Personal Growth - Alone In The Crowd
by Shri T.T Rangarajan
All our unhappiness comes from our inability to be alone. The truth is, even if you can feel one with everybody, you are not a part of anybody. Truly happy is he who is alone and yet feels complete by himself.
If you have to tread the unknown, you have to go alone. To be a rebel, a revolutionary, you have to stand alone. If you desire to be a Numero Uno, you have to run alone. If you want to reach where no one has reached, if you want to do what no one else has done, then you have to learn to walk alone in a crowd.
A million incomplete people can come together and they will still be incomplete. And those million incomplete people, in the presence of one complete person, will all feel complete. A million unlit candles and still darkness prevails. All that is needed is one candle with light. Not only will darkness be dispelled, but all the million candles will come to light.
Half and half cannot come together to feel full. They will only make two halves. That's why when two incomplete people get married believing that they can be each other's better half, they continue to struggle with perpetual incompleteness in that marriage. That's why when two incomplete people come together in business (part ownership) they soon part. As long as you need the other to complete you, there will be struggle. Only when you become one who can complete the other, will there be flow in your life.
Shri TT Rangarajan, a Chennai-based spiritual teacher is
the founder of Alma Mater, which is responsible for the
transformations of innumerable people and organisations.
Hear his keynote address at the Life Positive Expo 2011.
Shri Rangarajan will discourse on
Prem, Sat, Chit, and Ananda. Simply put, you have to rise from being dependent to becoming dependable.
The journey of life
Life is like an eternal train journey. In one of the stations, you get in. That's your birth. You join the journey and start connecting with others in the compartment. They become your relatives. In some of the future stations a few will depart from the compartment, as well as the journey. You may mourn their exit. In certain other stations a few will join the compartment. You will celebrate their arrival.
Some will go away from your compartment to other compartments, and some from the other compartments will come over to your compartment. Relationships will be lost and relationships will be gained. Addition and subtraction are inherent in this journey. And your time will come to leave the compartment, and thus the journey. That will be your death. But the train journey will continue. It was there before you joined the train. It will continue much after you leave the train. The journey is eternal and you are an ephemeral part of it. You came alone. And, you will leave alone. In between, you will want them all to be a part of you, and that will be your struggle.
A struggle because, no matter how many you surround yourself with, there is a part in you which will always be alone. In that aloneness is your completeness. But you don't want to accept that aloneness. You resist that aloneness. You try to avoid that aloneness. You want to run away from that aloneness and that's your struggle. By detesting that aloneness you move away from that completeness and feel incomplete.
On your own
In the womb you were alone. No matter how loving your mother is, no matter how competent the gynaecologist was, no matter how many participated in the process of your birth, still you fought the passage of your birth alone. Many may run to feed you, but in your hunger you are alone. When you struggled for your first meaningful word, everybody around would have prompted you and yet you were alone in attempting to articulate it.
Even though everybody around you may have said, “We are there for you,” in your fears you were alone. When you had dared to face the situation, it didn't matter who was there and who wasn't, you were alone in your courage. Even if everybody surrounds you, right now, in reading and comprehending this piece of my writing you are alone. Many would be a source of your joy, but your smile has to emanate from your aloneness. Many will come forward to wipe your tears, but your tears originate from your aloneness. In the womb, in the tomb, and in between, you are alone. You resist it, you deny it, you try to avoid it, and you struggle with it; but nothing changes the truth. A part of you is, was and will always be alone.
Life should be a flow. It shouldn't be a struggle. It needn't be a struggle. But why do so many struggle? There must be a way out. There is always a way out. What's the way?
First step is acceptance
The truths you resist are the battles you fight. When you accept the truth there is nothing to fight. Accept the truth. Accept the design. Accept the reality. Accept your aloneness. Whether you like it or not, the fact remains the skies are blue, the ocean is deep, there is death, there is no rewind to life, that's your mother, and this is your body in this lifetime. These are empirical realities and you cannot wish them to be otherwise. Deep within you are alone. That's it. Accept it. To start with, it will not be an experiential acceptance, but to begin with, let it be an intellectual acceptance.
Second step is to practice conscious aloneness
Dalai Lama suggests, “Spend sometime alone everyday.” Blaise Pascal declared, “All men's miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone.” And, Franz Kafka prophesied, “It is not necessary that you leave the house. Remain at your table and listen. Do not even listen, only wait. Do not even wait, be wholly still and alone. The world will present itself to you for its unmasking. It can do no other; in ecstasy it will writhe at your feet.” Trust these wise men.
Practice conscious aloneness everyday. For some time, on a daily basis, withdraw yourself from all external stimulations. Learn to be with yourself, just yourself. Listen to music. Practice gardening. Walk through nature. Gaze at the stars. Sit beside the waves. Sit in a park and just observe the dynamics around. Essentially, practise activities where you cannot expect anything in return.
Third step is to go into relationships looking at what you can give, and not what you can receive.
Start with one relationship. Be an active giver in this one relationship. Do not develop any emotional dependency on this one relationship. Be aware. Never expect any reciprocation from this one relationship. In this one relationship alone, always strive to complete the other and never expect the other to complete you. Whatever be your emotional needs, satiate those needs from the other relationships. This relationship is your aloneness-laboratory. In your serving it, it is serving you a purpose. Eventually you will achieve a transcendental flow in this one relationship. Even instinctively, you will no more seek anything from this one relationship and yet you will find immense fulfilment in being a giver in this relationship. Now take up one more relationship, then another, after that one more. One relationship at a time, build a small world around you that feels complete with your presence. Be dependable. And, yet, never need that world for you to feel complete. Do not become dependent.
Physically, you are the crowd. That's why you are always lost in the crowd, always feeling incomplete. Rise above that. Psychologically, you are a part of the crowd. That's why you always seek the crowd, craving to feel complete with other's help. Rise above that. Spiritually, you are apart from the crowd. You walk with the crowd, and yet you are above the crowd. Everybody needs the sun. The sun needs none.
And, when you completely get in touch with your aloneness and you are absolutely peaceful in that state of aloneness, for the first time you experientially realise the existential truth: You are never alone. You feel the presence. You have nothing else to attain, for, It has attained you.
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