Why Do We Feel Alone in Our Life’s Journey?
The Buddha once said, “If we represent the life of mankind with the season, it would be autumn. The loneliness one feels in one’s life is indescribably deep and it is likened to a bleak autumn day with a cold wintry wind blowing.”
Why do people feel lonesome throughout their entire lives? It is because they do not have a companion. They are making a lonely journey day by day. Some of you may object and say: “It is not so! I have a husband and children. In addition to them, I have many friends. I even have a lover. I am not lonely at all.”
They are companions of our physical body. They are not companion of our soul. Even if we are surrounded by many people, our soul is weeping because it is alone. So the Larger sutra of infinite life goes: “Alone we are born and alone we die, alone we come and alone we depart.” People feel so unbearably lonely that they try various things to fill their loneliness----like making friends or partying and drinking. It seems not too much to say that all human activities are, in a sense, ways to escape this deep loneliness. But we soon realize that we are still alone. Every one of us is earnestly seeking someone that can understand our anxieties---- someone who understands us.
What about Marriage?
But even within marriage, one can never fully understand his or her spouse----no matter how close they are to each other. Or in a parent- child relation, parent can never fully understand his or her child----no matter how close they are to each other. Similarly, one can never fully understand his or her friend-- --no matter how close they are to each other.
A husband works all day long and while he works, he accumulates all sorts of worries. At home, his wife also suffers from various problems. When the husband and a wife are together, they try to express themselves and try to understand each other. But because they interpret each other’s remark through their own view of the world, they cannot understand other’s anxiety well enough. In the end, they become frustrated and keep their problems to themselves. This frustration keeps them in constant anguish. Isn’t this a sad state of mind in which many of us are trapped in?
Still do you want to argue back, saying, “It’s not so. I can discuss anything with him. I can discuss anything with her. We understand each other!”? Then you are indeed a lucky person.
The Unbridged Gap
Certainly, there are times when we strongly feel: “Although we have totally different point of view, I am certain that he understands me completely----we understand each other from the bottom of our hearts.” But this doesn’t last very long. After a while we realize that there is a deep, dark river between a man and woman. We sleep side by side with our bodies next to each other, but each of us sees different dreams and what we think also differs from each other. Our physical bodies can become one, but we cannot make our minds become one. Facing this sad limitation, we become aware that we are always alone.----regardless of whether we have a lover or not. Buddhism teaches us that: every one of us is living alone within our own world----the boundary we, ourselves have made. Each of us tends to think we see things as they are, but this is not the case. We see the world, not as it is but as we are conditioned to see it. People see things differently, each looking through the unique lens of their experience. We interpret things differently. No matter how close we are; no matter how much we love our spouses; it is impossible to interpret things or feel things in completely the same way.
* Continuation tomorrow: The Secret Warehouse and The Conflicted Mind *
Source: The Buddhist Village Times #27, Why Do We Feel Alone in Our Life’s Journey?
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