The difference between aloneness and lonesomeness

Meditation is often misunderstood as a solitary activity – sitting alone in silence on a pillow. This could not be further from the truth.

Our brain is the relational organ par excellence. We are deeply wired to relate to both others and ourselves. More than any other species or animal on this planet we are shaped by relationships. Of all the animals we have the longest childhood spanning about 28 years, all of which revolves around learning to be human through relationships with our primary caregivers. Indeed, it is through our relationships to each other that we become who we are and come to know ourselves.

In meditation you attune your observing self with your experiencing self, engaging the resonance circuitry of the brain responsible for our fundamental relatedness. This same circuitry is the one responsible for our attuned relationships with others. This is why meditation harmonizes our relationships to others, and attuned relationships with others facilitate our meditation.

To learn and sustain a meditation practice we are continually engaged with teachers and other meditators, and it is through this meaningful and attuned engagement with a teacher and others that we develop via resonance circuitry the capacity to be attuned to ourselves. When we have internalized these attuned and healing relationships to our teachers, we develop the capacity to be alone. This means having the ability to be alone without feeling stressed about it, due to the fact that our aloneness entails our internalized relationships. Only through this capacity to be alone, paradoxically a deeply relational state of being, can our meditation reach the depths it is meant to reach, including the vast realms of emptiness.

Refer to my recent blog ‘Alone or Lonely?‘ for more on the difference between aloneness and lonesomeness.

Copyright 2019 by Dr. Stéphane Treyvaud. All rights reserved.

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