Being the Alone
What is it like, how does it feel, to be this lonely one, absolutely on my own? It’s to feel lightsome and unconcerned, to breathe a great sigh of relief. It’s to enjoy the sweet relaxation of having no external authority to please and make up to. It’s to have won through, to be victorious over the world, and at peace at last. It’s to have settled final accounts with death and evil, to have nothing to lose or gain, and to be desireless. And, incidentally, it’s to hold no very high opinion of oneself, no low opinion, no opinion at all, seeing that no standards apply to this incomparable one.
Being thus lonesome, without a soul to confide in or bear one company, suggests an experience that is either dull or else terrifying— since it could hardly be both at once. In fact, it is the reverse of both. Only when I see my aloneness am I incapable of boredom. I adore my own company and every moment of it is a delight. And only when there’s not a particle left outside me has all possibility of terror gone: one little thing lost to me, a single refugee from my embrace, and I’m threatened, I’m lost. It’s only when I am all things and no differences remain that I’m safe Home, comfortable and easy.
Again, this loneliness may suggest lovelessness, since nobody’s left to love. Paradoxically, it isn’t in practice like that at all. One’s love is so total that it leaves nothing and nobody out in the cold. One cannot bear not to be all things everywhere and always: all alienation is Self-alienation, all separation is separation from oneself. It is misery to be confined to this man, this sex, this nation, this colour, this religion, this planet; it is misery not to be the company one sees oneself in. To be Alone is the only joy which is quite unmixed with sorrow, the only love which is untinged with anxiety.
From The Face Game by Douglas Harding, page 267.