Techno-Buddha by Nam June PaikThis blog gives a fascinating Buddhist perspective on loneliness and romance. You may not agree with the Urban Monk’s conclusions but his argument gives a different perspective on loneliness (at least the existential variety) and romance (as an addiction).

To put the title in Buddhist parlance, suffering is the beginning of attachment.

“When we are in the depths of our loneliness, what comforts us – what could possibly take us away from it? What, indeed? So often, it feels like there is no solace; like we are running from our own shadow. And it is true, in a way. There is no escape from being alone. We are always alone. But there is a way out of loneliness.

All our efforts at escaping loneliness are fundamentally flawed, for we don’t understand the nature of what we are running from. There is something beautiful about your loneliness. And when you see that, when you acknowledge it, learn to delight in it, that’s when something shifts inside you. When your loneliness becomes aloneness – that is freedom! That is when you can truly begin to Love!

As Osho once said – the first thing is to acknowledge aloneness. Aloneness is our true nature; we can never, ever, not be alone. We come into this world alone, we leave the world alone. And in between these two, we are alone – but we frantically hide from it, run from it, pretend it isn’t true.

Romance is perhaps the most common cover-up for the sense of fragmentation. If we are lonely, it must make sense that we need a special someone! Logical and cold, like a business transaction. A boyfriend, a girlfriend, a lover, someone, anyone! We have reduced them to a mere cover up for our sorrows – no different from the misuse of alcohol, the noise of our television, or killing time on the phone until we can next be with someone – as if we have so much time to kill!

If romance and sex, if money and fame and recognition offer no relief, what does one do? When you are in the throes of heartache and loneliness, what good are the teachings on oneness and inter-existence? Unless you can experience what they are pointing to – how do they comfort you?

A sham. That’s what the entire game of romance is. Who is our “romance” really about? Us, and us alone. We say – I love you. But what we really mean is – Please love me. Manipulation is all it is.

“You were supposed to make me happy!” you cry. And the sweetness, the smiles and the kisses begin to swing the other way. We become sad; we attack them for not making us happy; we manipulate them into giving us more. Maybe they give in, and the pendulum swings back into sweetness. Maybe they don’t, and we break up in tears and anger. This even seems normal.

But it is not their fault. No one can take away our primordial sense of separation except us. But we don’t know that, and so we go on complaining and pulling strings. We forget that the only way to be satisfied is to be satisfied in yourself.”

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Sculpture by Nam June Paik