Why aloneness on the spiritual path is a blessing
Spiritual Awakening and Aloneness
I was inspired to write another article on aloneness on the spiritual path in response to someone who read one of my old articles “Spiritual Awakening and Aloneness”.
The reader commented and asked:
“Oh am I experiencing this right now big time. Can you explain what you mean that it’s a blessing getting to be alone. I do understand what you mean about things and people not distracting me. I miss having a boyfriend though. And I miss having a group of friends to do things with.”
Here’s my reply:
If you’re in the awakening process, then part of the path will involve solitude and aloneness, sometimes for years at a time.
Most people, if not all, go through periods of aloneness and the less you resist this, the smoother your life goes.
You will either be pulled there because you voluntarily seek it, or you will be put there and resist it, but being alone is part of the process of awakening.
And the ego will most probably have fits and temper tantrums about it because it doesn’t like it at all.
It will most probably go into poor-me mode at times, it will pity itself, curse the day it ventured on the spiritual path and sometimes even threaten to end its life.
The ego does not like being alone, or in solitude.
It craves distraction and entertainment, noise, doingness etc, and being alone can trigger all kinds of ego responses such as feeling sorry for yourself, being angry, feeling abandoned, and so on.
You will most probably go through many times where you feel like you’re the only one in this world that is alone, that everybody else gets to have fun and live happily ever after but not you.
No, you ‘God is punishing and holding back’, keeping you in suffering, and you feel hindered in your attempts to make your life work.
That’s what the ego feels, so there can be huge resistance to the aloneness the spiritual path sometimes requires.
But once you have the awareness needed to see the blessing in it everything changes, and you learn to use the time in solitude constructively.
That’s when things shift for the better and as you grow and evolve you begin to make the very best of where you are.
The ego craves company while spirit wants to connect in solitude.
When you begin to come into a higher knowing of yourself, when you begin to connect deeply with Truth, the need for distractions naturally start to fall away and even the will to be social or engage in the outer life is just not going to be there anymore for a while.
Instead you begin to enjoy being with yourself, in nature, and in solitude.
This is one of the blessings because once you come to this place in your process, other things will open up and follow.
But as long as the resistance is there, or the wish to not go into aloneness, you will feel as if life is working against you.
Once the blessing is seen though, that’s when you can begin to use it to your advantage, and that is a blessing in itself.
Very few people have the courage, the stamina and the dedication to continue following the path when the call for aloneness sets in.
It’s a path of aloneness because it’s a path that can’t be followed.
It’s easy to follow a religion or a spiritual path that many pursue because there’s a sense of safety of the group and where you feel you ‘belong’ so you won’t be alone, but spiritual awakening is the awakening from all belief-systems and all the gods.
And when these things start to fall away and you get stripped down and naked, you realize that you no longer can relate to what others call “spirituality”, and you’ll find that there’s nothing to talk about with others because they all live according to beliefs that you can’t relate to anymore.
For example the belief that there’s a right and wrong way for you to live, that one way is better, or more “pure” or more “spiritual” or “divine”, than the path that you’re on.
You come to realize that spiritual awakening is not really spiritual, so all that falls away and for many on the spiritual path this eventually leads to the feeling of not belonging anywhere anymore.
For someone with no awareness of how the process unfolds, they simply fail to endure the time of loneliness that is almost mandatory.
The separation from one’s usual social life and connectedness with other people when you go through a spiritual awakening process and the transformation that needs to happen is just too unbearable for the ego to take.
Very few go all the way, but for those who do go through it all, they are the ones that eventually become free.
In your time of solitude you will realize and discover many things.
One of the things you’ll discover is that the spiritual path is not for the meek or faint-hearted.
You will have to be willing to give up all illusion and attachments so sometimes there’s times of severe, hellish turmoil and turbulence.
And it’s not even about that; it’s not about your willingness in that sense, it’s more about an acceptance that this is the way it goes.
Your willingness is really of no concern when it comes to Truth, it will take you on the path whether you like it or not.
The acceptance is for you, not for Truth, it doesn’t need it.
If you go ‘willingly’ the path becomes easier of course, but it’s more about surrendering and letting go completely into the process where even the one who is ‘willing’ is let go of.
In the process you will learn a lot about who your are not, which is the greatest teaching there is, and you will learn about trust, about love in its truest form, and about commitment.
The commitment you have to the path (that is only shown to you one step at a time) gives you freedom because you’re no longer distracted by the things that are not relevant to your current growth process.
Such as boyfriends, girlfriends, and other friends.
Sometimes a person comes into your life, it can be a brief encounter and you learn or receive something from them, but you can forget about permanence in this phase of your process.
There will be an in and out flow of people during this time, a friend or some kind of company appears here and there (many times in the form of pets and animals), and teachings and teachers emerge only to leave again quite quickly (and sometimes come back again).
You might be drawn to a mentor, or a specific book, situation and so on, all which is there to help you progress, but you will come to see that none of them will stay or become permanent in your life.
For the time being you’re on your own and that’s the way it goes.
Being committed and dedicated to Truth is what will drive you forward.
Not to what the ego wants, but what Truth wants from you, and what wants to come through you.
The dedication you have to this path is what gives you freedom because it hones your attention and focus inwards, directing it toward what is most essential in you, which is Truth itself.
So in your aloneness, stay in the moment, appreciate what you have, offer no resistance, and accept responsibility to do your part; do whatever is shown to you and walk into the unknown, from one moment to the next.
Flow with life and do the inner work.
This is what the time of aloneness calls for:
Go for long walks, read, listen to lectures and other audios, do whatever inner work you’re guided to do.
In other words; use your time wisely.
Get to know yourself deeply.
Be quiet, listen.
Feel deeply and honesty.
Put your attention inwards, to the things that matter the most.
Welcome feelings, thoughts, experiences, revelations, insights, inspiration, crying, venting, feeling alone and miserable.
Allow Truth to unravel and strip you to the bare bones until you become completely naked and yes, alone.
Before this happens though, you will try probably everything.
You will do everything until there’s nothing more to do.
When every technique, teaching, and tool has been used and executed and you’re completely empty and exhausted, that’s when true spiritual transformation and shifts can happen.
It can be a long road before someone gets there, and some won’t even get that far because the journey is full of challenges, setbacks, and blockages where nothing you do or try is working (not for long anyway).
The spiritual awakening process is a relentless undoing of the ego and this includes periods where you feel alone and disconnected from the rest of the world.
If you find yourself secluded and isolated in life, make the best of it and realize that it is a blessing in disguise.
It’s a blessing because even though there might be nothing that you want more than deep intimate connections with others, the most important connection you must make now is the one you have with yourself, with Life.
It’s a transitional phase, although it can last for many years (not that it has to), but it’s an important one because you’re transitioning from the false self to the Truth of your nature.
The truth is, that if you met someone now, they would fall in love with your ego and you in theirs.
It’s even difficult to have friends in this transitional phase because of the fundamental transformation you’re going through (the person who is in a spiritual awakening process that is as I don’t know you personally).
This stage of your awakening process is an important one and a time where you really get to know who you are/who you are not and find out what is true and real versus false.
Sometimes it’s necessary to be alone and stay away from people and activities (such as “having fun with friends” etc) until you connect to the inner part of yourself, which is where the Truth of your being flows from.
It’s in the aloneness that you’re called to face your demons, your fears, your pain and suffering, and also to realize that none of those things are about who you really are.
You are not the one with the inner demons, fear and pain and suffering but that’s a discovery you have to make for yourself when you’re alone with yourself.
The time will come when it’s time to participate in the world again.
Until that time comes, your only focus should be on You and what Life asks you to do and being attentive to the instructions you receive.
One day everything will make so much more sense, that’s all I can say and promise you.
I promise you that your time of isolation, being secluded and alone, is a blessing.
As you grow spiritually you will come to see that aloneness was one of the most rewarding experiences of your life and you will then be able to look back with gratitude and even awe.
Or, you can of course bemoan your isolation and feeling of loneliness, and remain unsatisfied, stuck and stagnated and feel even more estranged when you seek the company of other people because it’s not you who seeks it, but your ego.
The way you feel this is that interacting with others feels more and more ‘unnatural’, as if you have to force yourself to engage in social events and be with others.
This is when you eventually surrender to the path and seek out solitude yourself.
Now the real work can begin.
Finally Life got you where it wanted you; in your aloneness.
So either you surrender to it right away or you go through a period of resistance and eventually come to see that you’re going there anyway so you do it “willingly”.
Soon enough you will be ready to integrate the “new” you back into the world and society, but until that happens:
Work on yourself (do self-inquiry), get to know yourself, and focus on the things that Life puts before you.
The existential emptiness cannot be solved or filled by anything ‘out there’.
The desire of wanting a partner can creep up and presents itself as the solution to your aloneness and emptiness and the ego might cry out in sorrow because of ‘lost life’.
Of agony of not getting this or that, and where it’s full of frustration and resentment.
And this is all about the ego trying to fix itself back to the former life where it at least had something, even if it was unsatisfying.
You simply can’t go back because it’s too painful, even more so when you’ve outgrown pretty much everything, even the things you once were intensely passionate about.
So when you let go of the life you thought you wanted and instead want the life that is meant for you, the path will become more enjoyable for you.
The deeper you go within and surrender, the more your feeling of loneliness decreases.
But without this awareness, many people become depressed and find life meaningless and empty because they feel so alone and they don’t know how to handle it.
Many try to avoid the aloneness by overeating, smoking weed, watching a lot of TV, being on Facebook hours and hours every day, going to bars, having meaningless sex with people they don’t even like, and so on.
All in an attempt to try to fill the void of loneliness and emptiness.
They may feel intuitively that they’re going through something and that a change is taking place but they don’t have the awareness of exactly what is taking place so the ego avoids it because it’s the unknown.
In your aloneness you’re being undone so that Truth can come forth through you.
You don’t have to feel alone in this phase of the journey.
First of all; Truth has your back, always, and in all ways. Always remember this.
When you really feel this in your heart, all the frustration and sorrow you once felt will transform into a sense of protection and trust, and all the miracles you experience, and all the epiphanies, insights and mystical experiences you have along the way, will help you to understand your journey more and more.
As the separations to others increase, so does the connectedness to yourself, or Truth.
The phase of aloneness is really an opportunity to come to silence, stillness, and the spaciousness of Life itself.
Nothing more will be needed.
Gurus and teachers will eventually fade and drop away.
All the books that has been read, techniques implemented and tools used, it will all be gone.
Nothing left to do, nowhere to go, and you’re all alone.
The degree of the ‘loneliness’ that you feel depends on how much you resist the process and how sincere your surrendering is.
The more you allow yourself to go into aloneness, the less threatened you will feel about it.
It’s a matter of stepping into the unknown yet again, as you’ve probably (hopefully!) done so many times before on this path.
It’s always about letting go of control and of attachment to how you want things to be and unfold.
Be willing to explore the aloneness, give it room to move within you, breathe into it, and just simply be with it and see what happens when you do.
And though you may be alone, you will never be lonely, for as I said; Truth will have your back, always and in all ways.
Let yourself be emptied out so that Life/Truth can fill you up.
And get to know the ego (most importantly!), how it operated and works in your life because even if it may be a sincere surrender on your part, your old self (the ego) isn’t entirely gone in one go;
There is yet more of it to surrender because its a master in adapting to and hijacking consciousness.
Trust that you will be ready for the world again at some point and that new relationships and friends will come into your life.
They will be different from the ones you think you want at this time though.
Just as the outer universe is expanding, so is the inner, and eventually it will reach climax and begin to collapse unto itself like a reverse big bang.
And then, when you again come into this world, you will have been born again but it’s not like you’ve built up a new life (“you” will not build up anything, but the ego will make many attempts and succeed many times too).
The old life is being destructed and in the new construction that arises, the hammer must fall on the ego first.
The ego cannot see itself, it’s unaware of itself and to see this is an essential part of the journey, you simply can’t progress without going through this process first.
Begin by looking at who it is that is yearning for company, see clearly the one who yearns for the company of lovers and friends and you’ve just opened the door to the next phase of your life.
Focus on yourself, that’s what this phase is for.
I shared a lot during the 5 years or so when I was isolated in Norway here on my website so you can go back in the archives (see sidebar) to find the articles and read them.
And even though it was hellish at times, I also experienced the most beautiful periods of bliss, love, joy, peace and so much more while there, in my aloneness.
It was a huge blessing for me, although I didn’t recognize it immediately and in the beginning there were times when I felt resentment, resistance and sadness about it.
Eventually it all leads to letting go of pretty much everything.
The spiritual awakening process is not a straight line, there are many cycles, many phases along the way, and the key is to be fully present in the now, wherever and however you find yourself, so make the most of your aloneness and keep moving forward.
One thing is sure; your life will not look remotely the same as it did when you first ventured out on the spiritual path with all the childish desires and wishes of the ego (as we’ve all had).
Not only will the inner you unravel, but you might also find yourself physically on a different path that you could never had imagined for yourself.
You might end up traveling the world even though you think it’s financially impossible for you to do so, because Life, or the universe, has other plans for you and will take you exactly where you need to be and go.
You might move to a different city or country,
.. realize a talent/gift/ability you didn’t know you had before,
or change job/career.. etc.
So many things can and will happen, you have no idea!
Being alone teaches you to not only come to know and love yourself, but to love Life itself, and even if you now feel that it’s the toughest thing to be alone, you will also come to know that it’s the most rewarding thing too.
So during this time, invest in yourself, heal (although healing comes before the awakening process), let go, and grow, and you will soon find that the path that once felt dark and rocky has turned into a path of light where your communication with Life becomes increasingly more clear and then you can never feel lonely again, ever.
Hope you enjoyed this article and found it helpful.
It can be enormously helpful to have a mentor that can help guide you through the ups and downs of the spiritual path:
More articles about aloneness:
“So I’m in Hawaii and the loneliness I have is really painful.
I haven’t really been by myself… Ever.
Is this normal? Feeling lonely? I find myself getting emotional to the point of weeping, while at work.
I know this will pass, but it still hurts. Any suggestions???”
My reply: “About Loneliness On The Spiritual Path“
“I don’t know if I am awakening or not but I am so lost.
I feel so apathetic about life, it scares me I have become so uncaring. I just want to be by myself, I can’t love my family or dogs like I use to.
I am not depressed, I have been there too. I just feel empty inside.
I want to quit my job and just hide.
I can’t talk to anyone. I meditate, I pray, yet no changes.
I feel alone and just want it all to be over.
I am always seeking, reading, researching hoping to find someone to help me.
I have surrendered but still I am lost. What do I do? Thanks.”
I’m in a process of transformation and I have a question I’d like to ask you.
At times I feel so alone on this journey because there are very few people who understand me or where I’m coming from.
This causes me to feel extreme loneliness and depression at times.
I’m not sure how to handle these feelings. I don’t live in a place where I can simply go out and meet like minded people.
To be honest I feel like an outcast and what’s worse is I feel it is my own doing.
Can you relate to any of this?
Any advice would be so appreciated.”
My reply: “Feeling Lonely On The Spiritual Journey”
“In the process of spiritual awakening there comes a time when the interest in other people vanishes and interacting with others comes to a stop, and we spend more and more time in solitude and aloneness (not loneliness).
For the mind this can be very disturbing so to trust the process and not worry when the mind projects and imagines it all going to a ‘bad place’ is vital.
The ego is crumbling and with it goes all interactions and companions that are not in alignment with Spirit and sometimes that can even be people that we thought were close to us.
We lose interest in chit-chatting, noisy environments where..”
Continue reading here: “A New Way of Interacting is Being Born“
“The post on solitude and aloneness describes myself and I feel more aware and conscious of my current situation.
I’m more aware of things and see life from another perspective or perceive things different than most people.
I feel disconnected from people because I chose a path of spirituality and I live life so different than most people, I don’t watch TV or listen to radio, I eat very healthy, I meditate every day, run 20 miles a week.
My question is: Am I out of touch or is it the other ones that are out of touch?
People like to hear things I said and many talk about it, but not many walk the talk.
What are your thoughts?”
“A commitment to Truth can for some people mean they have to spend some time alone, or even feel isolated from the world for a while and sometimes all friends and even family may be moving away from them, or fall away.
That has been my own experience many times throughout my life, in different phases of my life.
Some of them were obvious choices, like when I stopped doing drugs, obviously I had to let go of my old friends, so there were times when I was all alone and I had to learn how to move and be in the “real world” again all by myself.
I have always been blessed with..”
Continue reading here: “You Have To Be Willing To Be Alone (Dedicated to Truth)“
“Thank you so much for your site, I have resonated with so many articles you have written.
I believe I am on the brink of a spiritual awakening.
I can’t really put into words exactly why I believe this, other than my quest in recent months to unveil the Truth which has been interspersed with moments of clarity and peace as the ego makes way for reality.
Unfortunately, however, these moments seem much less frequent than the intense suffering I have been experiencing, including anxiety, panic attacks, intrusive thoughts which come with alarming bodily sensations and fitful sleep at night coupled with exhaustion during the day.
I rarely sleep through the night and worry a lot during the day about getting sufficient rest to be able to function in my job and relationships.
I very much want to get to the other side of this process, for stillness and silence to be my resting state rather than the constant chatter of the ego, and to be completely free of the anxiety that seems to have a grip on me.
I feel so exhausted today that I have kind of resigned myself to whatever happens.
If I should die, so be it, I have no desire to continue living in this state of mind.
I want rest, peace, happiness and the joy I am told is my birthright but they seem so elusive.
When will this suffering end?”
Here is my reply: “When will the agonizing process of spiritual awakening end?“