I see a lot of talk in spiritual communities about how important it is to spend time alone, about how healing it is and how great it is for our Soul. While in many cases that's true, always wanting to be alone can hamper our growth as well. There's moments to be alone, and then there's moments to be together...
I won't beat around the bush, I don't like big cities. From a mental perspective, they're great, the mind can stay very busy in the city. There's all sorts of entertainment, non-stop things to do, and great food to eat. Movies, music, and dancing are never far away, people are everywhere. There's only one thing missing: peace.
To me, visiting a city is like wading through thick psychic mud. All the chaos is people's mind, all their fears & desires, create this kind of discordant psychic noise. It's very draining to be in that energy, and people become very numb, very disconnected from each other. It seems like a contradiction, but you can be surrounded by thousands of people, while also being incredibly alone. There's even a term for it, “urban solitude”.
Having lived in this environment myself, I can understand the desire to want to be alone in your own personal space. Being alone in my room was one of the few opportunities I had to really experience a calm and peaceful environment, with the exception of being out in Nature. Everywhere else in the city was stressful, and the longer I stayed, the more stress built up. I always had to do a deep auric cleansing afterward.
When you're alone, you're the king. You're the most intelligent and attractive person in the room, and there's no one to challenge that. The ego can have a field day in these situations, it can inflate itself enormously without any threats. You can easily become the most Enlightened person in the world, or at least your world. If you're not aware when this is happening, then being alone to try and get in touch with yourself can actually lead to being more out of touch with yourself.
Through other people, we can get to know ourselves better. This is true for both healthy and unhealthy relationships. Where a person can act very spiritual when they're alone and believe they've transcended all the “lesser” emotions, when they're with others suddenly things like jealousy and competition start to pop up. To the ego this is torture, since it contradicts what you wanted to believe, and it's very common to project these unwanted personality traits onto others to avoid facing them in ourselves. Of course, to someone who truly wants to heal themselves, these things are a blessings as they bring up exactly what needs to be healed.
Being alone is seen as a positive thing not because it's inherently healing, but because dysfunctional relationships have become the norm. If we had loving, non-judgmental, nurturing relationships with each other, there wouldn't be any advantage to being alone. You would be free to be yourself whenever and wherever, without any judgment. Unfortunately, this isn't the case, which is why being alone seems so appealing.
So is it good to be alone or is it bad to be alone? My answer to that is: Yes! It's usually seen as a negative thing by society, because aloneness goes direct against the very nature of society. Spiritual types see it more as a positive thing, since it can make things like meditation and introspection much easier. I don't see it as inherently good or bad, it all depends upon the situation and the individual. However, always wanting to be alone, or never wanting to be alone, are both signs of a deep imbalance.
There's magic that happens when people gather together with a common intention. There's power in numbers, so long as everyone is on the same page. This is part of why religion is so appealing, everyone comes together through common beliefs. It feels good to be supported, and to help support others. It feels good joining with others to further a common goal. I could almost support religion, if it wasn't based around ancient superstitions that do more to divide humanity than bring them together. Of course, for the religious person it's usually the other religions that are the problem.
Our society, cultures, religions, all these different cliques, they all deny individuality. Your ego has to behave a certain way if you want to fit in at all. It's no wonder those on the path of self-discovery have such a strong desire to be alone. There's thousands upon thousands of smaller spiritual groups which tend to be more tolerant towards individuality, but even these become divided up by beliefs and grow more conformist over time.
The challenge now is to come together while still being true to ourselves. To be equal without being the same. To give up judgments of both ourselves and others. To realize human beings aren't so different from each other, and in a larger perspective, the things that really separate us are nothing more than trivial beliefs. People put more focus upon the things that divide, than the things that unite us all, a little shift in perspective there would go a long way.
Now if I'm going to discuss spiritual people coming together, I need to bring up a nasty, judgmental term, the c-word. No, not cunt, I'm talking about cults. If a group of unique people start getting together and behaving a little differently than the norm, it's almost inevitable that they'll be called a cult. It's a very negative label, at least where I live in the US. When a group starts doing things differently, the established cultures and religions view them as a threat. Of course, the big difference between a cult-ure and a cult, or a religion and a cult, is simply the number of followers they have.
I don't believe the whole cult label is entirely unfair, there are groups that promote some rather toxic brands of spirituality that revolve around a charismatic leader who tells them all “the truth”. For many people, their whole image of new-age spirituality is based upon these groups, though there's nothing new-age about them at all, they're just repeating the patterns of the past. If you believe what you're told, everything seems to work out nicely and you're now “awake”, just like how a Christian becomes “saved”. Usually with these smaller groups, they don't keep members for very long because the hypocrisy is so painfully apparent. The individual then learns a difficult lesson, so at least some good does come of it.
Can we gather together without having to sacrifice our individuality in the process? It's possible, but it also goes against the way we've been trained to behave for most of our lives. We imprison ourselves through our fear of being judged, let go of that. See yourself as you are, instead of how you've been told you're “supposed” to be. Develop a healthy relationship with yourself (otherwise known as being yourself) and also focus upon transforming your relationships with your close friends and family. Refocus those relationships upon love and mutual healing, then expand out from there.
The opinions of others have become a threat to our own egos. They can wound our emotional body in the same way a weapon wounds the physical body. It seems like it's the other person doing this to us, like we can't help but be a victim, but really be aware as it's happening. You have accepted their opinion, you took it inside, and now you are using it to judge yourself. That's why it hurts. You can diffuse that whole process though, and render the opinions of others completely harmless.
It's groups of people who are secure in their own beings that will truly transform the world. People who can celebrate their own individuality, and also celebrate the individuality of others. People who can shine their own Light, without trying to outshine anyone else. We need to redefine what it really means to have a healthy relationship with another.
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