parents, and friends to friends. In fact enemies are not so inimical as friends prove finally: torturing each other, unloading their miseries on each other, throwing their dirt on each other. They are stinking — what can they do? When they come close to you, you have to suffer their stink. And you have to suffer if you want them to suffer YOUR stink. So it is a bargain. You cannot live alone, they cannot live alone — you have to be together. Even if it stinks, at least there is the consolation that “I am not alone.”

A man who knows how to be alone knows how to be meditative. Aloneness means meditation — just relishing your own being, celebrating your own being.

Walt Whitman says:

I celebrate myself, I sing myself. That is aloneness.

This man Whitman is really a mystic, not just a poet. He should be counted with the ancient RISHIS of the Upanishads. America has not given birth to many great mystics; Whitman is really one of the most precious gifts of America to the world. He says: I celebrate myself, I sing myself. That’s what a mystic has always been supposed to do, that’s what a mystic’s function is: to celebrate himself. But how will you celebrate? You will have to invite others. You will have to ask others to come and participate.

Meditation gives you the insight of your own inner treasure, and in love you share it. That’s what I mean when I say that a sannyasin has to be ready to be alone — so that one day he can be ready to love. Only a man who knows the beauties of solitude can love.

But just a slight difference and you can miss the whole point. Now, the difference between aloneness and loneliness is not much; as far as language is concerned there is no difference at all, they are synonyms. In the dictionaries you will find aloneness described as loneliness, loneliness as aloneness — but that is only in the dictionaries, not in life itself. In life itself it is totally different.

Don’t live through language, don’t become too much obsessed with language, because language is only utilitarian. It can mislead you — it misleads. It can’t help it; it has been invented by people who know nothing. I am saying “aloneness” and your mind hears “loneliness.” Once you translate aloneness as loneliness you are millions of miles away — not only miles but millions of light-years away from me…You change that word ‘loneliness’; drop it completely from your mind. Learn what aloneness is — and aloneness is a beautiful phenomenon, the most beautiful. Then my presence will not disturb your aloneness, my presence will enhance it. My presence, my remembrance, feeling me around yourself, engulfing you, will enhance it, will make it richer, will make it more crystal-clear. And not only my presence but the presence of my sannyasins will also be absolutely non-disturbing to aloneness.

In fact, aloneness cannot be disturbed at all. It is such a crystallized state of consciousness, nothing can distract you away from it, and everything helps to make it stronger. Have you watched this paradoxical phenomenon? For example, right now we are sitting here in silence… the chirping of the birds — is it disturbing the silence or enriching it? The crow — is he disturbing your silence, or helping and giving it a contrast? If you are really silent, then even in the marketplace you will be surprised that your silence deepens. If your silence is disturbed by the marketplace, that simply means it was not silence in the first place. It was just forced, cultivated, practiced, plastic — it was not true. If true silence is there, nothing can disturb it. Each disturbance comes to enhance it. It is like in a dark night you are walking on a street and a car passes by with full headlights on. For a moment you are dazed by the light, and then the car is gone by. Do you think the darkness is less than before? It is deeper than before, it is denser than before. The car and its headlights have not disturbed it at all; rather, they helped tremendously.

And this is how it is with aloneness: your aloneness will not be disturbed by the commune, and certainly not by me — because I am not a noise. I am a melody, a music — a music that cannot be heard by the ears but can only be heard by the heart. It is good that you have started feeling me. It is good that you say, “Since I am a sannyasin I feel that I can’t be lonely anymore, as You are always around.” Yes, you cannot be lonely anymore, but you will be more alone now that I am always with you. And

aloneness is a precious treasure, the door to the kingdom of God.

But forget that word ‘loneliness’; it is ugly, it is pathological.

And a man who seeks friendship, love, companionship, out of loneliness is not going to find it. In fact, with whomsoever he will associate he will feel cheated and he will make the other feel cheated. He will feel tired and bored, and he will make the other feel tired and bored. He will feel sucked and he will make the other feel sucked, because both will be sucking on each other’s energies. And they don’t have much in the first place. Their streams are running very thin; they are like summer streams in a desertland. You cannot take any water out of them. But if you seek friendship and love and companionship out of aloneness, you are a flooded river, a river in the rains. You can share as much as you want. And the more you share, the more you will have.

This is the inner economics: the more you give, the more you get from God. Once you have known the knack of it you become a spendthrift, you are no longer a miser.

A spiritual person cannot be a miser, and a miser cannot be a spiritual person.


This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall,

Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune.

Discourse series: The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol 3

Chapter #1

Chapter title: Knowledge is not knowledge

11 August 1979 am in Buddha Hall


Osho has spoken on ‘Innocence, wisdom, maturity, meditation, aloneness, courage, enlightenment, consciousness, transformation’ in many of His discourses. More on the subject can be referred to in the following books/discourses:

  1. Beyond Enlightenment
  2. The Book of Wisdom
  3. The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha
  4. I Say Unto You
  5. No Water, No Moon
  6. The Messiah
  7. The Rebel
  8. Sufis: The People of the Path
  9. Tao: The Golden Gate
  10. Vigyan Bhairav Tantra
  11. Zarathustra: The Laughing Prophet
  12. The New Dawn
  13. The Path of the Mystic
  14. Walking in Zen, Sitting in Zen
  15. Beyond Psychology
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