Isolation from Others

I have described realization in terms of isolation, but it does not mean the isolation of separation from others. That isolation comes from being deserted. ‘I am old and the family don’t want to talk to me now; how lonely I am!’ Such is the isolation of being separated from others.

When I go to a house, as I arrive they say: ‘This way, Your Reverence, go right in, right through,’ and they take me to the reception room. It seems like a great honour, but if you ask me I must say that it is no honour at all; it’s just that hanging about the living rooms the old man be getting in the way so it’s ‘this way please’ and I am tucked away safely.

It is a loneliness, to be pushed into a comer. When I come to a house I should like to talk to the young people, but I’m not allowed to and am tucked away without meeting them. This is the loneliness of isolation from others.

The old lady of the house doesn’t enjoy being told: ‘Granny, today we are spring-cleaning so you sit in this comer and rest.’ She feels how she is getting old and being pushed to one side. Instead if they say to her: ‘Oh, Granny! There’s no one who can do over the best tea-things like you . . .’ then she feels it is so, and does them with great satisfaction. This is the way to understand old people.

So the loneliness of isolation from others is the feeling of having been deserted. There is a longing to be appreciated, and when this is cut off the loneliness is unutterable. As I see it, our whole life is a demand to be appreciated. Everyone, young or old, is seeking to be understood. Our life is a quest for someone who understands us, and when the sought-for understanding is cut off, what a bitter feeling it is!

These days there is about the deadlock in thought and the deadlock in economics; but in one sense the frustration is the perpetual cutting off of the understanding sought by each one. On this frustration arise all the manifestations of deadlock. In frustration and deadlock we are bound to feel loneliness at being isolated from others, at having been left behind by the world.

But then there comes a reaction to the loneliness; there is a karmic reaction in a desire to find light, in a conviction that there is still one way remaining open. And it is to confront directly our true nature, and in the deeps of the inner isolation to find that one power absolute.

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